Although Cuba is changing quickly, there are cultural constants that will remain intact for years to come. The awe-inspiring International Workers’ Day celebration in Havana on May 1 is one of these, as are the joys of discovering the simple life in the beautiful waterfront city of Cienfuegos, and the small colonial town of Trinidad. Unplug yourself and return to Cuba on a people-to-people cultural exchange with a small group of no more than six photographers to continue the exploration of the island, with Jennifer and Jorge as your guides and mentors.
We arrive in Havana on Friday, April 24 and enjoy a welcome meal together. At noon the next day we depart for our drive across the island to Cienfuegos. On the way we enjoy a late lunch in the vicinity of the Nature Reserve of Zapata Swamp. We stay for two nights in “la ciudad que más me gusta a mí (the city I like the best)” as the famous musician Benny Moré once sang about this alluring, French-architecture influenced city. On Sunday morning we gather for an early morning boat ride to visit what was many years ago a recreational island in the Cienfuegos bay, and a small coastal village full of friendly local families and fishermen. Later that afternoon we meet and make portraits of local residents while visiting the magnificent Parque Marti and surrounding Cienfuegos neighborhoods.
We enjoy Monday morning photographing in town and nearby areas, before a lunch and short drive on to colorful Trinidad, Cuba’s third oldest settlement and our home for the next two days. On Tuesday we explore this town’s patrimonial center, visiting historic private homes and picturesque winding streets, and in the afternoon we continue wandering the vibrant city through the stunning late light. Wednesday morning we pack our bags and venture into the nearby countryside and the spectacular landscape of the Valley of the Sugar Mills, including a special visit to the San Isidro and the legend-filled Manaca Iznaga sugar-cane plantations.
After another morning of exploration of Trinidad and exchange with its people, we have lunch before returning to Havana and immersing ourselves in a city pulsing with energy, waiting for its 500-year anniversary. We stay in private house in the quiet Vedado neighborhood, that boast stunning views over Havana and wonderful opportunities for sunrise pictures. Thursday you explore the city, meeting its gracious inhabitants and revisiting favorite locations, with suggestions by Jorge and Jennifer.
Rising early on Friday, May 1, as Cubans begin their walk across the city, we join them at the Plaza of the Revolution to witness a truly massive celebration. Over one million Cuban workers gather to wave flags, dance to live music, and parade during the annual May Day Rally. On Saturday we visit a nearby scenic location to meet and photograph local dancers. We gather in the evening to celebrate our time together with a group dinner and a slideshow of our favorite images. Flights back to Miami should be on Sunday morning, May 3.
Return to Cuba with us in April for an unforgettable journey and continue your photographic explorations of this Caribbean treasure and its welcoming people.
This 10-day trip is in alliance with Cuba's premier photographic organization, Fototeca de Cuba. Our unique educational program allows U.S. participants to learn about Cuba's long and colorful history and have meaningful interactions with Cubans from all walks of life.
True to the requirements of a people-to-people license with U.S. Treasury Department, Cuba Unplugged: Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Havana focuses on approved educational exchanges with the Cuban people and recording their amazing lives with our cameras.