Cuba is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination. With its rich history, lush tropical landscape, warm hospitality, energetic vibe, authentic feel the country has a lot to offer for the adventurous photography enthusiast.You will find a large variety of unique and engaging photo experiences that are nearly impossible to come by in any other country. Cuba Simply in Focus is designed to take you to explore Havana neighborhoods, communities in the hidden and not so hidden Cuban countryside, give you the opportunities for street portrait sessions, magical sunsets, amazing valleys, untouched nature, and a long list of photography surprises.Start your exploration of this wonderful country in Havana, the heartbeat of the forbidden country. Despite the difficulties, its people are the kindest, most friendly people in the world. Maybe it’s the survivalist spirit of its people, the decaying grandeur of its majestic buildings, or the salsa energy that gives this feeling that just makes you fall in love with it. Whatever you do, make sure you arrive with an open mind and immerse yourself in the experience this city has to offer.Capture the lively street theatre of Havana Vieja (Old Havana) as you wander through the narrow streets and spacious plazas, admiring the Spanish architecture as you discover the birthplace of Havana. Through this part of the day, you will have the opportunity to photograph colorful street markets, courtyards, and terraces.After discovering the streetscapes of Havana, we will head to the western region of Cuba. The towns of Soroa, Viñales, and Las Terrazas provide the perfect spots for magical sunrises, sunsets, landscape, and birding photography, whilst bring with them the opportunities to capture portraits of the farmers and vibrant village architecture.Viñales, is a national park and world heritage site; an agricultural region in the west of Cuba and is one of the regions to produce the Cuban cigar. This magnificent natural rural setting is far from Havana’s hustle and bustle. With traditional agricultural fields of mainly tobacco, mesmerizing mogotes, and plenty of bush tracks it is a perfect place for a Cuban adventure. While you are here, you'll have the chance to take a guided walk through this rich countryside, to discover the life of Cuba’s farmers, and learn the secret methods of rolling a Cuban cigar directly from those who grow it. Not only will you get to try one, but you also get to learn how to roll them yourself!Soroa is a hidden gem only 85kms from Havana. With the sun glistening off of the beautiful flowing waters of the area, you will be amazed to see the rainbow rays shining off of the surface - thus awarding the region with the affectionate nickname ‘The Rainbow of Cuba’. Here we will visit the orchid garden, which is not only in a beautiful natural setting but has hundreds of amazingly colorful orchids to photograph.
From Soroa we will travel further south to Trinidad, a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement where the clocks stopped in 1850 and haven’t yet started. Most people recognize this city for its beautiful but crumbling yellow bell tower that graces the cityscape, but there is truly much more hidden in the streets of Trinidad. The people, the vibrant colored buildings, the art galleries, and the fantastic ambiance of Trinidad makes it a creative's adventure playground.From Trinidad, we'll track back to Santa Clara, Cuba’s 5th biggest city, which holds a special place in Cuba's revolutionary history, as such this city is a mini-pilgrimage destination for Che Guevara worshipers. You cannot miss the Plaza de la Revolucion. On the way through we will visit Manaca Iznaga, a historic sugarcane plantation nestled amid the verdant landscapes of the Valle de los Ingenios. It was established in the mid-1700s and later purchased by Pedro Iznaga, one of Cuba’s richest men at the time. Climb the dozens of steps that lead to the tower’s observation deck. Then admire the sweeping views of a picturesque countryside made up of farmland, forests, patchwork fields, and the distant Escambray Mountains.
What you will love about this trip
- Local Tour Guide
- Travel Photography Expert
- Old Havana Walking Tour
- Trinidad the best-preserved colonial city orientation tour
- Viñales valley walk with cigar rolling
- Walking tour to El Cubano National Park
- Visit to Las Terrazas Community
- Soroa Orchid Garden
- Visit to Che Guevara’s mausoleum
- Organic Farm Dinner
- 1 hour Salsa Lesson
- Ancon Beach Expedition
- Airport transfers
Is This Trip Right For You?
- Be aware! We NEVER use hotels! Our aim is to give back to the community, as such we always use Casas as our accommodation option. Of course, we are aware of western comfort requirements, so as a standard, we ensure pillows, air conditioning, and private bathrooms.
