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Cuba Photography Workshop – February 2016

Program Highlights ~ A Cultural and Photographic Adventure

Program cost includes Miami-Havana round-trip airfare & Travel Visa.

Photographic subjects include musical sessions, environmental portraits of friendly local faces, home interiors, gardens, and of course the great American cars of the 40’s and 50’s surrounded by modern & historic architecture.

Photograph landscape subjects amidst the flat tropical plains that are spotted with immense limestone mounds; and tobacco farms near the town of Vinales in the Pinar del Rio Province

Spend two evenings in the colonial town of Trinidad on Cuba’s southern coast.

Meet and interact with people’s lives on the streets of Havana’s distinct neighborhoods and in their homes in Trinidad.

Explore the architecture of Old Havana, designated an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Panoramic views of the Morro Cabana harbor, & the skyline of Havana.

For more information or to register contact Strabo Photo Tour Collection: 607-756-8676  www.phototc.com

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Join us for this fascinating tour of the land that Christopher Columbus said was “the most beautiful land that humans have ever seen.”

Americans are now able to travel through a new ‘People-to-People’ program, which includes daily activities, immersing you in the heart and soul of Cuba? Designed as a cultural and historical program, it will also provide dramatic photographic opportunities each day. From the hustle and bustle of Old Havana, to the slower paced countryside of the Pinar del Rio and Zapata Provinces, includes an overnight stay on the southern coast beach at the Pearl of the South, Cienfuegos.  Visualize the appeal of this country that has been closed off to Americans for decades. Allow Nancy Ori to assist you in capturing the allure of this amazing place and its people through your lens.

You will be introduced to the rich culture and strong willed people of Havana, as well as the spectacular UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site of the Valley of the Sugar Mills, and the colonial town of Trinidad on Cuba’s southern coast. The people of Cuba are friendly and open. You will find so many wonderful faces to photograph in the cities and the countryside. There are those in Havana that earn a living this way and those that are just as pleased to be photographed looking for nothing in return.

Wander and explore with Nancy through Havana’s colonial architecture, while watching the antique vehicles pass you by. There will be daily educational programs given by your local guide, where you will learn about the arts, traditional music, dance, artistry, rum factory exploration, visit with local families of diverse neighborhoods, and the sugar and tobacco farmers of the countryside. 

Itinerary
Due to the recent announcements and changes that will take place over the next year prior to departure, it will be necessary to be flexible while we wait for flight announcements from Newark or New York directly to Havana. Everyone will be required to be in the New York area the night before our flight. If you are not from the New York area, a hotel will be suggested for you to overnight near the departure airport. If this does not work out, our departure will be from Miami. Details will be fine tuned as we move forward and may affect the final cost of the trip.

Depart New York area today on the charter flight to Havana (time and airport to be announced). Currently we can arrange and pre-pay the Cuba Travel Visa fee for you. The airfare and Visa are included in your tour cost.

Upon arrival in Havana, the group will immediately depart by private bus from the airport to Viñales, a small town located in the Pinar del Rio Province. It has an economy based on agriculture, mainly tobacco farming, and its soil is considered to be some of the richest in the world. Photograph rural family life amidst the tobacco fields and traditional buildings of this region. In the Viñales Valley, another UNESCO World Heritage site, we’ll see mountainous “mogotes”, made of hard limestone left over after millennia of erosion, as well as rural farmland vistas. The overlook offers commanding views of the landscape, which we will capture at sunset this evening. Depending on our overnight location, we will have an early morning photography walk the next day in town before breakfast. We will then head down into the valley and walk the paths through fields of tobacco and sugar cane, meeting the farmers and photographing their homes and farms. There will be numerous portrait and lighting opportunities with farmers and their families. Lunch will be at an organic farm overlooking the valley. Overnight Los Jazmines or similar. (D; B, L)

After sunrise photography from the hotel and breakfast, we drive to the southern coast and the Province of Zapata. Given time en-route we will have a chance to photograph and discuss music education with the students and teachers at the Korimacao Community Project. The project houses some of the country’s finest musicians, dancers, and artists. We can watch, learn, and photograph them as they work and perform for us. The City of Cienfuegos, a very modern city by Cuba’s standards, offers architectural photography of the historic casino and theatre buildings, as well as a beautiful harbor. Overnight near Bay of Pigs and the beach. (B, D)

After an early breakfast, we will travel to Trinidad, founded in the early 16th century on the southern coast of the country. It was designated an UNESCO site in 1988, and it’s the perfect example of a traditional colonial town, with red tiled roofs and an array of pastel colored houses lining cobbled stone streets. Walk with Nancy or wander on your own capturing the simplicity of this quaint town and its villagers. Both evenings there will be an amazing opportunity for locals and visitors to get together for drinks, some wonderful traditional music and a chance to dance away the night. This will be a lively experience and one not to forget!

