Lee Frost Photography
CUBA PHOTO ADVENTURE
If ever there was an official list compiled of places every photographer should visit before they die, Cuba would definitely be on it - and close to the top if I had my way. Thanks to a combination of its Caribbean climate, chequered political history and a fierce pride and loyalty among its people, there really is nowhere like it, and of all the countries I’ve travelled to over the last couple of decades, Cuba remains a firm favourite. Which is why I’ve decided to return again in November 2023 for my 16th trip. Or is it the 17th? To be honest, I’ve returned to Cuba so many times over the last 20 years that I’ve lost count. But one thing I am sure of is that no matter how many times I visit, Cuba never fails to excite or inspire me. The photo opportunities are literally endless!
Wandering the streets of Havana is like being on a film set. Live music made famous by the Buena Vista Social Club echoes from every bar, couplesa dance salsa on the streets, the sweet scent of cigar smoke fills the air, and ancient American cars that pre-date the 1959 revolution rumble along once-elegant boulevards.
Life is lived in the streets in Cuba. Kids play baseball using mineral bottle tops instead of a ball - no wonder Cubans are so good at baseball - while men enjoy excited games of dominoes fuelled by an occasional tot of cheap rum. Young couples stroll arm-in-arm along the Malecon, Havana’s romantic waterfront, where waves crash against the sea wall, local kids dive into the ocean at sunset and musicians entertain tourists for tips.
This 10-night trip kicks off in Havana, before we head west to the beautiful tobacco-growing region of Pinar del Rio and the Vinales Valley. From Vinales, we head to Cienfuegos, a beautiful colonial city, before spending two nights in the colourful old sugar town on Trinidad. A final night will be spent back in Havana, before we fly back to the UK. A day-by-day itinerary is below.
Day 1, Nov 14th – Fly to Havana from London Heathrow. Flight time to be confirmed, but we usually arrive early evening. Transfer to Hotel Parc Central for three nights.
Day 2, Nov 15h – A pre-dawn wander around the streets of Havana Centro before breakfast to give you an idea of what the city has to offer and to catch the morning light. After breakfast we’ll spend the day exploring Havana Centro and Havana Viejo, the two most interesting areas of the city, and shoot sunset on the Malecon.
Day 3, Nov 16th – Another dawn-to-dusk day in Havana and a third night at the Hotel Parc Central. Today we may visit Callejon De Hamel and other interesting spots in the city, making sure we’re back for sunset on the Malecon or from the roof of our hotel – which offers a great view over the city. There will also be time to explore the streets of Havana Centro and Viejo again.
Day 4, Nov 17th – After breakfast, a private transfer to Vinales for two nights. Journey time approx 3 hours with a refreshment break. We'll spend the afternoon in Vinales town photographing the architecture, people, old cars and details and wander into the valley for sunset. Central Hotel Vinales or Casa Particulars for two nights
Day 5, Nov 18th – Dawn shots of the beautiful Vinales Valley before breakfast, hopefully with mist swirling around in the valley. After breakfast we’ll spend the day exploring the Vinales Valley, visiting small tobacco farms where the farmers and their families make great portrait subjects. My friend, local photographer Guillermo Seijo, will join us today and guide us around the valley.
Day 6, Nov 19th – A dawn visit to a beautiful local lake called El Salto for sunrise then after breakfast we depart for Cienfuegos and a long (6hr) drive with stops for refreshments and lunch. On arrival, we’ll spend the rest of the day exploring central Cienfuegos, famed for its architecture and atmosphere. Our hotel is in the centre of the old town and perfectly-located for exploring the streets on foot, plus there’s a fantastic view from the roof bar over the main square and down to the ocean at sunset. Hotel La Union for two nights.
Day 7, Nov 20th – A full day in Cienfuegos, starting before sunrise, during which we’ll spend more time exploring the old centre around Parc Jose Marti, including a visit to the fantastic Teatro Tomas Terri and maybe walk to Punta Gorda if time permits.
Day 8, Nov 21st – After breakfast we transfer to the old sugar town of Trinidad - now a Unesco World Heritage Site. This journey takes around 90 minutes, so we’ll have most of the day to explore Trinidad’s cobbled streets, shooting until the sun goes down. This is an amazing place, offering endless photographic potential. We’re staying in town so it’s an easy walk into the old centre. Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad for two nights.
Day 9, Nov 22nd – A full day to enjoy Trinidad, one of the most enchanting towns you’re likely to visit. Around every corner you’ll find something new to shoot, so make sure you reserve enough card space for the end of the trip!
Day 10, Nov 23rd – After breakfast, a long drive back to Havana (5hrs), arriving mid-afternoon for a final night at Hotel Parc Central. There will be time for more evening photography in the streets and on The Malecon, plus a visit to the top of the Bacardi Building for amazing view over Havana (if it’s open!). Hotel Parc Central for one night.
Day 11, Nov 24th – We’ll spend our final morning in Havana before being transferred to the airport around 3.30pm for our flight home. Included in the trip is a one hour city tour in a restored open-top American car. We will also visit the Museum of the Revolution.
Day 12, Nov 25th – Arrive London Heathrow after an overnight flight.
What makes Cuba such a wonderful place for photography is the sheer variety of subject matter. One minute you’ll be shooting an old Buick belching out clouds of smoke, the next a beautiful building, or a bunch of excited school kids, or an old farmer chomping on a big cigar. It’s impossible to walk down a street and not find something inspiring to photograph.
Each day of this fantastic photography tour will begin before sunrise and end after sunset, and cover a diverse range of subjects and techniques - architecture, interiors, details, colour, landscape, lowlight, action, portraiture, street photography, long exposures, black & white, infrared… There are two big Cuba portfolios on my website – check them out to get a better idea of what’s in store. I'll also be on hand at all times to guide, instruct and advise
At A Glance...
Deposit / Price
£450.00 / £4,950.00
Sharing Discount - £400.00
14th - 25th November, 2023
10 night's accommodation in en-suite rooms for single occupancy (unless travelling as a couple), breakfasts, dinners on 2 nights, return flights to Havana, airport transfers, private transfers between destinations in an air-conditioned coach, tourist card visa, entry fees where applicable, use of local guides where applicable, guidance from Lee Frost, a one-hour tour of Havana in a restored open top American car.
Meals not mentioned, drinks from the bar, items of a personal nature, travel insurance, tips
Max Group Size