Cuba seems to be on everyone’s bucket list and it was also on mine. Being brought up in Florida I remember my parents going to Cuba back in the day. So last November my 25 year old son and I visited on a People to People tourist card. My son is a photographer so we were both very excited about the photographic opportunities and took all our equipment. As soon as we arrived at customs in Habana we realized it was not going to be like any place else we have been. When we drove into Habana we immediately felt the exuberance of the city and heard the music coming from every doorway or out of every 50’s car we passed it was very uplifting. The city was full of surprises, I found that it is economically poor, but culturally rich; visibly deteriorating but architecturally magnificent.
I learned so much more about the history of Cuba through our guides, the people we met and towns we visited. We had the opportunity to go to the home of a well know photographer who was a personal photographer for Castro and Che to see his work and talk about some of his experiences. We had delicious meals in a few of the new Paladars and met the owners and chefs who are the long awaited entrepreneurs of Cuba. Every night we went to several venues and clubs to hear music, great fun.
Our trip through Pinar del Rio and Valle de Vinales, the agricultural and tobacco region was very beautiful and the perfect area for photography. We stopped so many times to get the right shots at the right time of day and the light there seemed to be perfect.
In the opposite direction we visited the Sancti Spiritus Province which is called the Province of good fortune. The beautiful colonial town of Trinidad was a highlight for us. The town is small, lovely to photograph, has fun outdoor music at night, good restaurants, swimmable beaches, nice hotels and comfortable Casas’ which are similar to our B&B’s. We stayed in the Casa of another well known photographer and it was delightful. The Casa is over 200 yrs old and he has one of his horses in a stable off the kitchen and the horse occasionally walks through the house so you have dogs, kids, horses and guests all coming and going throughout the day just great!