Cuba East to West: Live It, Love It, Shoot It

Tour Intro

To view a slide show of Nancy's images from her photo programs to Cuba, click here:  Cuba travel program with Nancy Ori      It's a perfect of example of the wonderful opportunities you will explore with her.

This is a licensed 'People-to-People' program, which includes daily activities, immersing you in the heart and soul of Cuba. From the hustle and bustle of Santiago de Cuba, and Old Havana, to the more remote and colorful Spanish Village of Baracoa, along the Atlantic Coast.

Visualize the appeal of this country that has been closed off to Americans for decades. Allow Nancy Ori to bring you to the photo ops and assist you in capturing the allure of this amazing place and its people through your lens.

Wander and explore with Nancy, for FIVE days in Eastern Cuba, where you will photograph environmental portraits, as well as the architecture, seascapes, and the traditions of boxing and cigars. Eastern Cuba has predominantly far less tourism than the now very popular west side. Start in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second largest bustling city. It has different cultural influences than Havana including African, French, and Chinese. We’ll photograph the architecture of Parque Cespedes, and picturesque local neighborhoods surrounding it. Photograph the lively musicians and dancers by the glow of the street lamps. Take a side trip to visit the near by village of El Cobre with its beautiful cathedral. Those interested in the history of the revolution can take time to visit one of the many museums in Santiago or the Castillo del Morro (fortress). From Santiago we move on to the magic of nature, in Baracoa, which is surrounded by forest and sea….keeping its people isolated from modern influences, yet preserving the ecosystem and maintaining their traditions.

An internal flight has been included, taking the group to Havana to complete your tour in Old Havana. Havana is amazing in its own right with the antique vehicles passing you by and the amazing opportunities of photographing environmental portraits each day. Your local guide will have daily educational discussions about the East and West of Cuba, regarding the culture, history and nature. 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.

Nancy: This will be my sixth workshop in Cuba so I am quite versed in expectations and have chosen some amazing opportunities for you. A workshop location like this is a once in a lifetime experience that evolves within a tight time frame, unlike a class that has time over several meetings to learn about the camera or a particular topic as the single focus.

My location workshops are shooting experiences. Lots of shooting!  We fit the instruction in between driving, sight-seeing, eating, and lots more shooting. Instruction will happen more on an as needed basis so I can solve issues as they arise, usually on a one-on-one basis.

Please be open to the informal atmosphere that I like to create. I have a relaxed style but that in no way means I am low energy.  I am interested in serious discussion and sharing of information when there is time. 

In general, this is a ‘go out and make photographs’ kind of workshop.  That means we will be up early and out late in the evenings, taking a mid-day break for lunch and another at dinner, during which, there will be time for group or individual discussions. It will require you to be proactive in asking questions and get involved. There are no classrooms or formal sessions.

You will be amazed at the photographic opportunities here. When you get home and start looking at all your images, you will be overwhelmed at all that you saw and were able to capture and learn.”  

Nancy's teaching style is casual and supportive but with great passion. One of her students sums it up nicely: "The workshop was wonderful, and hard and fulfilling and really fun! As usual, you were brilliant, prepared, encouraging, insightful and organized. Thanks again for your passion and for all the fun and knowledge you continually put in my life."  Carol

 

Tour Highlights

  • Check out Nancy Ori's fine art to get a sneak peak of Cuba.
  • Program cost includes, Guantanamo-Havana airfare, and EIGHT NIGHTS in Cuba.
  • Photographic subjects include musical sessions, environmental portraits of friendly local faces, home interiors, gardens, fishing villages, and of course the great American cars of the 40’s and 50’s surrounded by modern & historic architecture.
  • Photograph the sights and sounds of Santiago de Cuba, built by the Spanish, with its art and music influenced by the Caribbean isles, French and Chinese. From the main square of Parque Cespedes to the local flare of the neighborhoods surrounding it.
  • Spend two evenings in the colonial town of Baracoa on Cuba’s Northeastern Atlantic coast. Meet and interact with people’s lives on the streets of this remote and distinct village. From the fisherman to having a cup of hot chocolate at the famous Casa del Chocolate.
  • Explore the colorful architecture, textures and details of Old Havana, designated an UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Panorama sunset views of Moro Cabana harbor & skyline of Havana.

