“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

NOTE: On June 4, 2019, the Trump administration rescinded the “people to people” educational exchange license. However, every U.S. citizen can still legally travel to Cuba and group travel is still possible, pre-approved, under the “support for the Cuban people” license. Jim Cline Photo Tours’ Cuba programs are designed 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, etc.

EXPERIENCE CUBA’S ICONIC MAY DAY PARADE AND VENUES BEYOND THE CLICHÉ WITH NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER AND CUBA EXPERT CHRISTOPHER P. BAKER

Experience and photograph Cuba’s two most photogenic cities: Havana and Trinidad. In the capital city, we’ll join as many as one million Cubans for the unforgettable May Day Parade–the year’s most important event. 

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 and photographic appeal isn’t simply 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 eight 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 Take 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.)

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.

Plus, we’ll experience Havana during the year’s most important political event: the International Worker’s Day celebration (AKA May Day Parade), when as many as one million Cubans parade through the Plaza de la Revolución, waving their banners, singing and partying to music, and showing their support for Cuba’s unique, six-decade-old revolutionary process. You can’t escape the Revolution while in Cuba… nor should you! 

 

TOUR DATES:
April 24-May 2, 2021

PRICE:
TBD 


ITINERARY (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):

Day 1: Saturday
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 meet late this afternoon for 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&Bs (casas particulares), Havana

Day 2: Sunday 
Walking the earthy back streets of the colonial quarter with our local Cuban photographer-guide, Chris will regale you about the city’s fascinating history while meeting every-day Cubans along the way. Chris will take you inside humble homes to photograph 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 to the famous 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.
Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 3: Monday 
We’ll have an early morning photo walk through Habana Vieja, including the Mercado Agropecuario Egido farmers’ market. Later, we’ll visit tumbledown Gimnasio Rafael Trejo, an unlikely venue where Cuba’s future boxing greats train. After lunch, we’ll have a private photo shoot with either the National Ballet, the National Ballet School, and/or Raices Profundas Afro-Cuban dance company, then in late afternoon explore the streets of earthy Centro Habana before heading to the Malecón for sunset. From here we’ll walk to dinner.
Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 4: Tuesday
This morning we journey to Trinidad, passing through the delightful bayside city of Cienfuegos in time for lunch at Chris’ favorite paladar outside Havana. Afterwards, we’ll photograph a former sugarcane community, including inside a ration store adorned with astonishing revolutionary murals. Then continue along the Caribbean shoreline, arriving the colonial town of Trinidad. We’ll have time to settle into our accommodations before setting off in late-afternoon to explore Cuba’s third oldest colonial city–a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is remarkable for its state of preservation. We’ll enjoy dinner together in one of Trinidad’s most sensational private restaurants (paladares), with fabulous views over the colonial city.
Overnight: Hotel E La Calesa or private B&Bs, Trinidad

Day 5: Wednesday
We’ll rise early for a golden hour walk, letting serendipity guide us through the streets of Trinidad, immersing ourselves in the local life as we shun the touristy quarter in favor or lesser visited quarters where a traditional cowboy lifestyle still prevails. After freshening up, Chris will then lead an introductory tour of Trinidad’s colonial core, including introducing us to an artist friend whose ingenious one-of-a-kind wood-crafts are to be seen to be believed—a sublime photogenic experience. We’ll then visit the colonial home of Trinidad photographer (and, for 20-plus years, Chris’ closest friend in Cuba) Julio Muñoz, then dine at his recently opened, airy restaurant overlooking the cobbled main street.
Overnight: Hotel E La Calesa or private B&Bs, Trinidad

Day 6: Thursday
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–by a river and at Chris’s favorite 18th-century hacienda. Following lunch, we’ll depart Trinidad and return to Havana via Cienfuegos. The evening is at leisure. Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 7: Friday
This morning, we’ll visit a “lost in time” mansion gone to ruin and 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 professional models for stunning travel portraiture in an astounding setting. We’ll then walk a few blocks to visit one of Chris’ closest friends–an ace mechanic, offering a chance to photograph him working on his 1948 Buick and collection of antique Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Following lunch at photographer Sven Creutzmann’s Belmont Café, we’ll visit with Chris’ friend Roberto Salas–a renowned raconteur who left New Jersey to document the Revolution on January 2, 1959, and became one of Fidel’s official photographers. 
Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 8: Saturday
Rise early this morning to join the thousands of habaneros as they head to the Plaza de la Revolución for the May Day Parade–Cuba’s most important political event. Expect the plaza and surrounding streets to be thronged with as many as one million people! The opportunities for sensational photography will astound. The balance of the day is free time for optional activities to engage in your own “support the Cuban people” activities. This evening we’ll enjoy a slideshow of everyone’s favorite images. We’ll dine at one of Havana’s top paladares, then thrill to an evening alfresco at the famous Tropicana cabaret–a fantastic and sensual photographic experience!
Overnight: Private B&B, Havana

Day 8: Sunday
In the afternoon, we depart Havana for Miami and home.

 

SOON TO BE RELEASED FOR BOOKINGS