Cuba Unplugged Photo Adventure Vacations – Inspire, Create and Learn.
Our 6-day Cuba Unplugged Photo Adventure includes Old Havana, Central Havana, Regla, Vedado, Miramar and Vinales. Our Unplugged adventure is just that, raw and authentic. We’ll be staying in Cuban Bed & Breakfasts and immersing ourselves in everyday Cuban life. If you have ever wanted to see and photograph the real Cuba, this is by far our most authentic trip to Cuba.
A tropical paradise with a storied past, Cuba offers us a unique view of a world few have been able to see. Photographing Cuba offers us the rare opportunity to capture it’s warm people alongside it’s natural beauty and stunning architecture. Laid back Caribbean Island culture mixed with the big-city life of Havana, where vintage American cars from the 40’s and 50’s roll by you on Havana’s Malecon.
Like all our adventures, we take you behind the scenes of Cuba’s tourist veil and expose you to the inner city culture that is the real Cuba. By working with locals, we are able to achieve this on an unprecedented level. Besides photography, we’ll be speaking with Cubans about daily life on the island, learning about the country’s unique political and economic system and working side-by-side with Cuban photographers. Old Havana and Vinales Valley are both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
This adventure is designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light, but to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you not only go home with images to be proud of, but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. You will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity.
In addition, you will become knowledgeable on how to survey the landscape, utilize and approach your environment, photograph people indigenous to the region and the cultural considerations and challenges of photographing in a foreign country. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas and great fun. Cuba offers more photographic opportunities than any other adventure we offer. Cuba is not to be missed!
CUBA UNPLUGGED 6 DAYS
Day 1 | Havana
We greet you at the airport in Havana where we will begin our authentic CUBA UNPLUGGED Photo Adventure. After we checkin to our Cuban casa we will begin by visiting the famous Hotel Nacional. The amazing setting will bring many back to the 1950s, when the mafia held its annual meetings at this historic hotel and walk the streets of Central Havana. After we take a photo walk through the streets of Central Havana and along the Malecon, Havana’s famous seawall. In the evening we enjoy our “Welcome Dinner” at one of our favorite restaurants in Havana. (D)
Day 2 | Central Havana – Old Havana – Vedado
In the morning we focus on low light photography throughout central Havana, home to many working class Cubans. After breakfast we will head to Old Havana for a photo walk through the Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. We will visit its main plazas and streets with some stops along the way. We’ll enjoy lunch at Doña Eutimia paladar. Famous for its ropa vieja and frozen mojitos, this cozy paladar made Newsweek Magazine’s top 100 restaurants in the world in 2012. The restaurant’s location in the beautiful cathedral square is unbeatable. We’ll spend the afternoon immersing ourself in Cuban life as we visit with Cuban friends and business owners. In the afternoon we’ll be treated to a photo/cooking lesson at Atelier. This restaurant is equally known for its atmosphere and exquisite cuisine. The lighting and textures of the house, which was home to a pre-revolutionary senator, coupled with walls adorned in modern art, create a cozy, but modern setting. (B) (L)
Day 3 | Regla – La Finca Vigía – Santa Maria – Havana
We take the early morning ferry across Havana bay to Regla. Regla is situated on the southeastern shore of La Habana Bay, across from the historic centre of Havana, and constitutes a municipality of the province-level Ciudad de la Habana (City of Havana). You will be excited with the many non-touristy photographic opportunities you will find here. Regla was a center for smuggling activities in the 19th century. It is now an industrial suburb of Havana, with which it is linked by ferry as well as by land. Its foundries, petroleum refineries, shipyards, docks, and warehouses suggest its importance as both port and railhead. Factories include shoes, soap, foods, and soft drinks. Regla is also an important centre for the practice of Santería, a religious tradition of African origin. In Regla we’ll be picked up in vintage American Classic Cars and take to La Finca Vigía, formerly the home of Ernest Hemingway, where today it still houses his expansive collection of books. It was here where he wrote two of his most celebrated novels: For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. The beautiful grounds and bizarre tails from Hemingway’s many years in Cuba are captivating. We’ll spend the early afternoon with locals for a traditional, Cuban gathering in the neighborhood of Santa Maria. In the late afternoon we attend a session at the famous “Rafael Trejo” Boxing Gym in Old Havana. Here we will have the opportunity to photograph trainers and students in session. In the evening we have organized a dinner reservation for you at the famous La Guarida Paladar, the set to the movie “Strawberry and Chocolate,” and known for its spectacular ambiance and delicious desserts. (meal not included – to be paid on the ground). We will also have the chance to photograph the interior of this old town house carrying the charming ambience of the early 1900s. (B)
Day 4 | Pinar del Rio – Vinales
On day four we leave for Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s western-most province, famous for its rich soil, tobacco production and spectacular scenery Here we will visit the charming little village of Viñales nestled in the Sierra de los Organos mountains. Viñales Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and settlement dating back to the Spanish colonial era. We start off by visiting one of Cuba’s most renowned tobacco farmers, who produces tobacco used in world famous Cohiba cigars. For lunch we visit a local organic farm to learn about Cuban agriculture and tobacco production, where we will have a tasty meal. After lunch we explore downtown Viñales, where we will take a photo walk to meet with small business owners, average citizens and others out and about; taking photos throughout. After we will check-in to Los Jazmines Hotel, located on a hill with a lookout that oversees the beautiful valley. We’ll photograph sunset in the valley followed by dinner at a local family run paladar. (B, L)
