Whether you are amateur or professional photographers, we encourage you to enjoy an authentic trip to Cuba, a photographic safari to explore Cuba, customized by experts in the destination.
Cubans like Ira Kononenko, a young visual artist enthusiastic about travel and photography, who has given us some recommendations for CubaUnique travelers in the video that heads this post:
«In Cuba as a tropical country, there is a lot of sun and it affects vertically, which highlights the colors, but generates very contrasting shadows ... what you see here you will not see anywhere else. Personally, I prefer to photograph Cuba two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset, because the light falls sideways and shapes the objects. "
Exploring Cuba through the lensAs a travel agency specialized in Cuba as well as travel designers, we popose a different and special photographic safari around Cuba, which will include its most photogenic corners, the most impressive natural landscapes and the Cuban colonial cities that concentrate the greatest charm for the lens.
You can dive yourselves into parks and biosphere reserves where to photograph endemic birds and flowers; travel by boat through its mangrove ecosystems until reaching small unspoilt white-sand cays where to catch starfish with your hands and walk among iguanas and jutías. You will take a boat ride through rivers, lakes and lagoons to spot bird colonies and pink flamingos and you will go hiking to bathe in pools and waterfalls.
You will contact local farmers who cultivate tobacco farms and will show you their traditional techniques; you will visit old sugar estates and you will know the history of Cuba, and, above all, you will enjoy the company of expert guides and people who will show you the most human and warm side of this exciting island.
What route to do on a photographic safari?
The route to explore Cuba can be very varied, depending on the duration of the trip and also on the date you have chosen for your photographic safari to Cuba.
1 Photographic safari in western Cuba:
There are a lot of experiences you can live in the Cuban West, and even more if you are passionate about photography, because this area treasures landscapes and flora and fauna worthy of being photographed in provinces such as Pinar del Rio, Mayabeque and Matanzas; and of course, the architectural heritage of Havana.
Havana is a unique city suspended in time and impregnated with a suggestive magical realism. A unique and extremely picturesque city due to its contrasts, colors, styles and the way the sun hits its ancient buildings, both wrecked and mansions, impossible cars, lively streets, symbols, smiles...
In our guided tours around the Havana for photographers, we will put you in contact with visual artists who will share their creative methods and processes with you; you will visit galleries, both famous and underground, located in the artists' own homes; Professional photographers will accompany you to immortalize a sunset on the malecón of the Old Havana, and even Cubans daily life.
EXPLORE PINAR DEL RIO:One of our favorite destinations in this province is the Viñales Valley. There, you can take a walk or horse ride through the tobacco fields to immortalize the authenticity of its mogotes and the work of the peasants in the fields and the tobacco dryersThis is another experience that we will include in this photographic adventure trip to Cuba.
You will find a great place for nature lovers and a paradise for those who love to take photos in Guanahacabibes peninsula.. Its fauna is very rich. You can enjoy the flight of almost 200 species of birds.
If you decide to travel between May and September, you can live the unforgettable experience of sea turtle spawningFour of the seven surviving species of sea turtles have been found in the waters around the peninsula. To enjoy this process, you will be accompanied by a local guide to visit 9 beaches at night, where you will observe how these protected species perform nesting and birth.
In this westernmost part of the archipelago you can also photograph beautiful sunsets in María la Gorda, or venture diving to take underwater photographs of its colorful coral reef.
Next, we find, just 85 kilometers east of Havana, the small town of Bacunayagua, where you will discover breathtaking landscapes . You will be able to photograph the charms of this area of the Cuban north coast, which include crystal clear waters, rivers, caves, wild animals and much more.
EXPLORE MATANZAS:To close the tour of the western part of the island with a flourish, just 2 hours from Havana you will discover the province of Matanzas.
Abra de Canasí is another of those magical and unexplored spots that we love in Cuba to take excellent snapshots while you cross the river, go hiking, fish or explore one of its impressive caves.
You will also be able to photograph the sea of turquoise blue and golden and white sands, as the province is recognized for having one of the most popular beaches in Cuba, Varadero, considered as the best beaches in the Caribbean.
On its southern coast lies also the Zapata Peninsula, the largest wetland in Cuba and the Caribbean, which shelters more than 65 migratory species. Ideal for bird watching and cave diving, you will take impressive photographs of this ecosystem, which is one of the best preserved on the island. We recommend visiting it in winter from October to May, when migratory birds arrive at Las Salinas de Brito, a sanctuary for Cuban birds.
2 Photographic safari in the center of Cuba:
The central Cuban area offers a bit of everything for travelers who dare to explore it on a photographic trip. Provinces that speak for themselves as Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara will show themselves in all their splendor to your cameras.
In the elegant and neoclassical Cienfuegos we prepare interesting tours in horse carts through the historic center, along its busy boulevard and along the beautiful Bay of Punta Gorda.
