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Authentic Cuba Expert's Corner
Yane Marquez, Authentic Cuba Travel® Expert Travel Agent Hola! My name is Yane Marquez and I was born and raised in Cuba. After graduating from the University of Havana and the Tourism School of Cuba, I worked for over 10 years as a tour guide, translator and event organizer for Cuba's travel companies and organizations. I guided many groups attending Cuba's main international festivals, fairs and events. A few years ago, I moved to Canada where I have continued promoting Cuba’s tourism industry. I would be more than happy to answer any question you have about festival Cuba travel. Do not miss out!
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Hotel Packages for Cuba Tours
This Cuba tour offers the following Cuban hotels and Casas Particulares (Private Homestays):

Luxury Casa Particular

This Cuba tour travels to the following Cuban destinations:

Old Havana
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Havana City

Vinales Valley
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Western Cuba

UNESCO World Heritage Site in Central Cuba

UNESCO World Heritage Site in Central Cuba
How to go to Cuba from USA
USA Cuba Architecture Travel
Accredited schools and universities will no longer need to apply for a Specific License for Cuba travel by their students, faculty and staff (including but not limited to adjunct faculty and part-time staff). Now they can travel to Cuba under a General License (no application necessary) if participating in a structured educational program as part of a course offered for credit by the sponsoring U.S. institution.
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Cuba Study Tours & Travel to Cuba from USA
US Cuba Study Travel & Tours
Authentic Cuba Travel® offers universities, colleges and schools from US, Canada and all over the world the best study trips to Cuba.

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US Cuba Educational Travel & Tours
Educational Travel to Cuba should be more than sunbathing in beautiful Caribbean beaches while sipping cold tropical drinks.

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Cuba's Ballet Festival

JoJazz Havana Festival

Havana Art Biennial Cuba Tour

Havana Film Festival

Havana Jazz Festival

havana book fair

habano cigar festival

Cuba's Fire Festival

Cuba Photography Travel, The Real Cuba Experience

Photography Tour Adventures April US Photographers go to Cuba Luxury Private Accommodation (Casa Particular) Cienfuegos Cuba Tours Trinidad: featured Cuban city Cuba Education Tours for US Educators April 2019 Eligibility for USA Cuba Travel USA Cuba Travel for US Schools USA Cuba Travel for US Organizations

Cuba Photography Tour I (April 5-12, 2025)

Cuba Cultural Tours for North American Photography Professionals, Teachers, and Amateur Photo Enthusiasts
Travel to Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and more for $2,999!

Your Authentic Cuba Photo Tour Can Be a Reality: only $2,629!

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If you’re involved with photography on any level, Authentic Cuba Travel® has Cuba photography tours that are sure to spark your interest! It’s perfect for anyone with an academic interest in Latin American, Cuban, or contemporary photography, as well as those who enjoy one on one exchange with another culture—not to mention the opportunity to take photographs in an incredible variety of authentic Cuba settings.

Our Cuba cultural tours are designed to accommodate photographers with various levels of experience. Whether you are a professional photojournalist, a fine art photographer, or just someone who enjoys making personal snapshots, the authentic Cuba we’ll share with you is one that you’re not likely to forget—with or without the photos you’ll take home!

During your Cuba travel, you’ll be exposed to many facets of authentic Cuban culture: from historic locations to unspoiled rural areas to picturesque communities.

Take A Sneak Peak at the Cuban Destinations You Will Visit Outside Havana

Authentic Cuba Travel® invites North American photography professionals, wildlife and nature photographers, travel and photojournalist photographers, photography teachers and students to explore through their lens the authentic Cuba in this discovery cultural tour to the Caribbean’s largest island.

Everywhere you go on your Cuba photography trip, you’ll be interacting with warm and welcoming people who’ll provide a truly intimate window into what makes this island such a special place. Cuban culture is comprised of a fascinating blend of elements—from Spanish colonialism to Afro-Caribbean culture to being one of the last outposts of Communism.

Anyone with a curious mind and a photographer’s eye is sure to enjoy each of the amazing places you’ll visit on our Authentic Cuba tours.

Authentic Cuba Travel® has structured your tour so that while we do have an organized itinerary designed to expose you to an array of potential photographic settings and subjects, you’ll also have the chance to meet with professional photographers in their studios, to visit photographic schools and museums, and to just go take photos on your own.

Notice to US Schools of Photography, US Institutes of Photography, and all those Academic Institutions offering College and University Photography programs in the US:

In January 2016, the US Government announced further enhancements to the 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba that previously required a specific license (this is, lengthy applications to OFAC). Now travel to the Caribbean island is allowed under a general license (this is, self-completed paperwork with no application to OFAC needed).