Day 5 | Vinales – Havana
We awake to an early morning sunrise photo walk in beautiful Viñales Valley. Considered by many to be the most beautiful place in Cuba. This unique valley makes for the most amazing sunrise shoots as well as capturing the people and farmers as they begin their day working the land. After breakfast we head back to our casa in Havana. We’ll enjoy lunch at Santy, a new sushi restaurant located in Jaimanitas on the Western outskirts of Havana just shy of Marina Hemingway. It is located in a clapboard single story wooden house on one of the outlets to the sea. Then a visit the home of Frank Delgado, renowned singer and songwriter, for a discussion about the nueva trova movement in Cuba, followed by a musical performance. In the evening we enjoy our “Farewell Dinner” at El Cocinero. This lovely restaurant is housed in a former factory. Home to Havana’s hip, you might think you are in Soho or Madrid. Following dinner, walk next door for live music, art and dancing at La Fábrica de Arte Cubano. Rock star X Alfonso has turned this into meeting spot for a young, eclectic crowd of Cubans and foreigners. (B) (L) (D)
Day 6 | Havana
On our last day together we enjoy an early morning Bicycle Taxi Photo Tour through Old and Central Havana, providing us with many photographic opportunities including produce markets and more. After we return to the casa to check-out and bid you farewell. (B)
Photo Workshop Adventures provides 100% legal Cuba trip under US Treasury Department’s OFAC People-to-People Travel Program. CT-2016-327909 / C.F.R. 515.567. This allows individuals to travel to Cuba for educational and cultural purposes.
May all who come as guests… leave as friends®
Experience | Difficulty
Beginner, amateur, enthusiast, semi-pro and pro photographers
DSLR, mirrorless, compact or iPhone cameras
Travel by vintage American cars, bicycle taxis and air-conditioned mini-bus
Minimal elevation changes and lots of walking
(non-photographers also welcome)
Travel, landscape, seascape, architecture, urban, rural and people photography
Meet with Cuban photographers, students, musicians, artists and entrepreneurs
Professional photographer | guide
Cuban guide and driver
Photo walks & discussions
Casa particulars (Cuban Bed & Breakfasts)
2 lunches and 2 dinners
Visa (U.S. Citizens)
OFAC travel documents
What To Expect
Cuba is not just unique, but one of the most rewarding photographic and cultural experiences you will ever encounter. Because Cuba is so different it requires a open-minded and rewarding sense of adventure. As is often said in Cuba, “It’s not what you want, it’s what we have”. Prepare yourself to be completely wowed.
Havana – Casa Particulars – The finest private cuban homes
Vinales – Los Jazmines Hotel or Casa Particulars
Book your commercial flights to the corresponding airports noted below.
Arrival and Departure Airport: Havana José Martí International Airport (HAV) – Transfer time 45min.
Our adventure begins on the first day at 2 PM at our hotel and ends at checkout on the last day.
U.S. based airlines distribute Cuban Visas at the airport using the OFAC People-to-People documents provided by us. A Cuban Visa cost $50 – $100 depending on the airline. International travelers who require a Cuban visa can get their visa through the Cuban Embassy or Consulate in their respective countries.
Single Supplement: $500
Options and Benefits
Private Guided Tours & Adventures
We offer amazing private guided photo adventures, cultural tours and vacations for individuals, couples, families and groups. We can customize any of our published adventures, as well as others, to meet your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests. This may include the finest 5-star accommodations, business-class travel, and private guides and fixers who are able to make the impossible possible. If you are not interested in a photo-centric vacation, but you love our approach to private travel, we will be happy to design and deliver an amazing adventure focused on travel, culture and cuisine.
We offer travel insurance through Travelex. The cost for travel insurance can be as low as 4% of the total trip cost, depending upon age and other factors. Knowing you have trip cancellation coverage can make a big difference should you have to cancel for some unforeseen reason. Travelex Insurance Services is a BBB Accredited business with an A+ rating.
Travel, Street, People, Landscape, Aerial, Motorsports, Fashion
A New York based photographer, creative director and businessman, Michael has traveled the world photographing people, urban and street, architecture, landscapes, motorsports, aerial and fashion. He enjoys the challenges that various photographic disciplines present. He has helped design and build many of PWA’s photo adventures. Michael manages the companies private photo adventures for select guests around the world.
As an artist, he is currently pursuing a ongoing visual storytelling project titled “Vanishing Cuba” which includes images from his 16 trips (and counting) to Cuba.
Michael was introduced to photography by his father at the young age of 11. Using his dads WWII Argus C3 and a basement darkroom, he began his love affair with the camera. Although Michael spent his early years in marketing and design at the helm of his own advertising agency for 25 years, he also founded New York’s first digital photography studio “Icon Digital” in 1995 utilizing Hasselblad medium format camera’s and Leaf digital backs. He is the father of four beautiful children including one son who is an accomplished cinematographer.
When Michael isn’t on assignment, in the studio or on an adventure, he can be found traveling the world searching for unique photography opportunities, exceptional hotels, amazing restaurants or maybe creating your next travel adventure.