The natural environments of the province of Cienfuegos are worth a stop, among these is the Parque Natural El Nicho, or Laguna Guanaroca; the latter is ideal to take pictures of pink flamingos colonies while on a boat ride. It is important to start the excursion very early, though!
EXPLORE TRINIDAD:Thanks to its geographical location, Trinidad is one of the most complete destinations in the province of Sancti Spiritus, as it treasures in addition to the beauty of its village, one of the most beautiful beaches in the south of the country (Playa Ancón) and interesting nature excursions.
Do not miss the opportunity to photograph the colorful colonial town of Trinidad, its labyrinthine streets, the weathered faces of its inhabitants, its architecture and other charms that your restless lenses will find.
A few minutes by car from Trinidad, you can totally change the vibes and delve into Tope de Collantes, a kind of tropical forest full of waterfalls, tocororos (Cuba's national bird), natural pools and other surprises in a hike excursion along Sendero de Vegas Grandes
If you dare to know in depth the history of slavery in Cuba and to enjoy beautiful landscapes of nature, you can visit the Valle de los Ingenios , to discover old sugar mills, and carry out this experience in the area of the old sugar cane plantations.
EXPLORE VILLA CLARA:This province is known mainly for its paradisiacal cays, as well as for its capital Santa Clara, where the Che Guevara remains rest.
You can combine a visit to the historic city of Santa Clara and the mausoleum of the mythical guerrilla, with a night in Remedios, one of the little colonial jewels of Cuba. If you visit it on December 16 to 24, you will have the privilege of attending the parrandas, a popular Cuban celebration, one of the most attractive and long-awaited.
And then we have a totally off the grid place away from all the most touristic circuits and an experience that all our travelers declare as unforgettable as it is a visit to the Lake Hanabanilla. The exuberance and beauty of its landscape of luminous greens, and the typical Creole food that the farmers of the area prepare will leave you speechless, and at the end you will have some catalog photos!
3 Photographic safari in the eastern Cuba:
The east of the island of Cuba is a special region: Camagüey, Holguín, Guantánamo and Santiago de Cuba show their exuberant nature, unspoiled natural areas, colonial cities full of charm and stories that go back to the times of the corsairs and pirates. Anyway ... ideal conditions to capture great photos!
EXPLORE HOLGUÍN:Holguín is one of the most interesting areas in the eastern region, due to its vegetation, flora and fauna, rich in local endemics. In the protected area of Parque Nacional La Mensura-Piloto, lies Salto del Guayabo, the highest waterfall in Cuba and the La Sabina trail.
We like to stop at its capital Holguín, and in the small, beautiful and captivating fishing village of Gibara to take a tour of the white village.
Its beaches are outstanding. Guardalavaca is one of our favorites, with its impressive coral reef, interesting cliffs and curious vegetation.
Cayo Saetía is a highly recommended destination, a small natural paradise accessed by catamaran which offers a fascinating landscape, with its surface covered by forests and wide meadows to go by jeep and photograph its exotic fauna.
At CubaUnique we love to propose Baracoa as a destination, as this city has unique natural attractions in Cuba and routes that are little explored or commercialized, which make it a paradise where you can enjoy its peace and incomparable beauty without feeling disturbed by mass tourism.
EXPLORE CAMAGUEY:Playa Santa Lucía, and take the most incredible and unexpected photos, as well as enjoy the iguanas in their own habitat in Cayo Ballenato del Medio.
EXPLORE SANTIAGO DE CUBA:Santiago de Cuba, with its carnivals, its hustle and bustle and its incessant music to the rhythm of son, is another destination that will smile kindly at your camera. Two of our travelers who spent a unique honeymoon in Cuba, told us that mountains in Sierra Maestra were the most unforgettable of their tour on a jeep-safari.
In the middle of the bay of Santiago we find Cayo Granma. A ferry ride to this beautiful island of fishermen, almost stopped in time, allows you to contemplate local life in one of the best ensembles of Cuban wooden architecture, and why not, between shots, try a delicious fresh lobster, caught and prepared by a local.
We can organize all kinds of customized photographic safaris to Cuba including the best recommendations according to the time of year you are interested in traveling.
So, whether you are a photography hobbyist or professional, if you are thinking of organizing a trip to Cuba, either to travel with your family, with your group of friends or with your classmates, with your couple or even in your honey moon, on your own or in one of our tailor made trips, don't miss any of our recommendations to travel to Cuba without complications and to know about the evolution of COVID-19 situation in Cuba.
We suggest some of our most popular organized tours and, if it is not what you were looking for, we will design your personalized trip.
Now you also know some of the most photographic corners of the island to start dreaming about your next trip to Cuba!
Article written by Gabriela Rodríguez, independent Cuban guide.
Video produced and edited by Javier Ernesto Hernández-López.
Photographs by Ira Kononenko and Javier Ernesto Hernández-López.