ACE CAMPS TRAVEL COMPANY

HAVANA CUBA PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR 2019

Cuba Photography workshop ~ Havana + Vinales Cuba with Ace Camps this November 2019. Explore the people, architecture, food, arts, and culture of Cuba during your 6-day adventure. Read On!

CUBA PHOTOGRAPhY WORKSHOP WITH Louis Alarcon |  THE CULTURE, PEOPLE, FOOD, CUSTOMS + ARCHITECTURE | HAVANA + VINALES, CUBA  |  NOVEMBER 12 - 17, 2019

ALL PHOTOS BY Louis Alarcon, Cuba Photography Tour

ALL PHOTOS BY Louis Alarcon, Cuba Photography Tour

About the trip:

Arriving in Havana is like stepping out of a time-machine and finding yourself back in the 50’s, surrounded by the slightly faded beauty and elegance of the crumbling colonial facades that have hardly changed since Hemingway strolled the elegant boulevards and narrow cobbled streets.  The unmistakeable aromas will capture your senses; tropical papaya mixed with tobacco leaf, musty carpets and petrol. Live music on the streets and in the restaurants is the norm, with people spontaneously dancing anywhere and everywhere. The city is alive, at all hours of the day, filled with life and colour. 

Politically isolated until very recently for half a century, Cuba offers a matchless window into an alternative world view that is ripe for capturing as imagery. This Cuba photo tour will take you where typical tourists don’t go, uncovering the real Cuba, allowing you experience a warm and embracing culture, natural beauty, and stunning colonial architecture, all from the best vantage points and under the expert guidance of professional Photographer + Guide Louis Alarcon.

This trip includes a 4 day photography learning experience that will get you to an insider view of people, places and building in Havana as well as to the countryside (Vinales) to live in the countryside we will have the opportunity to live among farmers, humble country folk that dedicate their lives to harvesting the best tobacco in the world. 

For all US residents + US Passport holders asking can I travel to Cuba? YES! We have worked with our partners to ensure our final itinerary is compliant with US law under the "educational activities/people-to-people" permitted reason of travel to Cuba. 

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PHOTOS BY Louis Alarcon, Cuba Photography Tour

This Ace Camp INCLUDES:

  • 5 nights stay in Casa Particulaires* ~ 4 nights in Havana and 1 night in Vinales

  • 5 breakfasts

  • 4 lunches

  • 3 dinners

  • 4 days of guided Photography tours and experiences with local photographer Louis Alarcon through Havana and Vinales

  • Havana Walking tour

  • Vintage American Car tour

  • Tabacco Farm tour + cigar rolling demonstration

  • Cuban farm-to-table cooking class

  • Local Tips for guides and drivers

  • Airport arrival + departure transfers

TRIP NOTES + PRICING:

*Rooms are shared with one other person.

Group Size: minimum 7 and maximum 10 guests

Airfare to Havana is not included.

PRICE - PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: 

~ Fee for non-US residents who will arrive in Havana via a non-US based flight:

$2395 USD - Visa processing not included

Deposit:  $1195 - due when place in workshop is confirmed 

Final Payment of $1200 due August 1, 2019

~ Fee for ALL US residents and US passport holders:

$2695 USD - this fee includes your Cuban entry Visa, legally required paperwork, and itinerary documents required by the new US travel restrictions put in place on June 16, 2017 MORE INFO

Deposit:  $1195 - due when place in workshop is confirmed 

Final Payment of $1500 due August 1, 2019


LOUIS ALARCON - LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER + GUIDE

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Louis Alarcon is a bilingual artist and documentary photographer, storyteller + teacher based in Havana since 1998. His tour focuses on Cuba beyond the stereotypes, reflecting everyday experience of the Cuban people.

Louis' documentary work is focused on capturing the changes that Cuba is going through, thus creating a historical document of a country that is in the process of renovation.
He fell in love with Cuba, its light and its people.

