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Do you like to travel? Have a sense of adventure? Want to create lasting memories through photography? Have you ever wanted to explore Cuba and experience it’s culture and people? This blog post will answer 7 questions for your first Cuban small-group photography holiday. Questions like: do I need a visa? When is the best time to travel? Is it safe? Let’s get straight to it!
Small-group holidays around Cuba are the perfect way to go, especially if you are wanting to create a stunning photography portfolio? Small groups bring together other like minded people you can bounce ideas off of, build friendships with and create unforgettable memories with. What’s even better is that you don’t have to worry about anything apart from turning up to the tour as everything else is taken care of. You will have a local guide on hand, with insider knowledge of the country who can help with its intricacies and on a photography tour you will have a fantastic photography expert on hand too! Imagine having your trip documented by a photographer as he or she is also giving you advice on how to capture magical moments through your camera.

So you may be wondering, what kind of people go on small-group photography holidays?

Our photography tours attract those who are serious about learning the art of photography and want to take their skillset to the next level within their chosen field, whether it’s birding photography, underwater photography or travel photography.

They also tend to have a strong focus on conservation and sustainable travel and have a keen interest in learning not just about photographing their chosen subject, but about the places and cultures they visit.

Ok, but is Cuba safe I hear you ask?

Cuba is one of the safest destinations in the world. Crime rate is low. Sure there are some scams, just like in all travel destinations that you need to be aware of, like the taxi scams, the currency scam, the hustlers – really nothing different from anywhere else in the world. However the bonus of traveling in a group is that your guide will alert you in any particular area what to watch out for and at the same time, you have the ‘protection of the pack’.

Simply-Cuba-group-tours
Simply-Cuba-group-tours

I did mention the benefit of a local guide, so who are they?

Yoanis, our founder, and Yunior are our main tour leaders on our trips. They are both licensed guides with well over a decade experience each in leading tours. They both have superb skills and strive to be personable, professional, friendly, and attentive and dedicated to delivering a rewarding, educational and enjoyable Cuban experience! Please have a look at our tour leaders’ profiles on our About Us page which will help to give a little more insight on each particular person you’d be partnered with.

Now let’s consider getting you there!

Do I need a visa to travel to Cuba?

Tourists of most nationalities require a ‘Tourist Card’ which is similar to a tourist visa. These can be obtained through travel agents in your home country, or directly from Cuban embassies and consulates. Depending on the airline you are travelling with to Cuba, you may also be able to purchase the tourist card at the airport from the airline on the day of your departure – please check with your airline for more information.

If you are a US citizen, American permanent resident, or hold any type of American Visa and are considering travelling to Cuba, please refer to the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website for information. With the latest sanctions in place visa options for travel to Cuba have been limited further and you may also require to obtain a license for your travel.

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller.

When is the best time to visit Cuba?

Cuba has 2 distinct seasons – the wet season from April to October, with the hottest and wettest months being June, July and August. And the Dry Season from November to April, where some nights can be a ‘chilli’ 16 degrees. Tropical storms and hurricanes are more prevalent in September and October but rarely cause problems for travelers.

How much money should I bring?

Once you pay for your tour, there really isn’t much else you will need money for as we cover everything from your transfers to accommodation, entry fees, guide fees and the likes. Cuba is not a shoppers paradise, so you won’t be rushing of to big shopping sprees in a hurry.

You may wish to have some cash for some amazing Cuban art to take home, some cigars, entry fees to the toilets, potential optional activities, some extra soft drinks or may be some cocktails for the end of the day.

As an idea prior to COVID the indicative prices were as follows:

Can of soft drink or bottle of water = USD 1.50

Cup of coffee = USD 1.50

Cocktail = USD 3–5

One hour of wi-fi = USD 1

Activities = USD 3-10

Simply-Cuba-group-tours

Do I need any special clothing?

General rule of thumb is smart casual attire for the duration for your trip.

For birding/birding photography tours – Light-weight, neutral-colored clothing (ideally not white) that can easily be rinsed out and dried quickly (cotton or cotton blends) are recommended for the field, so as not to unnecessarily frighten away birds and other wildlife. If you prefer long-sleeved shirts and long pants, then these will help protect you from insects, thorny plants and sunburn. Strong-soled walking shoes or hiking boots are essential, as we will typically spend a good amount of time on our feet.

Laundry services are usually available; however, more detail in this regard will be provided once you have signed up for a particular tour. Making use of the available laundry service means you will not need to bring as many items of clothing as you would otherwise. Alternatively, to lighten your load, you may consider bringing some clothes that may be discarded at the end of your trip – these clothes are typically well received.

Keep your bags light as you will have to carry them to your accommodation from the bus.

For diving – ensure you have your rashie and mask as a minimum.

Sunscreen, water bottle, mozzie repellent, hat and sunglasses  are handy to have.

Regardless of the time of the year, it is always wise to bring a jumper and a rain jacket (poncho).

For each tour, you will be sent detailed pre-departure with a packing list to help you prepare. This document provides details on the required clothing and expected weather conditions for each particular tour.