Join Us On:

Cuba: Havana, Vinales & Trinidad: February 25 - March 6, 2018

Overview

Jim Cline will be leading this cultural exchange trip and, with 19 years of experience traveling in Cuba, he is ideally suited to show participants the varied and unique sights and experiences Cuba has to offer. Join us on this extraordinary adventure where we'll visit the best that Cuba has to offer!  Check out the itinerary for details.

This trip is not yet released and cost is not available at this time. Click “Interest” tab above to add your name to the list and you will receive email notification.


Itinerary Cuba: Havana, Vinales & Trinidad
Day 1:
(Feb 25)

(Feb 25) We’ll take our flight from Miami to Havana, and after passing through Customs go for lunch.  We’ll check into our hotel, then go for a photo walk in Centro Habana and to the malecon, the miles long sea-walk, for sunset and the last light through twilight time. We’ll witness the classic American cars as they rumble past the old buildings, and the sunset and fishermen on the seawall. We’ll spend the night in Havana. 

Day 2:

Walking in Old Havana with our guide in morning, learning the history of the city, and meeting every-day Cubans along the way. We will witness firsthand some of the privately owned small businesses springing up since the easing of the laws against such ownership in 2011. In the afternoon we’ll take an excursion to Revolution Square, the famous Hotel Nacional, and the El Morro fort, which guards the entrance to the harbor. We’ll spend the night in Havana. 

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Day 3:

In Havana we’ll have an optional early morning photo walk. Later in the morning we’ll visit a boxing gym where some of the top boxers in Cuba train. After lunch, we visit more of Old Havana, and perhaps photograph a dance performance. In the late afternoon, we’ll meet at the malecon for sunset time and then walk through the streets of Centro Havana as the light changes to dark, to a restaurant for dinner. We’ll spend the night in Havana. 

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Day 4:

In the morning we’ll go with a Cuban photographer for a model shoot in a gorgeous old mansion. In the afternoon there will be free time for optional activities and dinner on your own. That evening we will have an optional excursion to the famous Tropicana floor show. 

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Day 5:

In the morning we’ll drive from Havana to Vinales, arrive for lunch at a private restaurant with an amazing view over the Vinales Valley with its dramatic limestone cliffs, or mogotes. We’ll make stop at a tobacco farm, and get a cigar rolling demonstration, check in to our hotel and have the late afternoon to meet the locals in the town, through sunset time. We’ll spend the night in Vinales. 

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Day 6:

We’ll get up early and visit tobacco farmers and photograph them in the morning light. We’ll have lunch at a beautiful restaurant where all of their organic vegetables are grown in their adjacent farm. In the afternoon we’ll visit more farmers and photograph them in and around their homes and barns. They will invite us into their homes, where we will learn about their daily lives. We’ll have dinner at a tobacco farmer family “restaurant”. We'll spend the night in Vinales. 

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Day 7:

We'll drive from Vinales to Trinidad, with a lunch stop on the way, arriving in time for the last light in the colonial town. We’ll check into our rooms in private homes in the historic city center. We’ll have dinner in a private restaurant, or paladar. We’ll spend the night in Trinidad. 

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Day 8:

We'll have a morning walk with a local photographer from Trinidad. We’ll spend the day in and around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad, meeting the local people and learning about their lives. We may visit local ranchers and farmers, watching the colorful cowboys, and having lunch at a farmhouse. We will get a look inside the homes of many Cubans. Free time to wander the streets and photograph in the afternoon. Dinner will be on your own, then go to the colonial home of a Trinidad photographer for image sharing. We’ll spend the night in Trinidad. 

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Day 9:

We’ll have the whole time to photograph in the colonial gem of Trinidad, some time with the group, and some of the time on your own. That evening you may visit one or more of the thriving live music venues in the center including the famous outdoor Casa de Musica. We'll spend the night in Trinidad. 

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Day 10:

After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Cienfuegos or Santa Clara for your flights home. 

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Leaders

Jim Cline

Jim Cline

Jim Cline, (founder and trip leader), is an award-winning cultural documentary and travel photographer based in San Diego, California. Jim is known for his willingness to shoot all around the edges of light, creating images with tremendous impact that capture the essence of a place or culture. He always strives to transcend ordinary travel pictures, and to convey a strong sense of place, and the spirit of the people in his photographs.

