“Chris, you are a one of a kind. Really enjoyed you as a photographer, a guide, and of course as a fabulous story teller. You have so much Cuba knowledge and I loved your positive energy
ASA M., JIM CLINE PHOTO TOURS, CUBA 2020
“Chris was the perfect trip leader. His knowledge of the country and its history is vast and he enthusiastically wanted to share it with us along with his years of experience as a photographer… He’s talented, interesting, accessible, and fun to travel with. Plus, he really did seem to care about each of us — if we were okay, getting good images, too tired, too hot, etc. I would certainly travel with him again. He certainly kept up the high standards of a Jim Cline Photo Tour.”
JUDY B., COLOMBIA 2018

Despite President Trump’s new restrictions on travel to Cuba effective September 24, 2020, every U.S. citizen can still legally travel to Cuba, pre-approved and at any time, under the “support for the Cuban people” license. This program is designed in accordance with U.S. regulations intended to maximize “support for the Cuban people” through stays at private B&Bs, meals at private restaurants, and interactions with independent artists, private tobacco farmers, owners of classic convertible taxis, etc.

EXPERIENCE CUBA’S ICONIC DESTINATIONS WITH NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER AND CUBA EXPERT CHRISTOPHER P. BAKER

Experience Cuba with the locals in three of the island’s most iconic sites… Havana, Viñales and Trinidad.

Cuba’s frozen-in-time stage-set backdrop lends a twilight zone ambiance that Hollywood couldn’t dream up if it tried. It guarantees superb photography. But Cuba’s real magic isn’t its crumbling architecture, one-of-a-kind revolutionary icons, or spruced-up vintage cars. It’s the seemingly mundane, quintessential experience a lo cubano that provide for the most authentic grass-roots photography and which you’ll forever cherish as favorite take-aways.

No-one knows Cuba as well as renowned travel journalist, National Geographic photographer, and Cuba expert Christopher P. Baker. Chris has authored and illustrated six travel books on Cuba, and has written about and photographed Cuba on behalf of entities from the BBC and CNN to National Geographic, New York Magazine, and Playboy during three decades of travel to Cuba.

Chris combines great skill as a non-technical tutor (his focus on the art of visualization and composition and use of light includes a “How to Compose Stunning Travel Photography” presentation) with an unparalleled, all-encompassing comprehension of Cuba, and a capacity for concise, engaging and exciting explanation. (Most importantly, this includes the enigmatic complexities, eccentricities and ideologies of the Revolution; plus, the philosophical, humanistic, non-materialistic qualities that define the Cuban approach to life.)

Chris will be joined by a top local photographer-guide.

Join Christopher on this memorable one-of-a-kind photo tour, inspired by research for his magazine assignments and guidebooks. Of course, we’ll get to see many of the finest iconic sights that Cuba has to offer. But Chris shuns the usual tourist locations to explore off-the-beaten-path Cuba and interact with Cubans from all walks of life, while taking advantage of the best light, and with a flexibility that allows us to make the most of opportunities as they arise.

On this trip, we will experience the very best photo destinations that Cuba offers

We will start in Havana, with its world-class street shooting and so much more. We will organize photo shoots, such as the most important boxing gym in Cuba, Afro Cubano dancers in an old colonial building, and ballet dancers from the Cuban National Ballet posing in an old mansion. We will be assisted local Cuban photographers, and everywhere we go we will meet and photograph the friendly people of Havana.

Next we will explore the tobacco-growing region of Vinales – with its stunning limestone cliffs, or Mogotes. Vinales would be an important photo destination just for the scenery alone, but it is the traditional farmers that make it so great. We are friends with many of the farmers in the area, and they will invite us into their homes, affording photo opportunities that the typical group will never have. Also we’ll be working with a local photographer who was born and raised there.

Finally we will journey to the colonial city of Trinidad. Many consider this Unesco World Heritage site the most beautiful city in Cuba. With the backdrop of the perfectly preserved colonial buildings, we’ll photograph cowboys riding horses and pulling horse-carts through the cobblestone streets, along with the classic American cars. We’ll meet a local photographer there and visit a cowboy ranch outside of town, where we’ll be served an authentic country-style lunch. Trinidad also hosts a thriving local live music scene, and we will have the opportunity to photograph local musicians there.

This trip will comply with the U.S. People-to-People travel sanctions.


