Phone: (607) 756-8676
Our Experience, Your Discoveries
We want to show you the world, and to have you truly inspired by it - exploring its breathtaking diversity. Our enthusiasm is stronger than ever to reach out and expand your horizons.
We hope you accept this invitation and join us on one of our journeys so that our experience becomes one of your many discoveries.
Culture of Cuba with Ron Rosenstock ~ 10/31-11/9, 2013, 11/2-13, 2014
Americans are able to travel under a new '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.
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.
Travel with Ron Rosenstock to Cuba. You will be immersed in the rich culture, and strong willed people of Havana; as well as the spectacular UNESCO 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. Wander and explore with Ron through Havana’s colonial architecture, while watching the antique vehicles pass you by. There will be daily educational programs built in to the itinerary, including traditional salsa music and dancing, cigar factory exploration, and visiting with local families of Havana’s diverse neighborhoods.
Join accomplished photographer and guide Ron Rosenstock through this special program. Ron is a veteran eader, having conducted more than 200 programs to many destinations worldwide. Ron taught photography at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. His published books include his exquisite black and white photographs: The Light of Ireland, Chiostro (Cloister), and Hymn to the Earth; color photographs in Journeys. Ron’s work has been featured in over one hundred exhibitions, both in the U.S. and abroad, and his photographs are to be found in the permanent collections of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Mass., The Polaroid Collection in Cambridge, Mass., and the International Center of Photography in New York City. Ron’s striking, one-of-a-kind photographs can be seen at www.ronrosenstock.com.
Ron’s core teaching is based on a saying of the twelfth century theologian and philosopher, Mister Eckhart, "Art is not just for special people, but everyone is a special kind of an artist." Ron's teaching is designed to bring out the inner creative spirit within all of us. His teaching reflects the techniques of his teachers, Ansel Adams and Minor White. Learning not just to look, but to see, and then to know how to get a finished print, whether you are concentrating on infrared, black and white, or color. Ron uses a digital projector to demonstrate how he finishes his images with Aperture and Nik Software. He also shares photographic exercises that are an aid in "seeing photographically." Those participants that bring a laptop have the opportunity share their images with the group for comments. Ron’s programs will help you to make more meaningful photographs, whether you are a beginner or advanced photographer.
Day 1: Home - Miami
Due to the time of the group charter flight tomorrow morning it will be necessary for everyone to fly to Miami today, overnight at hotel (at your cost). We cannot be responsible for missed connections. We recommend everyone staying at the same hotel as your photo leader in order to coordinate departure time in the morning back to the airport. There are various hotels around the Miami airport so if you should decide to stay elsewhere please notify us of hotel and phone number. Suggested overnight at Hilton Miami Airport
Day 2: Miami - Havana
Depart Miami today on the charter flight from Miami to Havana (time to be announced). Currently we can pre-pay the Cuba Visa fee for you, which is currently $75, this has now been included in your tour cost.
Upon arrival in Havana, we hope to have time to visit Jose Fuster’s art gallery/workshop before being transferred to your hotel. Fuster, as he’s affectionately known, specializes in unique ceramics, paintings and graphic design, and his work has expanded beyond just his home in Jaimanitas, a piece of art in its own right, to the neighborhood all around his residence. Fuster is a one-of-a-kind character that delights everyone he comes in contact with. Bring some cash (CUCs), you may want to purchase a few items that he’ll be glad to sign if he’s around.
As we make our way to the hotel our guide will orient us to the highlights of Havana. You will have some free time to explore the neighborhood around the hotel before we walk to a lovely restaurant on the Plaza Vieja in La Habana Vieja for our welcome dinner. Overnight Hotel Inglaterra or similar. (L, D)
Day 3: Old Havana
After breakfast (served 7-10am daily) we will have a program at the Rum Museum where we’ll have a local guide provide us with detailed commentary about the process of making rum. Rum is an icon of Cuban culture and seeing how it’s produced is a treat. Afterwards we’ll get to taste some rum. Afterwards if the local cigar factory is taking visitors, we will have an interesting program. Witness the art of cigar making at its finest and see a way of Cuban life that has been around for centuries (no photography allowed).