Jim’s wanderlust and search for compelling images has brought him to many less-traveled areas around the world. He takes particular interest in the indigenous peoples and traditional and tribal cultures of developing nations, and in documenting these disappearing cultures. Through his images he strives to portray the dignity and timeless beauty of these people living in harmony with nature.

As well as winning numerous awards, Jim’s work has been displayed in the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Museum of Photographic Arts, and in many galleries, both in the U.S. and abroad. He gives frequent slide presentation lectures of his travels throughout the world. Jim and his photographs have been featured in several books. His images have also been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, annual reports, tourist brochures, calendars, websites, and CD covers. Jim founded Jim Cline Photo Tours in 2002 and he currently leads small-group photo tours to various locations around Latin America.  

When not busy running his Photo tours business and leading trips to the best photographic locations in Latin America, Jim works on assignment as a photographer for humanitarian organizations. His images have graced the covers of annual reports  for groups such as Freedom From Hunger, and have appeared on websites, brochures, postcards and other mediums promoting their efforts around the globe.


E-mail:  Jim@jimcline.com
Phone: 858-350-1314
Mob. phone: 858-692-2045

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T&Cs

Price includes: Roundtrip airport transfers, all 10 nights’ accommodations (5 nights in hotels and 5 nights in private homes and B&B's in Trinidad and Vinales), all transportation in large size bus, transport in classic American cars one day, English speaking guides and local photographers, all entry fees to tourist sites, major tips to boxing gyms, dance companies, and models, drinking water, all breakfasts and 10 lunches or dinners. 

Price does not include: International airfare to/from Havana, Cuba Visa, health insurance, meals not included in itinerary, tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, expenses of a personal nature such as telephone and internet fees, laundry, etc.   

Deposit and Final Payment:  A deposit of $800 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Cancellation:   On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee and less any monies spent on participant’s behalf such as airline or other tickets.

Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
Less than 75 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.

Notification by phone or email is acceptable, but please follow with written notice. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour, a full refund will be given.

RESPONSIBILITY

These trips will be run in compliance with the current U.S. Treasury Department OFAC guidelines for the general license for educational people-to-people cultural exchange. All participants are responsible to read, understand, and follow these guidelines (will be provided).

Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC, and their agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change. All participants are required to submit a signed Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability form prior to the tour’s departure.

HEALTH

It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.

TRIP INSURANCE

To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

ITINERARY

While Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, ocean or trail conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.

Country Info

Cuba

Cuba

Health Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.  The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Money:   Currency exchange rates    

The situation regarding Cuban currency is always changing. At the moment, you can use US dollars, the Euro and the Canadian Dollar in major hotels or around the city.   There are two currencies used locally:  The Convertible Peso known as the CUC, is legal tender for tourists and Cubans.   Secondly, there is Cuban National pesos used by the Cuban people but are also legal for use by tourists.  Tourists are allowed to exchange their CUCs for Cuban National pesos at official CADECAS.

As for shopping, it is important to realize the United States maintains a broad embargo against Cuba, and most commercial imports from Cuba are prohibited by law.       

Electricity Converters & Adapters required

Visa ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS as of 4/2015:  A valid passport is required for entry into Cuba and the Cuban government may also require that the traveler obtain a visa.  The Cuban Interests Section in Washington issues visas.  Also note that Cuba requires visitors to have non-U.S. medical insurance, and sells a temporary policy to those who do not have it.

 

United States Rules and Regulations for people-to-people travel

From United States Federal Register  Vol. 80, No. 11   January 16, 2015  

extracted from here.  

515.565 (b) General license for people-to-people travel.

The travel-related transactions set forth in 515.560(c) and such additional transactions as are directly incident to educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program are authorized, provided that:

(1) The exchanges take place under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact;

(2) Travel-related transactions pursuant to this authorization must be for the purpose of engaging, while in Cuba, in a full-time schedule of activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities;

(3) Each traveler has a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba;

(4) An employee, paid consultant, or agent of the sponsoring organization accompanies each group traveling to Cuba to ensure that each traveler has a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities; and

(5) The predominant portion of the activities engaged in by individual travelers is not with individuals or entities acting for or on behalf of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, as defined in 31 CFR 515.337 of this part, or a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, as defined in 31 CFR 515.338 of this part.

Example to 515.565(b): An organization wishes to sponsor and organize educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program for individuals to learn side-by-side with Cuban individuals in areas such as environmental protection or the arts. The travelers will have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba. The organization’s activities qualify for the general license.