He works in color and black and white photography. Louis has been leading photo tours and private workshops in Cuba since 2008. Louis started one of the most popular Cuba Youtube channels. Every 12 hours, a video of Cuba is uploaded to his channel that has had millions of visitors. Louis is a member of several photographic associations in Cuba, USA and Europe.


WHO IS THIS TRIP FOR…

DO I NEED A FANCY CAMERA?

The short answer is no, this trip is perfect for anyone interested in taking photos while exploring Cuba. The trip is open to all skill levels. You should plan to bring either a mobile phone or digital camera that has a screen on it so Louis can review your photos and provide insights - if you like.

You will learn to tell stories with your series of photographs, building a collection based on street photography, portraits of locals, and from within the walls of private residences.

For those with digital cameras, this tour boasts Louis’s expert tuition, who will show you how to get the best out of your camera.

MOBILITY

Travelers should be comfortable walking or standing for extended periods. Excursions include navigating uneven terrain such as cobblestoned streets, potholed sidewalks, and stairs without handrails. 



WHERE WE’RE STAYING

Located in the heart of Old Havana, a few steps from Avenida del Puerto and the much celebrated Plaza Vieja, our Casa Particular is a small comfortable inn with only six simple yet modern en-suite rooms, the perfect backdrop to experience the mood of the colonial past of Havana. We are close to the very best restaurants and bars, as well as the best shopping streets and music venues. The rooftop terrace provides stunning views that look out onto many famous Havana landmarks. 

 
 

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THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN TRAVELING TO CUBA...

It is important to note that Cuba tends to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have travelled in. Buildings and infrastructure are generally old and may not have been maintained to the highest standard. Elevators, internet and A/C may not be available, things happen very slowly and water pressure and hot water can be minimal.

Cuba is an amazing place to visit but to fully enjoy and relax, western expectations should be left at home and your sense of adventure should be your guide.

A NOTE ABOUT FOOD: We are not able to handle specific dietary requirements on this trip. Vegetarian options may be available.

ADD A DAY OR TWO? If you want to spend extra time in Havana before or after your Ace Camp, let us know and we can work towards adding additional guided tours to your holiday

TRAVEL TO CUBA FROM THE USA: For those traveling to Cuba from the U.S. (regardless of nationality), please note that the documentation we will include with your booking ensures your compliance with current U.S. travel restrictions (515.574 Support for the Cuban People).


PHOTOS BY Louis Alarcon, Cuban Photography Tour

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

ACE CAMPS administration will email you when it is time to make your travel arrangements. This email will always be sent 90 days or more before your trip departs unless you book within 90 prior to the camp. 

You will be picked up from José Martí International Airport and taken to our Casa in Havana Vieja.

There will be no refunds for this Ace Camp due to the planning and logistics involved.

WEATHER

Located close to the Tropic of Cancer, Havana has a typical subtropical climate, with a wet season in the summer and a dry season in the winter. Due to moderating trade winds, average temperatures do not fluctuate as much as rainfall does, making Havana a warm place to visit any time of year. 

November is generally a very pleasant month to visit the country as daytime highs average around 26C and lows around 16C. This month brings the end of the rainy season, but it is advisable to pack an umbrella or rain jacket just incase.

ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER

The ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER is a part of your group and are there to look out for your safety, to help resolve issues, and to make sure you get what you want from your vacation. The Tour Leader will make sure that everyone who wants company has it, including dinners when no group meal is scheduled.

They also work with the local guides to insure the right combination of pace, information, and duration - and, well...keep the ball rolling.

 


ITINERARY

*While we do our best to adhere to the itinerary listed below, traveling in Cuba requires flexibility, and changes to activities may occur so we can take full advantage of spontaneous events that may provide the perfect backdrop for photographic opportunities. 

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL DAY

Arrival to Havana, Cuba
Transfer to Casa and settle into your accommodation.

Meet + Greet and dinner on the rooftop of our Casa

DAY 2 - OLD HAVANA + THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY

Simple Breakfast at our Casa

Today’s main focus is on Cuban culture, customs and the Cuban people. You will have your first opportunity to capture the lively street theatre of Havana Vieja (Old Havana). As well as the main squares and points of interest such as the Parque Central area, Louis Alarcon, together with your local English speaking guide, will also take you along streets not usually visited by tourists.

