Cuba East to West

The Heart and Soul of Cuba

  • Photo Education with both Karen & Joel Schulman.
  • Program cost includes internal Cuba flight, traveling East to West, and EIGHT NIGHTS in Cuba.
  • Photographic subjects include musical sessions, portraits of friendly local faces, architecture, fishing villages, and of course antique cars.
  • Photograph the sights and sounds of Santiago de Cuba, from the main square of Parque Cespedes to the local neighborhood flare.
  • 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.
  • Explore the colorful architecture, textures and details of Old Havana, designated an UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Panorama sunset views of Morro Cabana harbor & skyline of Havana.

Latin America and Caribbean




March 1-10, 2021


9 days


per person, double occupancy*

*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 9 participants.

Tour Overview

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 Karen and Joel to bring you to the photo ops and assist you in capturing the allure of this amazing place and its people...

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 Karen and Joel 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 your photo instructors, for FIVE days in Eastern Cuba, where you will photograph environmental portraits, as well as the architecture, and seascapes. 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 more removed 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. 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. In addition, Karen and Joel will offer visual presentations and discussions highlighting the development of personal vision and awareness, and show how light, color, composition, gesture and ‘the moment’ contribute to the success of a photograph. There will also be opportunities to have photo reviews of your images, so everyone can share and learn from each other, or private photo reviews can be arranged. Both Karen and Joel are passionate iPhoneographers and during your tour will offer optional creative iPhoneography instruction. Our goal is to make this tour enjoyable and fun for both serious and casual photographers! From Karen: “I encourage each person to give themselves permission to make mistakes, permission to create. The more we learn to ‘see’ with our mind, heart and spirit, the more of an adventure life becomes.”

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.

I’d like to add my thanks: to my photo leaders, for teaching me new skills and boosting my confidence, to Leonel for sharing your abundant knowledge of and love for your country, to Jacque for flawless (yes, flawless!) organization of the trip, and to all of my new friends, for welcoming me into your lives to share this adventure. This trip was fabulous. The photo opportunities were everywhere.I learned a great deal about photography and the country. The travel arrangements were flawless.

— B. Baron

Hello Friends, I arrived home at midnight on Saturday with all of my countless photos, aged rum, colorful souvenirs, and fabulous memories safe and sound! It was a spectacular trip back to Cuba to see much more than I had seen six years ago. My countless thanks to the photo leaders, local guide, and Strabo Tours for all of the photo expertise, technical assistance, cultural information, and great planning.

— M. Welland

The Cuba trip was absolutely amazing!!!  Joel and Karen did a great job of balancing our interests with those of the more serious, photographers in our group.  The entire trip was very relaxed, with just the right balance of structure, sightseeing, and socializing.  The entire group got along very well, and our guide, Leonel was a tremendous resource!  Our driver, Jose, could not have been better. 

— T. Schwall

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

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

— Kathy

Many thanks to you both for helping us discover Cuba; it was such a rich and exotic experience! We will enjoy the memories and the photos for many years to come. 

— Lana and Joe

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

Tour Itinerary

March 1: Home

Itinerary and pricing being developed. It may be necessary to overnight in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami before the tour begins tomorrow.

March 2-4: Eastern Cuba - Santiago

Depart 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 sessions in the city the next two days, returning to the hotel for breakfast. We’ll also have sunset photo sessions and evening photography on the streets of the city, with music drifting out of clubs and homes alike. The option to visit a club for music in the evening is also possible. 
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. Photograph  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 Santiago (D; B, L; B)

March 5-6: Baracoa

Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind as you take a 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 historically isolated the people to rely on fishing, cocoa, coconuts, bananas, and gathering wood, providing visitors with unique opportunities to photograph 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 full days in Baracoa to explore this quaint colonial village with its colorful homes, shops, and children playing, along with a visit to the natural areas outside of town to photograph the flat top of El Yunque, the local beaches and seascapes. Overnight Baracoa (B, L; B)

March 7-9: Havana

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 to the local markets and shops, return to your 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. 

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 Havana (B, L; B; B, D)

March 10: Home

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) The Cuban Casa: On some 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. Participants should know that Cuba is a special destination.