- In saying that... Do remember that you are in a country with lower infrastructure standards. As such, power cuts, especially in cyclone season are expected. Water pressure may be low and hot water in short supply. This really just adds to the adventure.
- Previously Cash was king! Some service providers now insist on the use of credit cards to reduce cash handling, but be aware that some cards may not work in Cuba. So have several options available.
- Internet access is available but is limited. Why not choose this time to switch off and relax? If it is not entirely possible, we will assist you to get connected.
- Come without expectations, as things don’t always go to plan. And bring your sense of humor, in case you need to deal with things in 'Cuban time'!
- The roads can be a challenge, whilst we ensure we get you there safely, it may take longer than you would expect in any other part of the world. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.
Further Information About Our Tours
Want more info in preparation for your trip? Our Trip Information page provides further information regarding things you need to know, accommodation transfers, emergencies, passport & visa info, what to pack and more, that you may need to know about this adventure. Click here to read
We also provide you with detailed joining instructions prior to your travel. 😎
Day 1 – Havana
Welcome to Cuba!
A complimentary transfer from the airport to the guesthouse is included with your trip to ease you into the life in Cuba. You can check in at any time, your casa hosts will be waiting for you. If you arrive early, enjoy your free time till your welcome meeting at 6pm.
Depending on your arrival into the country and how you feel there are some options for you to discover Havana.
Maybe even get your supply of Wi-fi cards sorted for your stay…
A complimentary arrival transfer is included with your trip. Please ensure you provide your flight details at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised.
Please see ‘Joining instructions’ for more information about exiting the arrivals hall and connecting with your arrival transfer driver who will take you to your guesthouse.
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let us know.
Day 2 – Havana
Today you'll have the opportunity to capture the lively street theatre of Havana Vieja (Old Havana), a World Heritage site since 1982. See the glorious grandeur of this dynamic area, one of the Caribbean’s most impressive historical cities. Wonder through the narrow streets and spacious plazas, admiring the Spanish architecture as you discover the birthplace of Havana - Plaza de Armas, and other iconic sites like Plaza San Francisco de Asis, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de la Catedral. Through this part of the day, you will have the opportunity to photograph colorful street markets, courtyards, and terraces.
In the afternoon you have a choice whether to visit the Morro Castle - The Morro was constructed to guard the entrance to Havana against pirates and other colonists eager to gain control of this strategic transit hub between Europe and the rest of the Americas. The castle’s unusual shape hugs the rocky cliffs of the bay, with thick, imposing walls, a moat, and a stoic lighthouse that can be seen from the city. It provides the perfect photo opportunity.
Alternately enjoy the sunset with the roof down in a 1950's classic car! Visit revolution square and Lenon Park among other things, and finish the day with a well deserved cocktail at the Hotel National, the most iconic Hotel in Havana.
• Old Havana Walking Tour
Day 3 & 4 – Vinales & Cayo Jutias
Today we are making our way to beautifully rural, Viñales which is endowed in mogotes, large limestone cliffs covered with flat flora and plant life, and is the home of the world-famous Cuban Cigars. It’s one of the cooler areas of Cuba, so it’s also a nice escape from the hotter parts of the country. Viñales Valley is a World Heritage site. It is a fascinating sight, with its amazing “living landscape” of traditional farms and untouched nature. It boasts an abundance of local seasonal fruit and vegetables, such as enormous avocados, mangoes, and pineapples. It is a fascinating scene to see when oxen are working the fields and the scent of tobacco fills the air.
Here we will start with an orientation walk, after which you will have some free time to give you the opportunity to capture the vibrant scenes of the township, markets, and people before your salsa lesson in the evening. A relaxed evening after the hard day of photographing, giving you a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the local music of Viñales amongst the warm and friendly locals.
In the morning we’ll take a guided walk through this rich countryside, to discover the life of Cuba’s farmers and learn the secret methods of rolling a Cuban cigar directly from those who grow it. Not only will you get to try one, but you also get to learn how to roll them yourself! You will have the chance to visit a hidden community of farmers, capture the traditional wooden houses with exterior porches and visit the valley itself to shoot the landscapes and its people as well as their relationship with tobacco, their animals, and the land.