After President Biden’s policy change on USA Cuba travel on June 9, 2022, the General License for Educational Activities remains in place. Accredited U.S. graduate or under graduate degree-granting institutions; U.S. Academic Institutions; and U.S. Schools can organize and sponsor an educational trip to Cuba for their students, faculty and staff under the General License for Educational Activities, provided that the trip meets OFAC guidelines; and that an employee or other representative of the organization escorts the trip to make sure such guidelines are followed by all participants.

US Schools of Photography, US Institutes of Photography, and all those Academic Institutions offering College and University Photography programs in the U.S. can organize and sponsor a trip to Cuba for educational activities. The purpose of the Cuba travel should be for:

_ the participation in a structured educational program offered for credit as part of a course of the sponsoring institution;

_ educational exchanges sponsored by Cuban or U.S. secondary schools involving secondary school students’ participation in a formal course of study or in a structured educational program offered by a secondary school or other academic institution, and led by a teacher or other secondary school official are authorized. This authorization allows for participation of a reasonable number of adult chaperones to accompany the secondary school students to Cuba.

_ attendance at non-commercial academic seminars, conferences and workshops related to Cuba sponsored or co-sponsored by U.S. academic institution.

_ non- commercial academic research related to Cuba for the purpose of obtaining a graduate or undergraduate degree;

_ the participation in a formal course of study at a Cuban academic institution provided that credits will be accepted toward the student’s graduate or undergraduate degree;

_ participation in a 10-week structured educational program in Cuba as part of a course offered at the U.S. institution;

_ participation in a formal 10-week course of study at a Cuban academic institution, provided the formal course of study in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward the student’s undergraduate or graduate degree at the U.S. institution;

We take care of all details both in North America and in Cuba, including VISA and flight arrangements to Cuba's main destinations via USA ports (Miami, Tampa, New York, Los Angeles, or other) or through third countries like Canada and Mexico. Authorized US organizations can travel through a third country subject to the same restrictions and requirements as those flying directly from USA.

At Authentic Cuba Travel®, we have been organizing such educational and cultural travel experiences from the United States of America for years with great success.

Notice to US International Centers of Photography, US Museums of Photography Arts, and other Photography Organizations and Associations from US:

US International Centers of Photography, US Museums of Photography Arts, and other Photography Organizations and Associations from USA can organize a trip to Cuba under the provisions of the General License for Educational Activities, the General License for Group People-to-people Educational Travel, the General License for Support for the Cuban People, the General License for Professional Research, the General License for Semi-Professional & Amateur International Sports Competition, the General License for Humanitarian Projects, the General License for Activities of Private Foundations or Research or Educational Institutes among others. Certain conditions are to be met to comply with OFAC General License requirements for each category of USA Cuba travel though.

The mission of your organization and the objective of your trip to Cuba determine under what general license you can travel to Cuba legally. In general, most trips should consist of a full-time schedule of activities intended to promote the exchange with the ordinary citizens of Cuba. This full-time schedule must also include educational activities that result in meaningful interaction in between U.S and Cuban nationals. Free time in excess or regular tourists' activities are not permitted.

We take care of all details both in North America and in Cuba, including VISA and flight arrangements to Cuba's main destinations via USA ports (Miami, Tampa, New York, Los Angeles, or other) or through third countries like Canada and Mexico. Authorized US organizations can travel through a third country subject to the same restrictions and requirements as those flying directly from USA.

At Authentic Cuba Travel®, we have been organizing such educational and cultural travel experiences from the United States of America for years with great success.

Not a photography professional? Go to Cuba legally from USA

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  • Photography Cuba Travel Highlights:

    • Professional Research General License Documentation.
    • Full-Time Schedule of Professional Research Activities.
    • Explore Havana Historical Centre, a UNESCO Heritage Site.
    • Travel to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vinales Valley.
    • Guided tour of Cienfuegos city, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Guided tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinidad.
    • Discover the natural beauty of Topes de Collantes National Park.
    • Photograph the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sugar Mill Valley.
    • Private visit to the studios of renowned Cuban photographers.
    • Review Cuba's Photographic Patrimony at Fototeca de Cuba.
    • Tour of the Cuba's National Art Schools (Photography Workshop).
    • Guided tour of the Museum of Fine Arts' Cuban Collection.
    • Explore Cuba's famous tobacco farms in Pinar del Rio.
    • Visit to Hamel alleyway, a picturesque street in Centro Habana.
    • Meet Cuban young artists at the Experimental Printing Workshop.
    • Visit most prestigious Cuban photography institutions.


