Cuba Unplugged: Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Havana

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9 Days
Availability : April 25 - May 3, 2019
Havana, cuba

April 25 – May 3, 2019


Documentary, Landscape & Nature, Portraits, Travel, One-of-a-Kind

Package Price:



Havana, Cuba

Unplug and return to Cuba with Santa Fe Workshops in a small group of no more than seven photographers to continue your photographic exploration of the island. Jennifer and Jorge are your guides and mentors on this unforgettable journey.

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 1st is one of these constants, as are the joys of discovering the simple life in the small colonial town of Trinidad and the beautiful waterfront city of Cienfuegos. Unplug and return to Cuba with a small group of no more than six photographers to continue your photographic exploration of the island, with Jennifer and Jorge as your guides and mentors.

On Thursday April 25 in the early afternoon, we depart Havana and drive across the island by private van through the lush and tropical countryside to Trinidad de Cuba. Arriving in colorful Trinidad—Cuba’s third oldest settlement—we will settle into our home for the next two days, staying in family-owned casa particulars. On Friday we explore the city center, visiting historic private homes and picturesque winding streets and in the afternoon you’re free to continue wandering the vibrant city through the stunning late light.

The following 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 legend-filled Manaca Iznaga plantation. That afternoon we make our way to through the beautiful Topes de Collantes Mountains and Biosphere Reserve, well known for its gigantic prehistoric ferns. After lunch in the park we travel to the nearby port city of Cienfuegos to enjoy a two-night stay 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-influenced city. Over the next day we meet and make portraits of local residents while visiting the magnificent Parque Marti.

Monday morning we depart for an early morning boat ride to a small coastal village that is full of friendly local families and fishermen. Later that afternoon we slowly return to Havana to immerse ourselves in a city that has recently erupted with a pulse and energy not seen in fifty years, visiting both new and favorite locations. We stay in quiet Vedado in private casa particulars that boast stunning views over Havana and wonderful opportunities for sunrise pictures. Tuesday morning you are again free to explore the city and revisit old favorite locations with suggestions by Jorge and Jennifer.

Rising early on Wednesday, May 1st, 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 listen to political inspiration during the annual May Day Rally. Our final morning we visit a nearby scenic location to meet and photograph local dancers. The afternoon is free within Havana before 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 Friday morning, May 3rd.

Return to Cuba with us in April for an unforgettable journey and continue your photographic explorations of this Caribbean treasure and its generous people.

Additional Information


This Cuba Unplugged program is open to amateur, advanced amateur and professional photographers who have traveled to Cuba with Santa Fe Workshops, with another group, or on their own. Enrollment is limited to seven participants.


Participants should be technically self-sufficient, as this is not a program to learn how to use your gear or editing software. Participants should be in very good health with good stamina and mobility, as long days are spent exploring—this means walking, sometimes for two to three hours at a time, occasionally up steep stairs, steep hills, and along uneven terrain.


Participants make their own air travel arrangements to Havana to arrive by 11AM on April 25 and return to the U.S. on May 3. Once the trip is confirmed, additional information and travel details are provided.


$5,245, includes single accommodations for eight nights ($200 discount for couples and friends traveling together and sharing a room); full breakfast daily plus two group meals. Airfare to Cuba (airport code HAV) is not included, as well as required Cuban health insurance and Cuban visa.

About The Instructors

Jennifer Spelman is a freelance editorial and documentary photographer. She received her photographic training as an assistant with The Workshops, working with some of today’s most preeminent photographers: Jay Maisel, Norman Mauskopf and David Alan Harvey.

A sensitive photographer of people, Jennifer strives to create portraits with energy and insight. Her clients have included Village Science, Seven Squared Media, The Heart Gallery, What Moves You, Sanjhi, and Sustainable Santa Fe. Jennifer is a patient educator who has co-instructed with National Geographic Expeditions and taught workshops in India, Mexico, Japan, and Cuba. This is her 11th year teaching at The Workshops and her website is www.jenniferspelman.com.