Day 4: Morro Cabana - Vedado
After breakfast the group will transfer by bus to Morro Cabana, a.k.a. Castillo del Morro, to explore, including access for panoramic views of the harbor and the skyline of Havana. Then on to the gran dame Hotel National, located right on the Malecon, the seawall that runs along the waterfront. Enjoy the commanding view of the sea and experience the wonderful history that can be felt throughout the hotel.
Lunch will be at a lovely restaurant, Castropol, located right along the Malecon, near Pase del Prado, with incredible views of the bay. Late this afternoon, transfer to the Vedado area of Havana, visit La Torre (the Tower), a bar/restaurant on the 30th floor of the Focsa building, from which you can enjoy a drink and photograph beautiful views of Havana. (B)
Day 5: The Arts - Hemingway
This morning depart via bus to Ernest Hemingway’s former home Finca La Vigia, near Cojimar, ‘Cohema’ a quaint fisherman's village. View remembrances of his 20 years in Cuba. This is where Hemingway celebrated his Pulitzer prize in 1953 with his fishermen buddies and the now legendary boat skipper, Gregorio Fuentes, captain of his yacht El Pilar (which is located on the property), and the main character of his book, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, appropriately set in this area. If there is a festival taking place in the town of Cojimar we will wander and have lunch on our own there among the many street vendors. If not we will return to Havana, and explore on foot with our photo leader. Afternoon optional activities include street photography, or photograph from the roof top hotels of Park Central or Hotel Saratoga, those who prefer to shop may like to visit Almacenes San Jose, and return via taxi to the hotel. (B)
Days 6 - 7: Trinidad
After an early breakfast travel to Trinidad. Founded in the early 16th century on the southern coast of the country, Trinidad de Cuba 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 (don’t miss this opportunity).
The next day there will be a special photography with a local photographer who is also a ‘horse whisperer’. Photograph on his farm as you learn about his varied life in Cuba. If unavailable another program will be substituted. Given time there will be a program at a local potter’s home where we can learn about the art of his spinning wheel. This afternoon and evening will be free to explore this amazing little town at leisure with your photo leader. Overnight two evenings in Casa particular (individuals will stay in various local homes to experience the family hospitality and location in the center of town.)(B, D both days)
Day 8: Vinales
There will be an early departure this morning as we make our way west of Havana to the Pinar del Rio Province. This will be the longest day of driving, your guide and photo leader will choose various locations for photography breaks along the way. Given time we will stop and stretch our legs in Cienfuegos, the city is nicknamed La Perla del Sur (the pearl of the South).
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. The hotel offers commanding views of the landscape, which we will capture at sunset this evening, and early morning sunrise photography tomorrow as well. Overnight Vinales Los Jazmines or similar. (B, D)
Day 9: Vinales-Havana
After sunrise photography from the balcony, and breakfast, there will be time to walk along the valley floor photographing the Mogotes, and to visit a local tobacco plantation in the region. We’ll explore more of this rich valley before returning to Havana, in time to explore on your own. Perhaps take a walk along the Malecon at sunset, or take a taxi ride in one of the many antique vehicles. Overnight Inglaterra or similar (B, L)
Day 10: Havana
This morning those that wish can visit Havana’s famous cemetery, and a local farmer’s market en-route back to the hotel. You will have the rest of the day free in Havana to return to your favorite places. There will be a farewell dinner at a local traditional restaurant. Overnight Hotel Inglaterra or similar. (B, D)
Day 11: Havana - Miami
There will be a morning transfer to Havana airport to begin your program home (Exact time to be announced, planning on Miami arrival at 12PM-1PM). Be sure to leave three hours between your connection times in Miami. (B)
Tour land cost: $4,595 US Dollars based upon minimum of 6 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.
Single room supplement: $395; single rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed. 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.
Note: The land costs on international tours is based upon current exchange rates. Although the rate has been relatively stable, should it change, there may need to be an adjustment in the land cost.
Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds
A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic programs) 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.
Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
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 listed as optional, or those 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, film or processing, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.
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.
Fitness and Health
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.
Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.
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
This itinerary has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best this destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. Above is a summary of 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.