Cuba: Havana - Vinales - Trinidad

Tour Intro

Licensed People to People Program.

Corey Hilz is passionate about photographing the natural world and he invites you on his return trip to Cuba. He specializes in architecture, nature and travel photography. Corey also has a passion for teaching photography. He particularly enjoys working with students in the field, so they may learn to improve their images as they create them. His instruction enables photographers to improve their photographs technically and artistically. Corey teaches workshops and provides one-on-one instruction for those looking to focus their learning. Corey is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA). www.coreyhilz.com

Americans are now able to travel through a new 'people-to-people' program, which includes daily activities, immersing you into 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 Playa Larga, on the Bay of Pigs. Visualize the appeal of this country that has been closed off to Americans for decades. Allow Corey Hilz 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 Corey 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.
 

Tour Highlights

  • Program cost includes Miami-Havana round-trip airfare & Travel Visa, as well as now all meals included due to new government regulations.
  • 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.
  • Playa Larga offers wildlife, birdlife, tropical scenes and natural seascapes to photograph along the South Coast.
  • 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.

Tour Itinerary

March 20: Home - Miami
Textures

Photo By: Corey Hilz

Photo Location: Cuba

Due to the time of the group charter flight tomorrow morning it will be necessary for everyone to fly to Miami today and overnight there. Otherwise, we cannot be responsible for missed connections. We recommend everyone staying at the same hotel as your photo leader in order to coordinate departure time in the morning back to the airport. Suggested hotel to overnight at will be announced.

March 21: Havana
Havana Car

Photo By: Corey Hilz

Photo Location: Cuba

Depart Miami today on the charter flight to Havana (time 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, the group will depart from the airport to Old Havana. Your local 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. Overnight Hotel Capri or similar (D)
 

March 22-23: Vinales
Vinales Mogotes Car

Photo By: Corey Hilz

Photo Location: Cuba

Viñales is 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 hotel offers commanding views of the landscape, which we will capture at sunset this evening, and early morning sunrise photography the next day. 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. Lunch will be at an organic farm overlooking the valley, and then continue our exploration of this beautiful valley. Overnight Los Jazmines or similar. (B, D; B, L)                         

March 24: Playa Larga - Bay of Pigs
Taxi Driver

Photo By: Corey Hilz

Photo Location: Cuba

After sunrise photography from the hotel and breakfast, we drive to the southern coast and the Province of Zapata. Playa Larga is located at the end of the Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). This region is known for its beaches, wetlands, and wildlife. There will be crocodiles, colorful birds, fishing boats, and tropical beaches, providing us with an opportunity to photograph the natural side of Cuba. Given time this afternoon (and given the interest of the group) 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. There is optional snorkeling or scuba diving in this region from the hotel. Overnight Playa Larga (B, L, D) 

March 25-26: Trinidad
Trinidad Homes

Photo By: Corey Hilz

Photo Location: Cuba

After an early breakfast, we will travel to Trinidad. There may be time to stop in the City of Cienfuegos, a very modern city by Cuba’s standards. Trinidad was 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 Corey 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 ruined 19th Century sugar estates. 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. (B, D; B, L)
 

March 27-29: Havana
Havana Architecture

Photo By: Corey Hilz

Photo Location: Cuba

Return to Old Havana after breakfast. 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, return to the hotel for breakfast, then meet your local 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 guided tour of the Havana Rum Museum, to learn the history and photograph during the program, ending with a wee sample of this famous rum.

There will be free time in the late afternoons to walk the Prado down to the Malecon, with incredible panoramic views of the harbor and the skyline of Havana. You can also photograph from the roof top terraces of Park Central or Hotel Saratoga for additional skyline views. Overnight Inglaterra or similar (B; B, L; B, D)
 

March 30: Havana - Miami
Havana Skyline

Photo By: Corey Hilz

Photo Location: Cuba

There will be a morning transfer to Havana airport for your trip home (Exact time to be announced). Confirm with Strabo Tours prior to booking your Miami tickets. Be sure to leave three hours between your connection times from the Havana ETA to your Miami departure. This will all be worked out when we are closer to our date. (B) 

Photo Leader

Corey Hilz
read more
Corey Hilz

Corey Hilz is passionate about photographing the natural world. He specializes in architecture, nature and travel photography. Corey also has a passion for teaching photography. He particularly enjoys working with students in the field, so they may learn to improve their images as they create them. His instruction enables photographers to improve their photographs technically and artistically. Corey teaches workshops and provides one-on-one instruction for those looking to focus their learning. Corey is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA).

Corey made this a trip of a lifetime for me. He knows his craft and taught me a lot about my camera and how to see the scene to make the best photo, he is a patient instructor. As we arrived to a site, Corey spoke about what we would be seeing and how to approach it. He encouraged us to look everywhere. He allowed us to stick close to him if we wanted more in depth instruction or we could find our own shots if we so chose. The evening sessions after dinner were the best, demo's, critique, and it was great to see other group member photo's!!!

Strabo is commended for its comprehensive care of its travelers, I will travel with you again!

M. Shaffer

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 5 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

Corey made this a trip of a lifetime for me. He knows his craft and taught me a lot about my camera and how to see the scene to make the best photo, he is a patient instructor. As we arrived to a site, Corey spoke about what we would be seeing and how to approach it. He encouraged us to look everywhere. He allowed us to stick close to him if we wanted more in depth instruction or we could find our own shots if we so chose. The evening sessions after dinner were the best, demo's, critique, and it was great to see other group member photo's!!!

Strabo is commended for its comprehensive care of its travelers, I will travel with you again!

M. Shaffer

Corey was a great photo lesson instructor and a joy to be around.

K. Oakes

Additional Notes

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.

loading icon