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TOUR DATES:

November 30-December 10, 2020 CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19

February 27-March 9, 2021 FULL!
April 10-20, 2021
December 4-14, 2021

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PRICE:
$4,775 (November 2020)
$4,875 (February & April 2021)
TBD (December, 2021)

ITINERARY (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):

Day 1: Sunday
Arrive on your flight to Havana, you’ll be picked up at the airport and transferred to our B&B in the heart of Old Havana. We’ll have a 5:30 p.m. orientation meeting, then ride along the Malecón in sexed-up Eisenhower-era convertibles for a welcome dinner at La Guarida—Cuba’s most famous (and photogenic) restaurant and the set for the Oscar-nominated movie “Strawberry & Chocolate.”
Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 2: Monday 
Walking the main plazas and back streets of the colonial quarter with our local Cuban photographer-guide, Chris will regale you about the city’s fascinating history while introducing you to Cubans along the way. Chris will take you inside humble homes, speakeasy nail salons, santería shrines, etc. We’ll finish the day with a late afternoon shoot of classic American cars around Parque Central, then walk along the Prado and through Centro Habana to the Malecón. We’ll photograph the sunset, with old cars rumbling by along this seafront boulevard offering a microcosm of Cuban life: the elderly walking their dogs; fishers casting their lines, or casting off in great inner-tubes; musicians practicing their instruments; and, since this is Cuba, no end of lovers canoodling. From here we’ll walk the short distance to dinner.
Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 3: Tuesday 
We’ll have an early morning photo walk and bicitaxi ride through southern Habana Vieja, including a visit to photograph at a farmers’ market. Later, we’ll visit tumbledown Gimnasio Rafael Trejo, an unlikely venue where Cuba’s future boxing greats train. We’ll also visit Galer
ía Raúl Corrales, a studio dedicated to the famous photographer’s work and run by his granddaughter and contemporary photographer, Claudia Corral. After lunch, we’ll have a private photo shoot with the National Ballet and/or Raices Profundas Afro-Cuban dance company. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to photograph Havana at leisure.
Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 4: Wednesday
In the morning we’ll drive from Havana to Viñales, arriving for lunch at a private restaurant with an amazing view over the Vi
ñales Valley, with its dramatic limestone formations called mogotes. We’ll stop at a tobacco farm, and get a cigar rolling demonstration, check in to our B&Bs and relax before a late afternoon stroll in this quintessentially Cuban small rural town.
Overnight: B&Bs, Viñales.

Day 5: Thursday
We’ll get up for sunrise and visit tobacco farmers to photograph them in the early morning light. There’ll be rest time before lunch at a beautiful restaurant where all of their organic vegetables are grown in their adjacent farm. The early afternoon is free before we visit more farmers and photograph and interact with them in and around their homes and barns. We’ll have dinner at a tobacco farmer family “restaurant”.
Overnight: Private B&Bs, Viñales.

Day 6: Friday
After an early morning walk to photograph at one of our favorite country farmstead homes, we’ll drive from Viñales to Trinidad, with a lunch stop on the way. Passing through Cienfuegos in mid-afternoon, we’ll stop briefly to photograph a former sugarcane community, including inside a ration store adorned with astonishing revolutionary murals. We’ll then drive along the Caribbean shoreline, arriving the colonial town of Trinidad in time for the last light. We’ll reward ourselves after a long-drive today with dinner in one of Trinidad’s most sensational private restaurants (paladares).
Overnight: Hotel E La Calesa or Private B&Bs, Trinidad.

Day 7: Saturday
We’ll rise early for a golden hour walk, letting serendipity guide us through the streets of this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, immersing ourselves in the local life as we shun the touristy quarter in favor or lesser visited quarters. Chris will introduce us to an artist friend whose ingenious one-of-a-kind wood-crafts are to be seen to be believed—a sublime photogenic experience. The afternoon is free for you to explore Trinidad at leisure. This evening you may visit one or more of the thriving live music venues in the center including the famous Casa de la Trova.
Overnight: Hotel E La Calesa or Private B&Bs, Trinidad.

Day 8: Sunday
This morning we’ll journey into the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills), a UNESCO World Heritage Site where we’ll shoot a quinceañera–a girl celebrating her fifteenth birthday–at Chris’s favorite 18th-century hacienda. We’ll lunch at a ranch farm, after which the afternoon is again yours to explore and photograph in Trinidad at leisure. In early evening, we’ll head to the colonial home of Trinidad photographer Julio Muñoz for dinner with Julio and his family.
Overnight: Hotel E La Calesa or Private B&Bs, Trinidad.

Day 9: Monday
This morning head back to Havana in time for lunch. After an afternoon siesta, we’ll tour Havana in convertible classic cars, taking in such photographic highlights as Plaza de la Revoluci
ón and Fusterlandia—a remarkable community project with scores of houses adorned Gaudi-style with ceramics. Dinner is on your own–a chance for an optional excursion to the famous Tropicana floor show.
Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 10: Tuesday
In the morning, we’ll visit a “lost in time” mansion whose occupant lives surrounded by all-things pre-revolutionary: everything in the house dates from the 1950s (or older)! Here we’ll shoot one or more ballerinas of Cuba’s Ballet National or professional models for stunning travel portraiture in an astounding setting. We’re only three blocks from one of Chris’ closest friends–an ace mechanic, offering an option to photograph him working on his 1948 Buick and collection of antique Harley-Davidson motorcycles. After lunch at the bohemian Bellevue Café (owned by ace photographer Sven Creutzman), your afternoon is at leisure for last minute purchases of cigars, coffee, and/or souvenirs… or perhaps an optional museum visit. This evening we’ll have an image sharing slide show before our farewell dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.
Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 11: Wednesday
Today for an early evening departure for Miami and home.

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