CUBA THE WEST AND BEYOND
An In-Depth Exploration of a Country on the Brink of Change
A Workshop in Support of the Cuban People
February 28 — March 10, 2020
Cuba, the West and Beyond workshop is a photographic exploration of communities reaching from Viñales and the province of Pinar del Rio, the most western point of Cuba, to Sancti Spíritus one of the oldest Cuban European settlements, and a cultural tour de force, where life unfolds undiscovered by tourism.
Life happens in Cuba outdoors: stoops fill like grandstands, alleys act as baseball diamonds for children, plazas as musicians’ stages and national parks expand as new frontiers. Cuba is a treat for photographers. CUBA
With Fidel’s passing in December 2016, Cuba is on the brink of a shift that will likely cause a major transformation. For now, however, the island remains wholly unique: stunted but still stunning.
This photographic journey, will begin in Old Havana, where you will take your camera to beautiful plazas and cobblestoned streets. You will visit local families, observe vendors selling their wares at the Agro Farmers Market and visit a Santeria Ceremony. We will visit local art schools, where you can meet students and attend rehearsals. We will also discover Regla, a Havana municipality that is steeped in ancient Afro-Cuban traditions.
After Havana, we will set out for the furthest Western point of Cuba, the province of Pinar del Rio, where we will visit not only the magical landscape of Mogotes, in Valle Viñales, often shrouded in morning fog, but where we will also visit families and farmers going about their daily lives.
After Viñales, our next overnight is Matanzas. Once called the Athens of Cuba, known for its poets, writers, and Afro-Cuban folklore, is often forgotten and passed unnoticed. Those stopping will be rewarded by this ostensibly scruffy city, where cultural riches haven't disappeared and are ready to be discovered. The next morning we will set out for nearby Río Canímar, a magical place, where we will glide upstream, passed gnarly mangroves that dip their jungle like branches into the blue-emerald water, to beautiful La Arboleda.
Next on our itinerary will be Cienfuegos, also known as the Pearl of the South. Proud and resilient, a city embraced by the sea, its center with its Neoclassical structures, inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The empty giant swimming pool, surrounded by palms and a warm breeze from the nearby sea, looks as if it just waiting to be filled again.
From Cienfuegos our journey will take us to Trinidad and nearby Valle de los Ingenios, where once upon a time, sugarcane was king. Today dilapidated colonial-style mansions dot the countryside, a remanence of those times of great prosperity. As we visit, we will discover how today's inhabitants have transformed them, into multi-family dwellings, complete with their farm animals. The Wedgwood China and chandeliers are long gone, the peeling frescoes are faint against the old walls. In spite of all the attention by tourists, Trinidad is still one of a kind. It is still a perfectly preserved Spanish settlement, timeless and mired in the 1850, when all development seemed to stop.
On our final leg back to Havana, we will overnight in Sancti Spíritus, with its beautiful and lively plaza, iconic bridge, and life untouched und unnoticed by the invasion of tourists that goes to nearby Trinidad. Then we continue to Remedios another out-of-the way cultural delight with a beautifully restored central square and an Afro-Cuban dance school. From there we return to Havana, for our good bye dinner at legendary la Gurira and a last night in Cuba before returning home.
You will receive lots of personal attention by your guide and photography expert Magdalena Solé in a small group of no more then 8 participants. Magdalena has photographed extensively in Cuba and has driven more then 10,000 miles crisscrossing the country in search of people and their stories. Born in Spain, she speaks Spanish fluently. In March 2020 her photography book Cuba, Hasta Siempre, will be released by the University Press of Mississippi.
Round-trip airport transfers, every nights’ accommodations (based on double occupancy), ground transportation by modern air-conditioned bus, private English speaking national guide for entire tour duration. Most meals are included. Tips will be collected separately.
PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
Flight to and from Havana. Personal expenses such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, internet access, medical or evacuation expenses. Expenses caused by factors beyond our control like airplane delays, roadblocks, vehicle malfunctions, political disturbances, and special taxes are not included. Tips for our Cuban guide, at restaurants, and for our bus driver will be collected as needed.
Cuba Visa Fee and airport taxes are also not included.
Single accommodation supplement, if applicable, is US $600.
Your deposit of $800 is due to reserve your spot on the trip, and will be applied towards the cost of your tour.
The balance is due by December 15, 2019.
Please see our cancellation policy.
Please note that the travel costs for the trip might fluctuate before it is finalized due to rate changes beyond our control. We will make every effort to keep the costs the same.
To guarantee a spot you need to send in your deposit of $800 to SolePictures as soon as possible, as this trip could sell out quickly. Please fill out the sign-up form and send payment by check or credit card.
Sole Pictures is authorized to provide photography workshops in Cuba under a general license General License For Support For The Cuban People (SCP) (515.574) of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR). A general license authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including travel agents and tour group operators, to provide travel services in connection with authorized travel without the need for specific licenses from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Single Supplement $600
Maximum Group Size 8
February 28 - March 10, 2020
Day 1 - 3 Havana
Day 3 - 6 Viñales
Day 6 - 7 Cienfuegos
Day 7 - 9 Trinidad
Day 9 - 10 Sancti Spíritus
Day 10 - 11 Remedios
Day 11 - 12 Havana
March 10 Return to US