Note to  515.565(b): An organization that sponsors and organizes trips to Cuba in which travelers engage in individually selected and/or self-directed activities would not qualify for the general license. Authorized trips are expected to be led by the organization and to have a full-time schedule of activities in which he travelers will participate.

Note to  515.565(a) and (b): Each person relying on the general authorizations in these paragraphs, including entities sponsoring travel pursuant to the authorization in 515.565(b), must retain specific records related to the authorized travel transactions. 

(c) Transactions related to activities that are primarily tourist-oriented, including self-directed educational activities that are intended only for personal enrichment, are not authorized pursuant to this section.

(d) Specific licenses. Specific licenses may be issued on a case-by-case basis authorizing the travel-related transactions set forth in  515.560(c) and such other transactions as are related to educational activities that do not qualify for the general licenses under paragraph (a) or (b) of this section.

FAQs

What is the process to obtain the required visa and medical insurance for Cuba? As of May 2015, Cuba visa and health insurance are issued by the airline that will be providing the transportation to Cuba. As the group will be travelling together to Havana, we will let you know what we need from you, when the time comes, in order for you to obtain both items.
Concerning photo equipment to maximize the photo opps on this tour, what is suggested? A digital SLR (or Micro 4/3) camera with lenses offering a focal length from wide (24mm or wider) to telephoto (100mm or longer), a circular polarizing filter for scenic shots, and a laptop or notebook computer running image viewing software. Additionally we strongly recommend a back-up device such as a portable external hard drive.
What is the nature of this trip in relation to new U.S guidelines for Cuban travel? This trip will be run in compliance with the current U.S. Treasury Department OFAC guidelines for the general license for educational people-to-people cultural exchange. All participants are responsible to read, understand, and follow these guidelines (will be provided). For much more information visit: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/cuba.aspx
What are the new United State regulations pertaining to People to People programs? Details can be viewed by clicking the 'country info' tab (above). Regulations are at the bottom of that web page.
Packing Ideas
Testimonials

We take pride in our trip testimonials. We hope you’ll take a moment to read those below written by previous participants of this tour.  

 

"If your focus is street photography or photographing people, find a tour leader who has or is good at developing personal relationships with locals. For example, I went with Jim Cline Photo Tours on my recent trip to Cuba.  Jim was comfortable speaking with people we met on the street. He had relationships with locals throughout the trip, some very long term. He literally opened doors for all of us, into people's homes, and all the families we met were great. I was much more comfortable talking to people, and taking their photographs, following his lead. Jim also had local photographers join our group to provide support, which added greater depth to our experiences. Jim led a great photo trip, providing me the opportunity to take some good photos."  -Susan K. 2016

 

“Thank you so much, Jim, for this wonderful experience. I give you an A+.  Couldn’t have asked for anything better.  All your planning and hard work in preparation for leading this trip was well worth it.  I loved so many things about the trip—the friendliness of the Cuban people and their hospitality, the camaraderie of our group, the free time and freedom to wander and explore, the wealth of people, places and things to photograph, the live music everywhere, sitting on the patio at (the tobacco farmer’s) house drinking rum and smoking cigars—pure bliss, Terrific experience.  You were absolutely the best!!!   And very helpful.  It was a great trip.  Thank you so much, Jim, for all your work in arranging it and being our leader.  Thanks again for a terrific trip and for the group photos.”  -Sing B. 

 

 “The trip to Cuba was truly an amazing experience. I am so glad to have visited at this time.  Thanks again for a great trip!”  -Heidi R.

 

“Cuba was wonderful and I'm ready to head back again.  I really was blown away by how warm and welcoming the people were.  Thanks so much for all the hard work you put into the Cuba trip, and creating a wonderful adventure for us."  -Sharon G.

 

“Thanks for putting a wonderful trip together, it exceeded all of my expectations. What wonderful memories, I have had my music on ALL day!!!!!  I don't think I will ever enjoy a trip more, the trip which was absolutely amazing. For me, it will set the bar for any trip I take in the future. Photographically I don't think any trip any place will be as satisfying. You did an amazing job of coordinating it. You put a lot of yourself in this trip and it was very obvious. I hope all your subsequent trips are as successful as this one. You will certainly see me again. Thanks for EVERYTHING!!!!”  -Gini P.