    Photography Professionals, Wildlife and Nature Photographers, Travel and Photojournalist Photographers, Photography Teachers and Students from USA interested in conducting professional research on Cuba’s Photography industry can travel to Cuba under the provisions of the General License for Professional Research.

    CATEGORY: General license for Professional Research and Professional Meetings- 31 C.F.R. § 515.564(a)(1) of the current Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations.

    The travel- related transactions set forth in § 515.560(c) and such additional transactions as are directly incident to professional research are authorized, provided that:

    (i) The purpose of the research directly relates to the traveler’s profession, professional background, or area of expertise, including area of graduate-level full-time study;

    (ii) The traveler does not engage in recreational travel, tourist travel, travel in pursuit of a hobby, or research for personal satisfaction only; and

    (iii) The traveler’s schedule of activities does not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule of professional research.

    We provide our US travelers with all the required documentation to ensure they are in compliance with 2022 Biden administration’s rules on Cuba travel under the US Cuba Travel category: Professional Research and Professional Meetings. US travelers can choose to depart to Cuba from any US port of their choosing.

    Vinales Valley, UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cuba. An unusual blend of interesting geology and history make Viñales a fascinating place to photograph. From caves to ancient pictographs to a giant modern mural in tribute to its prehistoric origins, you’ll find plenty of camera worthy subjects. It is also home to an authentic Cuba tradition of tobacco farming.
    Cuban Photographers.The father and son team of Osvaldo and Roberto Salas have also been extremely important to the photo documentation of Cuba’s modern era. Osvaldo headed up the photographic department at the newspaper Revolucion, while Roberto personally documented Fidel Castro’s transition from a youthful revolutionary in the 1950s into an elder world leader in the 21st century. The Cuba Travel experience wouldn’t be completed without some exposure to the historical aspects of Cuban photography.
    Photography Cuba Tours, Korda.For such a small island, Cuba has produced a number of internationally recognized photo- graphers such as Alberto Diaz Guiterrez, usually known by the single name, Korda. He created the iconic image of Che Guevara that is recognized around the world. We will learn about it and see originals during the visit to Fototeca as part of our Cuba Tours.
    Authentic Cuba Travel®, Cuba Trips for US Photogreaphers Rene Pena is a self-taught photographer who makes his home in Cerro, a neighborhood of Havana that was once home to Havana’s wealthy and that now is an African Caribbean neighbor- hood of far more modest means. Rene Pena is a photographer who explores complex themes of identity, particularly as related to race.
    Trinidad, UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cuba. The historical center of Trinidad was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988 because its red-tiled roofed, pastel colored buildings have survived since the era of Cuban slavery. When the slave trade was abolished in the middle of the 19th century, the city saw little activity, thus preserving its authentic Cuba heritage.
    Photography Cuba Tours to the Valley of the Sugar Mills. Authentic Cuba Travel® will also take you to exploreValle de los Ingenios, known as Sugar Mill Valley in English, is actually a series of valleys where once more than fifty mills processed the sugar cane coming from Cuba’s sugar plantations. At their height, more than 30,000 slaves of African heritage kept the mills operating. Both the structures still intact, as well as the ruins, make for interesting photographs.
    Topes de Collantes National Park in the Escambray mountains in Central Cuba. For the Cuba Explorer, brilliantly colored birds, exotic plants, mysterious grottos, and gorgeous cascading waters make the trip up into the Escambray Mountains worthwhile for any photographer who enjoys nature. And in the village, you can get a cup of locally grown, authentic Cuba coffee!
    Day 1: Saturday, 5 April, 2025:
    “Hello Cuba!”
    After your arrival at Jose Marti International Airport, you’ll begin your Cuba Photography Adventure with a brief bus ride to your Luxury Casa Particular.

    Your Authentic Cuba Travel® guide will facilitate the group check-in at this lovely facility in the heart of the vibrant, Vedado Neighborhood.

    Between 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. an included breakfast is served at your Casa Particular.
    Day 2: Sunday, 6 April, 2025:
    UNESCO World Heritage Site, Viñales Valley
    Morning: Your photographic Cuba travel experience will begin right away with a day trip to Vinales Valley. Visually striking, the valley contains a number of unusual geological features including caverns and magotes—rocky hills with cliff-like sides and domed tops.

    After meeting with traditional tobacco farmers in the valley, your Cuba travel will make a stop at the “Mural de la Prehistoria.” Leovigildo Morillos painted this giant mural on the side of a magote in the early 1960s.

