The Colors and Contrasts of Cuba

Tour Intro

Americans are now able to travel through a '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 Randy Ziegler to assist you in capturing the allure of this amazing country through your lens.

You will be immersed in 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. This is a perfect introduction in to the people of Cuba, who 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 other than perhaps a pencil/pen or small bar of soap or shampoo. You will be amazed at what a kind gesture can do, bringing you wonderful smiles in return!!

Wander and explore with Randy 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, and visiting with local families of Havana’s diverse neighborhoods, and the sugar and tobacco farmers of the countryside.

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 will 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 there are often circumstances beyond control and changes may be necessary. Be assured that all efforts will be made to provide a comparable alternative should an item on the itinerary need to be changed.

Tour Highlights

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 9: Havana
Havana Colors

Photo By: Corey Hilz

Photo Location: Cuba

PLEASE NOTE: FLIGHT INFORMATION WILL BE ANNOUNCED PRIOR TO TRIP DEPARTURE. THERE ARE NUMEROUS FIGHTS AVAILABLE TO CUBA NOW AND STRABO TOURS WILL ANNOUNCE SUGGESTED AIRLINE AND DEPARTURE TIMES.

Depart the States today on your flight to Havana (time to be announced). Instructions will be sent to you in order to purchase a Travel Visa prior to departure, which is currently $75. Upon arrival in Havana, you will be met and take time to exchange funds at the airport. Your local guide will assist in getting you settled in to your hotel for the evening and have a tour of the city. Overnight Hotel Inglaterra or similar (D) 

March 10-11: Havana - Vinales

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Vinales Cuba

The group will depart for the Pinar del Rio Province. Viñales was founded in 1607 and has an economy based on agriculture, mainly tobacco farming, and its soil is considered to be some of the richest in the world. In the Vinales 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. There are 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 finca (farm) overlooking the valley, and continue our exploration of this beautiful valley. Overnight evenings in Casa particular, individuals will stay in various local homes to experience the family hospitality and location in the center of town. (D; B, L)

March 12: Playa Larga - Bay of Pigs
Cayo Coco

Photo By: Kathy Adams Clark

Photo Location: Cuba

After sunrise in town 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. 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. Overnight Playa Larga (B, L, D)
 

March 13-14: Trinidad
Trinidad

Photo By: Nancy Ori

Photo Location: Cuba

After an early breakfast travel to Trinidad. Trinidad was founded in the early 16th century on the southern coast of the country. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, and it’s the perfect example of a traditional colonial town. This jewel on the Caribbean has distinct architecture and a historic center with cobble stoned streets that lead to many landmark buildings, and it’s a joy in which to get lost. This evening you’ll have a guided walking program of this most picturesque town. Each evening there’s a huge gathering where both locals and visitors get together for drinks, some wonderful traditional music and a chance to dance away the night.

Enjoy an early morning photo shoot with your photo leader before returning to your home for breakfast. Your guide will then join you for a walking tour of the city streets, where you may visit and photograph at an artist studio, a local school, travel to the Valley of the Sugar Mills, or photograph the beautiful landscape of the south coast beaches. Overnight Casa’s (B, D both days)
 

March 15-17: Old Havana
Havana Cuba

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Cuba

You will make your way back to Havana today, where your local guide will orient you to the highlights of Old Havana on a walking tour. There maybe free time before dinner to explore the neighborhood around the hotel before walking to a lovely restaurant.

In 1982 Old Havana was designated an UNESCO World Heritage site and it is brimming with a variety of historical landmarks and interesting things to do. Just walking the streets in this area is a favorite pastime and will surely result in an unforgettable experience with plenty of chances to meet the locals and to take advantage of a myriad of photo ops.

There will be sunrise photo excursions with your photo leader, as you explore the city on foot, photographing the antique cars, architectural details, street scenes, and the local culture. After breakfast (served 7-10am daily) your local guide will join you as you explore Old Havana. Visit the La Torre (the tower) with views of the harbor and city, Morro Cabana (fortress) just across the harbor, Rum Museum where you will have a guided program (sample included), Ernest Hemingway’s former home Finca La Vigia, is located close by, where we can view the remembrances of his 20 years in Cuba, perhaps continue on to Cojimar, ‘Cohema’ a quaint fisherman's village.

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 Hotel Inglaterra or similar (B, D; B, L; B, D)
 

March 18: Havana - Home
Cuba East

Photo By: Nancy Ori

Photo Location: Cuba

There will be a morning transfer to Havana airport to begin your program home (exact time and city to be announced). If you have a connection in the U.S. be sure to leave three hours between your connection times. (B)

Photo Leader

Randy Ziegler
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Randy Ziegler

I love using natural light as my artistic light source given how it can accentuate and express the color medium.  I strive in my workshops to help photographers appreciate and become more sensitive to the natural, organic quality of light and color in the world around them.  I also work with them to elevate their awareness of how natural light and color can further enhance and reveal the essence of their subjects.