 

“Jim, thank you for such a wonderful experience!!!!  You were the best leader I have ever had.  I loved the spontaneity of your actions and responses to the unpredictable adventures during the trip.  Yes, you were very attentive to my needs, which were few.  I just loved being a part of the group. Yes, I would recommend this trip to my friends I thought it was very personal.  It was planned in such a way that we were able to interact with the Cuban people, experience the countryside as well as the city and small towns. What I most enjoyed about the trip: Experiencing the people, music, and country of Cuba. There were no disappointments on this trip.  I know that each group will present you with new challenges, please do not change the spontaneity of your responses and actions. It made for a most exciting and unique experience. I look forward to Cuba 2.  Please put me on the waiting list.”  -Bestina C.

 

“What an impressive and exciting trip!  It was so special to go to Cuba since most Americans do not get the opportunity to experience the beautiful country, learn about the history, and visit the gracious people.  All of the restaurants were wonderful with great music.  Jim is always very polite, cheerful and a pleasure to be around. You always try to accommodate everyone’s suggestions. He did a wonderful job arranging things.  Meeting the people and learning about their lifestyles was very informative. I found the Cuban people to be happy – and everyone seemed so excited that we were Americans.  The biggest thrill was seeing all of the 1950’s cars.  My family loved the fact that I smoked a Cuban cigar, since I don’t smoke.  But joining in added to the fun.  I enjoyed everything on the trip (and all of the other ones).  I have always recommended your trips to friends and strangers alike.  They are all great trips providing more specialized and individual commitment from you and Karl.  I know from our business it takes a lot of behind the scene dedication, investing a lot of time and work for the final product and/or service.  Thanks again and know that you did an outstanding job on the trip. I know you put in a lot of hard work and time to make it successful.  I’ve always gotten more than my money’s worth.”  -Robbie H.

 

“Thanks for your hard work Jim.  The trip was fabulous, it was a very good value.   It was a small group and expertly organized.   You were perfect  Jim, this was a trip of a life time for me.”  -Claude L.

 

“Jim, you were what a leader should be.  If I had a question you know the answer or know someone who did. The trip was a new adventure which was more than I expected.  It was colorful and lively and the people (Cubans) were great to visit with and cooperative for photos, etc.  A GREAT TRIP, thanks!”  -Bob M. 

 

“This trip was the most fun I’ve had in years!  I’d do it again in a heartbeat if you were the professional and had the same cast of characters. I fear disappointment on future trips because this one was so good. You were not only attentive but concerned about our welfare, desires, etc.  I’ve traveled a lot solo, and the addition of your personality and attentiveness was welcomed.  The trip blended a great combination of photographic opportunities of varied interest points with enough information on the country to which few Americans have traveled.  The situations created through your efforts to provide and to make us aware of the eager nature of the people to be photographed was unique to me and a high point of the trip.  Thanks for all your help and support.”  -Phil P.

 

“Cuba was a great trip and great time. Thanks so much for putting together another quality trip.  Yours are so good I don't even want to try any others until I've done all of yours.  You were great as always, Jim.  I really enjoy your casual attitude and your thorough preparation and your patience with photographers with Attention Deficit Disorder.  You are easy to be with, helpful, and your enthusiasm for the place and people is contagious.  The trip was a good value and yes I would recommend your trips to all photographers.  I like the small groups, your shooting locations and the opportunity for emersion into the local culture.  Who else could arrange mojitos, and cigars on Paco’s porch as well as dinner at his kitchen table? Great experience Jim!”  -Terri H.

 

“For me this truly was the trip of a lifetime----I loved it!  Thanks so much for everything!!!!  I truly appreciate you marvelous attitude and way with people!  This trip was such an amazing opportunity for me.  I have already recommended it---and numerous times.”   -Ann T. 


“Thanks for the great tour.  Great images. great people,  great country, our Fearless Leader, what else is there?  Looking forward to Cuba 2.”  -Ron L. 

 

“Thank you for putting together a very memorable trip. We appreciated the variety of locations you chose and the opportunity to meet with the friends that you have cultivated. It was a well-rounded trip, so there were a lot of things that combined to make the trip a great one. We loved the people, the music, the old cars, the architecture, the tour directors, and our fellow companions. We enjoyed it immensely. Thanks again for a wonderful trip!”  -Ned & Sara B. 

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