    Our tours to Cuba for Americans feature a delicious traditional lunch at the privately-owned bar-restaurant Paladar Yuri & Nino, El Campesino. Yuri is a young woman entrepreneur who started this small restaurant that has expanded into a large establishment. Yuri and her family work hard to create delicious and plentiful food that comes with a beautiful mountain view.

    After lunch, your Cuba journey will continue with a fascinating boat ride through Cueva del Indio on its underground stream. Part of a massive system of caverns, the caves were used by early Amerindians—as evidenced by cave painting—and as a hiding place for African slaves escaping their Spanish masters.

    During the afternoon you’ll have time to wander Viñales town and to photograph its quaint small houses and local church, take-in the handicraft market or Viñales’ famous cigar shop, or just enjoy snapping the world as it strolls by your lens.

    Return to your private rental accomodation.

    Evening: After refreshing yourself at the hotel, Authentic Cuba Travel® suggests visiting Club La Zorra y El Cuervo. It’s a must-do for jazz enthusiasts and a great way for anyone who enjoys music to experience the jazz stylings of authentic Cuba. (Not included.)
    Day 3: Monday, 7 April 2025:
    Experience Old and New Havana- Real Cuba
    Morning: Day three of your Cuba tour begins with an introduction by Dr. Miguel Coyula, a leading urban planner responsible for overseeing Havana’s development. Dr. Coyula, a thoughtful and informative tour guide, will explain Havana’s architectural history and the efforts underway to preserve its heritage while meeting modern needs. A Scale Model of Old Havana will help you visualize how the city has expanded and transformed.

    We’ll continue our Cuba journey overview with a motor coach tour through various sections of Havana City. You’ll see modern construction and public art in places like the Square of Revolution and the University of Havana, as well as contrasting, traditional, buildings and monuments like the Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón.

    Lunch: a new wave of paladares (privately-owned restaurants) has recently swept the Cuban dining scene offering excellent food and charming ambient. Today we’ll enjoy a lunch at the stylish Paladar San Cristobal, one of Havana's top ten private restaurants.

    Afternoon: Get your cameras ready as your authentic Cuba tour continues with a walk through Old Havana. This UNESCO World Heritage Site provides ample opportunity to take some great photos as you stroll through ‘Habana Vieja’s’ historic squares.

    From the Square of Arms where the Spanish colonial forces conducted their drills, to the monumental, baroque Cathedral that gives Cathedral Square its name, you’ll be treated to people watching, colonial architecture, and a pace of life that can only be described as authentic Cuba.

    You’ll have the chance to see the magnificent restoration work that has been done on buildings like the 16th century, Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a Spanish fortress complete with a water-filled moat.

    Another visual treat will be a stop in to observe the young lithographers making prints at the Taller Experimental de Gráfica.

    Your Cuba cultural tour of Old Havana will continue past rambling little side streets into the Square of San Francisco and then to Plaza Vieja, the crossroads of Old Havana featuring a mix of architecture varying from art nouveau to baroque.

    The final stop of the day includes a chance to both shop and take photographs in Old Havana’s delightful handicraft market. You’ll find handmade pottery, jewelry and leather goods, authentic Cuba clothing, and fanciful paper maché.

    Return to your private rental accomodation.

    Tonight there will be the chance to shoot photographs while soldiers in 18th century costumes shoot cannons! Making the short journey across the harbor with your Authentic Cuba Tours guide, you’ll get a taste of a popular tradition, as well as a stellar view of Havana, at the “Fire of the Cannon of 9 O'Clock.”
    Day 4: Tuesday, 8 April 2025:
    Art and Photography in the Cuban Capital
    Morning: Returning to Plaza Vieja, you’ll be immersed in Cuban photography at the Fototeca de Cuba, a preeminent archive, museum, and exhibition space.

    During your visit, you’ll have a chance to view the permanent and rotating photographic exhibitions, as well as talk to the staff about their ongoing projects to study, preserve and exhibit the photographic legacy of the authentic Cuba.

    On our way to lunch, there will be a wonderful photographic opportunity at Callejon de Hamel, an innovative and imaginative community art installation. Using entire buildings as canvases, Salvador Gonzales grounds his fantastic paintings and mesmerizing sculptures in themes taken from Afro-Cuban legend. Mr. Gonzales will also be present to meet with the Authentic Cuba photo tour to discuss the impact of community art.

    Lunch: Our midday meal today will include a little food for the soul as we visit the residence and workplace of one of Cuba’s most original and well-known artists. Our luncheon host, Jose Fuster, works in a variety of mediums and is a wonderful ambassador for Cuban culture.