Tour Itinerary

February 2-4: Home - Santiago de Cuba
Cuba East

Photo By: Nancy Ori

Photo Location: Cuba

Depart home February 2, on a flight to the ‘second’ city of Cuba, Santiago de Cuba (time to be announced).
Eastern Cuba is known as the Oriente, built on the sagas of historical rebellion and revolution. It is the birthplace of Fidel Castro and his revolution and has been influenced by the French, African, and Caribbean creole, as well as, the Spaniards. Upon arrival in Santiago, the group will travel by private bus to your hotel, followed by an introductory tour in the historic district around the Parque de Cespedes. Santiago’s most notable buildings line the square providing wonderful architecture photography of its varied international influences. One of the most notable was built in the early 1500’s, Casa de Diego Velazquez, a Spanish conquistador’s former residence, now a historical museum of Cuba. There will be a welcome dinner this evening followed by rooftop photography from the terrace of the hotel, where you can listen to the city come alive with the music from Casa de la Trova. Just east of the square, photograph the less touristy Parque Dolores, the square is surrounded by wrought-iron adorned buildings, and also just south are the Steps of Padre Pico, with its mighty steps leading to a very picturesque quarter.

Enjoy early morning photography shoots with Nancy, the next two days, returning to the hotel for breakfast. You will have opportunity to photograph the shop owners, as they bring the city back to life. Given approval you will be able to photograph at a boxing ring and perhaps the old cigar factory.

A trip to Eastern Cuba would not be complete with out a visit to the near by village of El Cobre, about 12 miles out side the city. It is most famous for its cream colored basilica, a national monument built in 1926, Nuestra Caridad del Cobre. Not far from here is the mausoleum of Jose Marti, where there will be a changing of the guard ceremony. Jose was one of Latin America’s most famous poet and writers, and he is haled to be the father of Cuban independence. He lived in exile for many years in NY as a foreign correspondent in the 1880’s-90’s, returning to Cuba in 1895 leading an insurrection against the Spanish government. He died on the battlefield three years before Spain lost its last colony.

The following morning depart for colorful fishing villages along the coast and take the ferry to Cayo Granma, a small island in the bay, where you can photograph the local fishermen, red roof buildings, and quiet streets. Capture the sunset from the San Pedro de la Roco Castle, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort hosts a firing of the canon ceremony each evening at dusk. There may be time for optional excursion to the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, which is home to many of Cuba’s famous military figures, including the Mausoleum of Jose Marti. Cuban revolutionary buffs may want to take a couple hours one afternoon to visit Cuartel Moncada, it describes the history of Cuba from 1500’s onward. The building was the site of July 26, 1953 carnival celebrations, where Fidel, Raul, and Che attacked the concrete barracks in an attempt seize weapons. Overnight Casa Granda Hotel. (D; B, L; B)

February 5-6: Baracoa
Cuba East

Photo By: Nancy Ori

Photo Location: Cuba

Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind as you take a leisurely drive to the north east coast and the much more remote Baracoa. Baracoa means ‘nature’ as the Cubans say, and it is surrounded by tropical forest, and the sea. This has isolated the people to rely on fishing, cocoa, coconuts, bananas, and gathering wood, providing visitors with unique photo opportunities, surrounded by people and their daily lives.

Wander down the Malecon which connects the two 19th-century forts, Fuerte Matachin and Fuerte de la Punta. You’ll have two days to explore this quaint colonial village with Nancy, photographing the colorful streets, shops, and children as they play. Take a day trip along the coast, photographing the natural landscape & flat top of El Yunque, seascapes and natural wonders of the local beaches, natural rocks in the ocean and gorge’s. Overnight Hostel 1511 or Casa Particular. (B, L; B)

February 7-9: Old Havana
Cuba East

Photo By: Nancy Ori

Photo Location: Cuba

There will be a flight this morning from Guantanamo Airport to Havana (included in the land cost). Upon arrival 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 all the things 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. 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.

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 to the local markets and shops, return to your casa 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. 

There will be free time in the late afternoons, to walk the Prada, or Malecon along the harbor. There are also a few hotels in Old Havana in which you can capture incredible panoramic city views at sunrise or sunset from their rooftop bars, such as Inglaterra, Parque Central, or Saratoga, etc.  Overnight Hotel Inglaterra or similar (B, L; B; B, D)

The Cuban Casa: Some of Nancy’s tours, students have had the opportunity to stay overnight in a typical Cuban casa. These are like our B&B’s in that you will have a private room & bath and wonderful hosts who will prepare breakfast for you. Should accommodations change you will find this homey atmosphere will give you a unique opportunity to get to know a family and perhaps photograph them, their home interiors and their pets. We have found these people to be quite gracious and helpful as we are treated with tender care and respect. It is a wonderful real Cuban experience away from the usual large hotel environment.