A major theme of my photography tours is teaching photographers to see better.  The hallmark of a good photographer is to be able to see something most people never notice, and bring the necessary artistic elements together to create a memorable photograph.  In the end, to take great images you have to see greatly.  I want to energize their seeing so that they will leave my tours with a renewed confidence in their ability to capture the enchanted moments of life that may never happen again.

Randy Ziegler is a Texas-based internationally published and respected natural light photographer with over 35 years behind the lens.  His photographs appear in books, corporate installations and private collections.  During his career, he has photographed several world-renowned people including the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Former First Lady Barbara Bush and Lesley Stahl with 60 Minutes.  Randy is a visual storyteller using his camera to capture life in response to the moments when the play of light, the drama of color, and the gestures of life unfold before him.

Randy is the recipient of several awards and recognitions including the Mayo Clinic Karis Humanitarian Award, the International Print Media Communicator Award of Excellence, and the Platinum MarCom Creative Award. Where some of his published work has appeared:  Mayo Clinic, New York Times, Nikon, Business Week, Four Seasons Hotels, and Newsweek-Japan.

A graduate of Concordia University, Minnesota he also attended the Rochester Institute of Technology College of Graphic Arts and Photography, New York where he strengthen his knowledge of illustrative photography. Randy continues to expand his education and share his passion for photography by teaching photographers at his workshops, photo tours, and lectures.

 

One year ago I was exploring photography trips and came across Strabo Tours. For numerous reasons, I chose to participate in “The Contrast and Colors of Morocco” - March 5 -17 2016.  Randy Ziegler led this tour. In preparation for this trip I contacted Randy and asked numerous questions about what to bring on the trip with an emphasis on equipment.  Randy responded enthusiastically and provided subtle suggestions for additions to my existing equipment and was sensitive to my budget. Due to Randy’s positive energy and wise council during the preparation for this trip, I arrived in Morocco with the proper equipment for my ability. 

I was overwhelmed by Morocco … its sights, smells, light and culture.  Everything met or exceeded my expectations regarding accommodations, knowledgeable local guide, convenience of travel and meals.  But I didn’t go on this tour just for a great travel experience with a camera in hand, I went to learn, to improve my photographic skills to take the best shots I could. Randy took the time to review all the settings on my camera and make suggestions to get better pictures.  In addition to looking for light, colour, and gesture, as is Randy’s mantra, I found I was looking at potential shots differently.Yes the trip to Morocco coupled with Randy’s tutelage enabled me to broaden my perspective on what I see through the lens.

My learning curve did not end when I stepped of the plane in Toronto. I found I was more eager to experiment with my camera and with postproduction software.  I played with every setting on my camera. A year has come and gone since I first decided to participate in the Strabo tour and that tour is still having an impact on what see through my lens.  I want to thank Jacque for making the trip possible and Randy for sharing photographic nuggets during the trip and being a positive resource afterwards.

Thank You


 

D. Windsor

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 10 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $300 if 6-9 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

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

I can't thank you enough for the time you spent with me.  What a special day.  I think I had brain overload but in such a good way.  Your enthusiasm to pass along your wonderful gift is incredible.

Connie

Jack and I would like to thank you very much for the wonderful workshop. The experience was invaluable. We particularly love traveling and learning with a group that enjoys photography as much as we do. Above all, we appreciate your instruction. You are always so willing to share your expertise, wisdom and insights. Bravo!

Phyllis

Additional Notes

ABOUT YOUR LEADERI love using natural light as my artistic light source given how it can accentuate and express the color medium.  I strive in my workshops to help photographers appreciate and become more sensitive to the natural, organic quality of light and color in the world around them.  I also work with them to elevate their awareness of how natural light and color can further enhance and reveal the essence of their subjects.

A major theme of my photography tours is teaching photographers to see better.  The hallmark of a good photographer is to be able to see something most people never notice, and bring the necessary artistic elements together to create a memorable photograph.  In the end, to take great images you have to see greatly.  I want to energize their seeing so that they will leave my tours with a renewed confidence in their ability to capture the enchanted moments of life that may never happen again.

Randy Ziegler is a Texas-based internationally published and respected natural light photographer with over 35 years behind the lens.  His photographs appear in books, corporate installations and private collections.  During his career, he has photographed several world-renowned people including the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Former First Lady Barbara Bush and Lesley Stahl with 60 Minutes.  Randy is a visual storyteller using his camera to capture life in response to the moments when the play of light, the drama of color, and the gestures of life unfold before him.

Randy is the recipient of several awards and recognitions including the Mayo Clinic Karis Humanitarian Award, the International Print Media Communicator Award of Excellence, and the Platinum MarCom Creative Award. Where some of his published work has appeared:  Mayo Clinic, New York Times, Nikon, Business Week, Four Seasons Hotels, and Newsweek-Japan.

A graduate of Concordia University, Minnesota he also attended the Rochester Institute of Technology College of Graphic Arts and Photography, New York where he strengthen his knowledge of illustrative photography. Randy continues to expand his education and share his passion for photography by teaching photographers at his workshops, photo tours, and lectures.

 

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.

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