After breakfast, your guide will join you for a walking tour of the city streets, where you may visit and photograph at an artist studio, or local school. Photograph artisans as they work or school children as they interact with one another and their teachers. Travel to the Valley of the Sugar Mills, photographing the beautiful landscape and a ruined 19th Century sugar estate. The landscape speaks of the transitions this country has seen. Explore with your local guide as they educate you on the sugar plantations of yesterday. Overnight evenings in Casa particular: participants will stay in various local homes to experience the family hospitality and central location in town. All rooms have private baths and would be considered their version of a B&B. (B, D both days)

You will make your way back to Havana today, where your guide will orient you to the highlights of Old Havana on a walking tour. As you stroll the streets, you will be overwhelmed with sights to photograph, from the antique American cars, children playing in the streets or in abandoned lots, from the beautifully restored hotels to the paint peeling off dilapidated buildings. Havana’s architecture is the most beautiful in the various plazas, where locals and tourists congregate to share stories.  Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Cathedral, Plaza Vieja, and Plaza de San Francisco, are a few that are within walking distance of our hotel. You will be able to return late at night while music fills the air, or early in the morning to photograph as the streets come to life again. There maybe free time before dinner to explore the neighborhood around the hotel before walking to a lovely restaurant on the Plaza Vieja in La Habana Vieja.

In 1982, Old Havana was designated an UNESCO World Heritage site. It is brimming with a variety of historical landmarks and interesting things to do. Walking the streets in this area is a favorite pastime and will surely result in an unforgettable experience with lots of chances to take advantage of a myriad of photo ops. After early morning shoots on foot with Nancy and a local photographer, return to the hotel for breakfast, then meet your guide to visit La Torre (the tower) with a bird’s eye view of the harbor and city. Morro Cabana (fortress) just across the harbor provides another perspective of the waves crashing on the lighthouse and fortress, along with the skyline of Havana. If time permits, there will be a tour of Ernest Hemingway’s former home Finca La Vigia, which is located close by, where we can view the remembrances of his 20 years in Cuba.

There will be free time in the late afternoons to walk the promenade down to the harbor, with incredible panoramic views. You can also photograph from the roof top terrace of our hotel for sunrise and sunset views or the city. Overnight Inglaterra or similar (B, D; B, L; B, D)

There will be a morning transfer to Havana airport for your trip home (Exact time to be announced). Confirm with Strabo Tours. Be sure to leave three hours between flights if you are making a connection after the charter flight. This will all be worked out when we are closer to our date. (B)

Participants should know that Cuba is a special destination. Please understand that all elements of the itinerary are subject to change and that activities listed are examples of opportunities that may present themselves. Since the program is authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department, we have to abide by any changes to regulations that may take place. Please remain flexible as these circumstances are beyond our control. Be assured that all efforts will be made to provide a comparable alternative should an item on our itinerary need to be changed.

  

General Information

Estimated 2016 Land cost (includes Miami or New Yori/Havana airfare and Travel Visa Fee): $4495, based upon minimum of 10 paying passengers. There will be a small group surcharge of $300 per person if there are 5-9 paying passengers.

Estimated 2016 Single room supplement: $425 (available on first-come, first-served basis).

The land cost includes:

  • Land transportation: All group ground transportation in country. A local guide will escort you.
  • Estimated round-trip airfare Miami/Havana, tax, service charges for this portion, and Cuban Travel Visa.
  • Accommodations as listed in itinerary, based on two people sharing a room.
  • Meals as indicated in itinerary, (B= breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner).
  • Miscellaneous fees and service charges: All porterage fees that are included in the itinerary; service charges, hotel taxes, and park entrance fees.
  • Predeparture information: You will receive information on all aspects of the program, including packing recommendations, plus readings on the history, culture, and ecology.

The land cost does not include: Connecting air fare; transportation and transfers for those not traveling with the group; overnight in Miami or New York; air tax; foreign airport taxes; excess baggage charges; passport and visa fees; meals not listed in the itinerary; personal medical and travel insurance; any activities not specified in the program itinerary, or those listed as optional; all items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone charges, beverages; film and processing, medical expenses, and room service; tips for meals not included in itinerary and optional tips to guides and service personnel. Upon the completion of your program, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary.

Please contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on connecting airfare. Please note on your program application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a $55 per person charge will be added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight days with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties.

Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic programs) per person is required. Specific programs may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic programs), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your program, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic programs) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your program, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of program costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

FITNESS AND HEALTH

The program is not strenuous, and anyone who is reasonably fit and in good health should be able to participate. One day the group will spend several hours in a vehicle traveling between destinations. Rest stops and photo stops are planned approximately every two hours.

If you have any questions about your ability to participate in this program, please contact 607-756-8676 for more information. You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your program. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607)756-8676.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas. (Cuba Programs: Medical insurance is mandatory and is included in the airfare ticket cost between U.S. and Cuba).

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your program. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your program for any reason, you will lose part or all of the sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the program brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your program short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. for this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. it is to your advantage to apply.

Note: This program has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best Cuba has to offer. However, should events arise or there be governmental changes that are beyond our control may change the itinerary, activities and hotel arrangements without notice. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.