Herzen Cortes
Photo Xpeditions
+1 888-741-3974 

When: January 30-Februrary 7, 2016

Where: Eastern Cuba (Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Baracoa, Gibara, Camaguey)

Join My Mailing List


Price: $5,995 Per Person Double Occupancy. For Single Accommodations add $495 USD.

About the Instructors:

Magdalena Sole is a social documentary photographer. She is best known for her vibrant and complex color work. Visual language has been her life’s work. In 1989 she founded TransImage, a graphic design studio, in New York City. In 2002 she graduated with a Masters of Fine Art in Film from Columbia University. Her last film, “Man On Wire”, on which she was the Unit Production Manager, won an Oscar in 2009. She has taught in Europe and the US.

Her projects span the globe. Her current work includes: Kamagasaki — a photo documentary on the shunned elderly day laborers of Japan. Japan — “After the Water Receded”, an exploration of the aftermath of the great 2011 Tohoku disaster, which was shown at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery in April 2012 in New York City. Most recently her photographs of the Mississippi Delta have been selected as a PDN Photo Annual 2011 Finalist. Born in Spain, raised in Switzerland, she arrived in New York City in 1984, where she lives with her family. She speaks seven languages. For more information on Magdalena visit her site at:

Luis Alarcón Is a Spanish photographer with an infinite passion for Cuba. As an avid street and travel photographer Luis's work in Cuba spans more than 17 years during which he has traveled to every corner of this beautiful and unexplored country.

Luis focuses on showing the most authentic and off the beaten path Cuba and its people to all students, travelers and photographers alike.

Luis has created and manages one of the biggest Youtube video channel showcasing videos on Cuba, its' people and its' culture. For more information on Luis, visit his site at: (in Spanish) you can also visit his video channel at:




Embark on a Photographic Journey Back in Time on an Artfully Crafted Itinerary Exploring Cuba's Far East

January 30-February 7, 2016

Join Magdalena Sole & Luis Alarcón in this exclusive opportunity to photograph the many faces of Cuban culture. Visit and interact with the People of Cuba. Experience the arts, music, history, daily life, and all that Cuba has to offer. This island is a photographer's dream! Change is stirring in a country that appeared to be frozen in time Photograph Cuba in this unique moment of transition.


Crumbling colonial buildings, thatched fishing villages and pine-covered peaks that sweep down to the sea – Cuba is a treat for photographers.  And thanks to this island nation's year-round sunshine, life happens outdoors: stoops fill like grandstands, alleys act as baseball diamonds for children, plazas are musicians’ stages and national parks as biological playgrounds. As relations gradually ease with the US, Cuba is on the brink of a shift that will likely see it utterly changed within the next decade. For now, however, the island remains wholly unique: stunted but undoubtedly stunning.

Yet for all its camera-ready qualities, photographing Cuba isn’t without its challenges. Guiding photographers through the technical, practical and artistic processes during this workshop is Magdalena Sole, an award-winning social documentary photographer whose past projects have covered such diverse subjects as the aging day laborers of Kamagasaki, Osaka and the communities of the Mississippi Delta. Joining Sole on the workshop is photographer Luis Alarcon, who specializes in introducing guests to an authentic Cuba away from tourism.

Luis Alarcón & Magdalena in Cuba


Day 1: Miami – Santiago

Today the group departs from Miami to Santiago  on a charter flight in the early morning. The workshop begins in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second city. Here, you’ll wander the colonial center and visit the 16th-century home of Spanish conqueror Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. Sip coffee and watch life unfold on a central square, Parque Céspedes, then admire views over the bay from Balcón de Velázquez lookout. 

A mid-day boat ride will bring you out to the speck-sized Granma Island, where you can mingle with the tight-knit island community, who are still recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy. Back on the mainland, investigate the bullet-scarred Moncada Barracks, where in July, 1953, a young Fidel Castro led his failed coup. In the afternoon check into your hotel and later enjoy dinner at beautiful colonial Casa Grande Hotel. (L,D)

Day 2: Santiago de Cuba

Head out onto the Santiago streets to further explore the city. Join locals at the farmers’ market, stroll through El Tivoli, where peeling houses exude a weathered colonial charm, and point your viewfinder onto the sun-bleached tombstones of Cementerio Santa Ifigenia.

Photograph the deteriorating mansions of the Vista Alegre district, where the wealthy pre-revolutionary elite would once have lived. You’ll also browse the exhibits at the Museo de las Religiones Populares, where you can learn about Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion borne out of the slave trade. During your down time, you may want to experience the city’s music scene – unquestionably the best in the country. You’ll also have your first group meeting today, during which you can review your photography and set out your objectives for the workshop. (B,L)

Day 3: Santiago – Guantanamo – Baracoa

A scenic morning drive will include a stop-off in Guantánamo to find out about indigenous music at Casa de Changüí. Back on the road, we’ll skirt the coast and climb the La Farola mountain pass – a rising and plunging road hewn out of the mountains in 1965. Prior to this, Baracoa was only accessible by sea. 