- Vinales Orientation Walk and photo session
- 1 Hour Salsa Lesson
- Vinles Valley Walk
- Organic Farm Dinner
- Sunrise and Sunset Photography Sessions
Day 5 – Soroa & Las Terrazas
This morning will head to Las Terrazas community and nature reserve in the Sierra del Rosario mountains. It is an eco-village built around a creek that has been a UNESCO Biosphere reserve since 1985. It is the country’s best-kept secret! The goal in this village is to integrate tourism into an existing community rather than create artificial tourist experiences. It succeeds by using local farming, energy efficiency, and a focus on the greater good of the community.
There are several photo opportunities here of nature, art galleries, coffee plantations, and the like. In the afternoon we will make our way back to Soroa. A tiny little village hidden in the mountains. Here we will visit the orchid garden, which is not only in a beautiful natural setting but has hundreds of amazingly colorful orchids to photograph.
You may also have time to able to take a stroll among the marvelous tall trees to discover the pristine waters of the local waterfall or climb up to see the Castle in the clouds. And did I mention it is also a perfect spot for birdwatching? You just never know what you will see!
- Las Terazzas entry and local guide
- Soroa Orchid Garden entry with camera
Day 6 - 8 – Trinidad
From Soroa we will take a drive to Trinidad, once we settle into our casas here, you will be taken on an orientation tour around the city. It is the perfect spot to master your street photography, offering cobblestone streets, bright-colored colonial buildings, markets, art galleries, museums, people, various modes of transport from horsing carts to classic cars. If you are up for discovery, you can walk up the hill to take in the views of Trinidad.
This is also a great opportunity to view and buy Cuban art direct from the artists themselves, while also offering the chance to identify the many photographic opportunities that mix paintings with people.
Enjoy the light trekking in El Cubano National Park in the Topes de Collantes. We will discover the Salto de Javira 6 km round trail that delivers you to the heart of el Cubano’s beautiful waterfall and natural pool. Swimming in its icy pool is the perfect break from the heat. The trail begins with a small rope bridge, on the other side, follow the path that gently rises beside the river. Find shade among the canopy of the trees and enjoy colorful birds overhead. It’s an easy and well-trod path that allows the mind to wonder.
You can get amazing shots of nature, birds, the waterfall and the creek and if you are lucky some beautiful and large butterflies. And if you had a color overload - which is possible in Cuba - you can experiment capturing this amazing place in black and white.
We will head out to Playa Ancon. This white sandy beach with palm tree umbrellas is a great site during the day and a perfect spot for beach sunset shots! With the pinks, oranges, and purples in the sky most evenings it is bound to be a delight.
- Orientation walk and photography session
- Topes de Collantes Excursion and nature photography session
- Playa Ancon Excursion for sunset photography session
Day 9 & 10 – Havana
We will head back to Havana today. On the way through we will visit Manaca Iznaga, an 18th century sugar plantation. It offers a great opportunity to photograph steam trains, a massive bronze bell, an ornamental garden among other things.
The estate’s major highlight is the 149-feet (45-meter) tall Manaca Iznaga Tower. It served as a lookout for watching over the slaves. Note the tower’s seven arched levels, which are a blend of square and octagonal shapes. Climb the dozens of steps that lead to the tower’s observation deck. Then admire the sweeping views of a picturesque countryside made up of farmland, forests, patchwork fields and the distant Escambray Mountains.
Our next stop is at Santa Clara. It is Cuba’s 5th biggest city, that holds a special place in Cuba's revolutionary history. Famous for the Battle of Santa Clara, when it was taken over by a revolutionary battalion led by Che Guevara by the afternoon on New Years Eve 1958. It is seen as a decisive chapter in the revolution as President Batista escaped Cuba within 12 hours afterwards. As such this city is a mini pilgrimage destination for Che Guevara worshippers.
You cannot miss the Plaza de la Revolucion. The is the open space that is overlooked by a huge bronze statue of Che Guevara that sits atop the museum and he Che Guevara mausoleum that we will visit. It is nothing short of a big, bold reminder to every local and visitor of Che’s importance here.
We should be back in Havana on time for capturing amazing sunset shots over the Malecon, before it’s time to say goodbye to this amazing island. We have not planned any activity for you on your last day so you can rest and relax.
Your check-out time is 12pm. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we loved showing it to you!
This is where we depart, yet would strongly recommend that you stay a few more days to explore this unique city. If you would like to take this opportunity, please let us know and we can arrange extended accommodation for you for an additional fee