February 10: Havana - Miami
Cuba East

Photo By: Nancy Ori

Photo Location: Cuba

There will be a transfer to Havana airport for your trip home (exact time to be announced). Confirm with Strabo Tours, prior to booking flights. Be sure to leave three hours between flights if you are making a connection. This will all be worked out when we are closer to our workshop date. (B)

Photo Leader

Nancy Ori
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Nancy Ori

To view a slide show of Nancy's images from her photo programs to Cuba, click here:  Cuba travel program with Nancy Ori      It's a perfect of example of the wonderful opportunities you will explore with her.

Nancy Ori, photography instructor and experienced tour leader
Nancy J. Ori is respected internationally for over 30 years as an industrial photographer and video producer and enjoys teaching photography and painting workshops throughout the United States and Europe. Nancy was affiliated for many years with the Ansel Adams Workshop in California and is now on the faculty in New Jersey of numerous art centers and museums. In 1990, she established The NJ Heritage Workshops for Photography and Painting, which she holds each spring in Cape May. And in 1995 she founded and directs the New Jersey Photography Forum, a group of professional and serious amateur photographers that meet regularly to discuss their work and exhibit within the state. The group is now 18 years old and is the largest group of exhibiting fine art photographers in New Jersey.

Photographing in the West Coast tradition of her long-time mentor, Ansel Adams, Nancy expresses her own interpretation of the landscape and architecture. Her photographs reveal a love of light, shadow and form in natural and man-made settings. They are powerful documentations of the land expressing its vulnerability and endurance.

Nancy's teaching style is casual and supportive but with great passion. One of her students sums it up nicely: "The workshop was wonderful, and hard and fulfilling and really fun! As usual, you were brilliant, prepared, encouraging, insightful and organized. Thanks again for your passion, and for all the fun and knowledge my annual "photography camp" puts in my life."  Carol

Ori’s work has been widely published and exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Europe. View Nancy’s website www.nancyoriphotography.com. for detailed information or call her at 908-790-8820.

I’ve thought a lot about the trip and felt that your instruction was excellent and your patience with our questions and our technical inadequacies was remarkable. I thought everyone else would be much more accomplished than I am and was delighted that I could keep up and learn so many new things. Your teaching style matches my learning style – focused and to the point. I also learned so much from my fellow students who graciously shared their knowledge and experience.
The scheduling and pacing of the trip were excellent even though by the evening I was too exhausted to participate in the frivolity. However, I didn’t feel left out because you did not use that time for instruction. It was a great workshop for content, organization and student support.

Ruth

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $300 if 5-7 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

Cuba was a wonderful experience that was much enriched by Strabo Tours.  I was stunned by the amount of photographs to be made:  people, architecture, close ups, horticulture, and, of course, the cars from the 40’s and 50’s that were everywhere. It was definitely a wonderful experience.

Marilyn

Strabo’s trip to Cuba will be one you will never forget. There are photo ops galore. While Cuba may be economically deprived, it is culturally rich.

Janice

An outstanding trip that takes you back in time to a place filled with great music, colorful architecture, cars and a revolutionary spirit.

Kathy

Additional Notes

From Nancy, "You need to know that Castro passed away two days before we departed from the US for my 5th workshop. We were already booked to be in Santiago when the funeral procession arrived there for the burial. I was in communication with Strabo as soon as I saw what was happening. We knew there would be a lodging problem with all the dignitaries, security and press that would be arriving for the procession and service. The Strabo representatives in Cuba stepped up big time to find us wonderful lodging locations in lovely and homey casas. This was not a small feat for sure, but I was not worried and knew they would pull the rabbit out of the hat for us. Our hotel reservations were canceled on us, but we had a plan B. I actually like the casa lodging better than the hotels anyway. To go on a workshop without that kind of back up is crazy. I know that I can always rely on the Strabo team regardless where I am traveling for workshops. It's great to have that kind of insurance".

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.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

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).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours 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 tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour 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.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip 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 trip 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 trip 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 for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Accommodations

The Cuban Casa: On all of Nancy’s tours, students have the opportunity to stay overnight in a typical Cuban casa. These are like our B&B’s in that you will have a private room with private bath and a wonderful host who will prepare breakfast for you usually in their own kitchen. This homey atmosphere will give you a unique opportunity to get to know their family and perhaps photograph them, their interiors and their pets. We have found these people to be quite gracious and helpful as we are treated with tender care and respect. It is a wonderful real Cuban experience away from the usual large hotel environment. In Havana, the group will be staying in a variety of newly created casas near the Malacon.

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