Upon arrival in Baracoa, get acquainted with the town and the sparkling bay, forests and mountains that surround it. Bring your camera and try to capture the fading afternoon light. (B,D)

Day 4: Baracoa

On Day 4, our journey will take us East along the coast through the Túnel de los Alemanes (German tunnel) natural arch. We’ll emerge at Boca de Yumurí where the Yumurí River flows through a deep canyon into the Atlantic. After a boat ride through the canyon, we will continue on to the Playa Manglito beach and the remote village of La Maquina, where you’ll have the chance to chat with locals. You may want to bring along gifts – fishing equipment (hooks, lines etc.) will be particularly well-received.  

On the way back to Baracoa, we’ll stop at a beautiful seaside village to photograph fishermen returning with their fresh catch at sunset. (B)

Day 5: Baracoa – Gibara

Leaving Baracoa, we’ll head to Rio Toa, Cuba’s biggest river. Trek along the banks and take to the water in a traditional cayuka boat. We’ll visit a cocoa farm and a coconut-processing factory as well as Playa Maguana, a glorious white-sand beach.

The journey continues to Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt. Toxic rocks have forced the plant and animal life in the park to adapt, resulting in unique species that can only be found in the lush rainforest and pristine bay here. You’ll also photograph the nearby mining town of Moa, whose harsh industrial cityscape is coated in a layer of red dust. The town is particularly eerie and mesmeric at sundown.

Finish up for the day at the remote coastal town of Gibara, where’ll you have free time to eat dinner, review and edit your pictures. (B,D)

Day 6:  Gibara - Camagüey

Spend the morning exploring and photographing Gibara, whose isolated setting has led to a stuck-in-the-past vibe. Early afternoon, our small bus will take us on a cross-country drive to Camagüey. Later in the day, you’ll take your camera around the historic inland city of Camagüey, weaving your way through the beautiful plazas and confusing zigzag streets, which were built to thwart marauding invaders. That evening, you’ll meet a local artist who creates leather jewelry and art. (B,D)

Day 7: Camagüey

Get to know Camagüey during a pedal-powered bici-taxi tour of the town, observe vendors peddling their wares at the Agro Farmers Market. You’ll also call into the music school, housed in an old leprosy hospital. You will also visit either the local art school, where you can meet students, or the Casanova potters’ studio, where you can check out pottery displays and talk to the ceramicists. That evening, you’ll have the option to listen to local musicians perform live. (B,D)

Day 8: Camagüey - King Ranch

Leaving the hotel, we’ll move on to the city’s peaceful cemetery and the surrounding flower shops, where colorful flowers and bouquets add vibrancy to the scene. Then it’s on to King Ranch to see a Cuban take on a Texan-style ranch and to watch a rodeo. Return to Camagüey for some last-minute photographing. If the time is right, you may even be able to catch a game of baseball, the darling sport of the Cuban nation. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Camagüey – Miami

Rise early for a last-minute photo opportunity as the sun breaks over the horizon and lights up the sky above the city. Later, transfer to the airport for the flight home. (B)


Price: $5,995 Per Person Double Occupancy. For Single Accommodations add $495 USD.

For registering to this workshop it is important to signup online to be able to get the full registration documents and forms (available upon signing up electronically). This trip is operated by OCJ (Other Cuban Journeys) and is subject to the terms and conditions specified in the registration documents.

Program Inclusions & Exclusions:

Program Inclusions:

  • Award Professional Guide & Group Manager.
  • Accomodations: 8 Nights / 9 Days in Cuba
  • Round Trip Air from Miami – Santiago and Camaguey -Miami
  • Hotel accommodations in Cuba
  • Tour leader who teaches photo technique
  • Meals of breakfast daily and others listed on itinerary
  • Opportunity to try privately owned Paladars and sample some of the best cuisine of Cuba
  • Land transportation in Cuba by a driver with many years of service
  • Services of an experienced Cuban, English speaking professional guide who has much knowledge of the Cuban community, politics, education, medical system, arts, economics, etc.
  • Entrance fees to the important cultural and historic sites
  • Medical insurance while in Cuba – this does not cover preexisting conditions
  • US airport departure tax
  • Cuban visa fee (if Cuban born, additional fees apply)
  • Gratuities to wait staff at included meals and bellboys in Cuba
Program Exclusions:
  • Trip cancellation insurance – highly recommended.  Cancellation for any reason prior to trip can cause you to lose all money paid.  
  • Domestic airfare to Miami
  • Excess baggage charges 

Important Note:

Trip licensed by Other Cuban Journeys, LLC. License No. CT-2014-306910-1  by the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which authorizes registered guests of our programs to legally travel to Cuba, to participate and engage in a full time schedule of authorized exchange activities in Cuba, which will involve meaningful interaction between our travellers and people in Cuba. Trip itineraries are subject to change due to factors outside of our control but if any changes need to take place, we will substitute with something just as interesting!