    Afternoon: Our Cuba cultural agenda this afternoon offers an intimate look into the world of some established photographers as well as a glimpse of Cuba’s photographic future.

    With studio visits to well-known contemporary photographers like Juan Carlos Alom and Rene Pena as well as up and coming artists, you’ll have a rare chance to interact photographer to photographer.

    Return to your private rental accomodation.

    Evening: Tonight the Cuba photography trip will attend a reception at the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, a non-governmental, non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of Cuban art. Working to create Cuba cultural bridges to other countries, LFC encourages international dialogue.
    Day 5: Wednesday, 9 April 2025:
    En Route to Trinidad
    Morning: Cuba explorer tours Cienfuegos City en route to Trinidad. Cienfuegos is not a large city, but it is home to one of the busiest harbors on the island.

    You’ll have an excellent view of the bay from Palacio de Valle, an opulent, early 20th century home. Originally built for a wealthy sugar merchant, it presents a strikingly eclectic blend of European and Moorish architectural features and has three towers in three distinct architectural styles.

    Lunch is included at Paladar Ache, one of Cienfuegos top ten private restaurants, serving local specialties in a pleasant courtyard.

    Afternoon: After lunch, it’s time for a walking tour and a chance to photograph this stunning World Heritage Site. Your Authentic Cuba odyssey continues with a stroll through the old city, a fabulous example of early urban planning.

    Singled out by UNESCO for its extensive and well-preserved Neo-classical architecture, Cienfuegos boasts 333 structures built in the 19th century or earlier. Cienfuegos is also home to the Paseo de Prado, the longest tree-lined boulevard on the island.

    Known as “The Pearl of the South,” Cienfuegos offers much to please the photographer’s eye including gorgeous domed buildings, an asymmetrical Cathedral with stunning stained glass, and the Tomas Terry Theater, a national monument with an excellent ceiling fresco and its original, wooden, theater seats.

    Before departing Cienfuegos, we’ll stop at Galleria de Arte Maroya located on the main city park. Featuring a variety of work by local artists and artisans, the gallery is especially known for Fidel Lopez’s handmade replicas of Spanish galleons.

    Now we journey on to the historic city of Trinidad and check in at your Luxury Casa Particular. You'll have time for dinner and a swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
    Day 6: Thursday, 10 April, 2025 UNESCO Sites:
    Trinidad & The Valley of Sugar Mills
    Morning: You’ll hardly believe you are still in the 21st century as you spend your morning on a guided cultural tour of Trinidad.

    You can take plenty of photographs as you walk the streets, visit museums located in historic buildings, and stop at a lookout tower for a breathtaking view of the Sugar Mill Valley.

    One unusual stop is the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos, a historical museum housed in a former convent. Dedicated to the struggle against mountain-based counterrevolutionaries, part of an American U2 spy plane brought down over Cuba is also exhibited.

    Before lunch we’ll also stop to visit a local family of artisans who have been making handmade pottery for more than 100 years. The Santander Family definitely represents the best of authentic Cuba.

    Lunch at Solananda Paladar.

    Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon and evening on your own to relax, swim, walk the beach, explore the nooks of Trinidad and, of course, take photographs.

    For a lively musical outing and a chance to do a little dancing, head over to the Casa de la Música. At 10pm you can join with locals on its sweeping staircase for a salsa show. Full salsa concerts are also held in the rear courtyard for a small cover charge.
    Day 7: Friday, 11 April 2025 National Park Visit:
    Topes de Collantes. Cuba Bella!
    Morning: Today’s adventure includes a short trip into the Escambray Mountains via Russian army trucks, worthy of their own photographs!

    While the south face of the mountains is rather dry, the north facing side of the mountains is home to a wide variety of trees and lush tropical plants.

    Lunch: We’ll have an authentic Cuba luncheon at Hacienda Codina. An old Spanish estate, it’s home to numerous species of orchids, medicinal mud baths and gardens, and a cave with a secret passage leading to a spectacular view of Trinidad.

    Topes de Collantes offers the chance to take wonderful nature walks during which you may spy—and photograph—the Butterfly Lily, Cuba’ national flower, the Cuban Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, Cuba’s national bird, or some of Cuba’s particular species of hummingbirds.

    Afternoon: Return to Havana City and check back into your high-end Casa Particular.
    Day 8: Saturday, 12 April 2025
    Buen viaje!
    Your Cuba photography tour ends with a morning transfer to Jose Marti International Airport.

    Want to Take Your Students to Cuba?

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