Louis will take this opportunity to share his tips on the art of taking photos in Cuba, including the relationship between photographers and their subjects, he will discuss camera configuration, colour combination, lens use, and how to work in the brightness and shade you will find in Cuba’s streets. Louis will be eager for you to share your photos with him, so that you can discuss and analyze the images you have captured.

Lunch – authentic Cuban Paladar

As the day progresses you will have the opportunity to photograph colourful street markets, courtyards and terraces. You will also have the chance to visit one of Havana’s vintage gyms, providing a unique atmosphere to try out your newly discovered photography skills.

Dinner this evening at one of our favorite restaurants in Havana

DAY 3 - CUBAN COOKING CLASS + CLASSIC CARS

Simple Breakfast at our Casa

Today we have a full day of photography with Louis interspersed among various local activities.

This morning we will travel to Cojimar,a fishing village just east of Havana. for an authentic Cuban farm-to-table demonstration cooking class. You will visit a local herb garden, followed by a cooking class featuring local dishes such as ropa vieja (shredded beef), plus lobster & shrimp enchilado.

For lunch you will enjoy what you learned to prepare this morning.

This afternoon Louis will get you to focus on capturing the spirit of the classic American cars that cruise the streets of central Havana, the external colonial facades of its buildings, and show you the best ways to capture natural portraits of families relaxing on their balconies.

We will visit a Cuban family in Havana to learn more about daily life in the city. In the evening, during sunset, we will visit the Malecon and the Prado intersection. Making sure we are in the right place at the right moment, in the right light! This is a wonderful opportunity to get that iconic Havana sea wall shot.

Dinner - on your own

After dinner we recommend a visit to Fabrica de Arte Cubano, a mixed use space showcasing a bar, art gallery and performance space, which will give you a peek into modern Cuban culture.

DAY 4 - RUTA DEL TOBACO

Simple Breakfast at our Casa

Early this morning we will set-off from Havana towards Viñales. The scenic drive along the “Ruta del Tobaco” will take you into the lush surroundings of the Pinar del Rio Province. It is here in Viñales that most of Cuba’s tobacco and coffee production takes place.

You will arrive in time for lunch at the Los Jasmines look-out point, where you will find yourself surrounded by the natural beauty of the area, since the town is ringed by mogotes – the word used to describe small hills with sheer rock faces.

Accompanied by Louis and your local guide, you will learn all about the special lifestyle in this area by visiting a hidden community of farmers and travel into the valley itself to shoot the landscapes, its people as well as their relationship with tobacco, their animals and the land.

Dinner - TBD

A relaxed evening will follow the hard day of photographing, giving you a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the local music of Viñales amongst the warm and friendly locals.

Overnight in Viñales

DAY 5 - THE LIFE OF CUBAN FARMERS

Simple Breakfast at our Casa

This morning you will be up early again so that you can journey into the heart of the valley. Here you will meet farmers preparing their morning coffee and meet some of the local wildlife amongst a sea of green back-drops.

As part of the fifth day of your Cuba photography tour you have the opportunity to interact further with the people of Viñales, where you will enter inside their homes to get to know their families as you share a locally grown and made “criollo coffee”.

Take photos of the beautiful Vinales valley until your heart is content before visiting a tobacco farm to see a demonstration of cigar rolling and learn more about the local industry.

Later this afternoon you will travel back to Havana with Louis and your guide.

Dinner this evening is on your own, we tend to gather together at the hotel on the final night to share stories of our adventure together and relax.

DAY 6 - DEPARTURE DAY

Simple Breakfast at our Casa

Departure from Havana.  After breakfast we say our final adioses and head on our way. Airport Transfers will be arranged with your local guide.


Nota Bene: this is a prospective itinerary. It is subject to modest modifications, dependent on local weather, new opportunities and the desires of the group.

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