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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Urban Life & Travel Talk 
Thread started 03 Jan 2017 (Tuesday) 18:45
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A Day Trip to Cuba

 
EOS-Mike
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Jan 03, 2017 18:45 |  #1

It's possible to go to Cuba for a day, so I'm thinking of going for it to photograph Havana and the countryside between the airport and the city.

Another option is for a 24-hour trip.

It's legal now, and surprisingly cheap. I can go from Atlanta, via Ft. Lauderdale, to Cuba and back for under $250 round trip. Amazing. I also learned that I can expect to pay the equivalent of about thirty dollars each way to take one of the old American car taxis to the city and back to the airport.

I have a couple sticky points, however. I can't seem to get ahold of the Cuban embassy in DC, and I don't know how to get a visa (I'd go as a combination of photojournalism/educat​ion).

Also, I'm nervous about going. I either want to go alone or with another photographer. I don't want to go with someone who isn't a photographer for a short day trip or overnight.

By the way, the way I found out how to find cheap flights is from Clark Howard (consumer advice expert). His website says to go to www.google.com/flights (external link). It worked.

I can go round trip for an overnighter on Delta for about $350 (non-stop each way) or for about $250 on Spirit Air.

It has to be overnight with Delta because they only do one flight to Cuba per day. Then the plane leaves an hour later to head back to Atlanta. Spirit does several flights per day. My hesitation with Spirit is that they are the worst airline for reliability and cancel flights on a whim. Constantly. I've been burned by them and hate to give them another chance. But they're cheap.

Any thoughts?


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FstopMiami123
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Jan 03, 2017 18:49 |  #2

I just returned form an 8 day trip to the island. I would say that one day is not enough to do what you propose, 2 days in Havana would serve you better. As for the visa, as a US citizen, the travel agency should be able to get you the artist visa without any issue. (85.00 here in Miami). Very safe but always be wary as you should always be as a tourist.

Armando


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FarmerTed1971
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Jan 03, 2017 19:32 |  #3

Stay a few days. Befriend a family and bring a care package of sundries. Common items for us are rare and expensive for them. You could probably barter a night or two with one carry-on filled with cheddar cheese, toilet paper, dental floss and AA batteries.


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EOS-Mike
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Jan 03, 2017 20:54 |  #4

FarmerTed1971 wrote in post #18232294 (external link)
Stay a few days. Befriend a family and bring a care package of sundries. Common items for us are rare and expensive for them. You could probably barter a night or two with one carry-on filled with cheddar cheese, toilet paper, dental floss and AA batteries.

I'd love to do something like that, but don't know how to get in touch with families who live there.

I don't have a lot of extra spending money. I don't mind bringing care packages or paying a little, but it's not so much a vacation as an opportunity to take photos and to just know I was there. Not too many Americans have been to Cuba. I like the historical aspect of visiting.


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Hogloff
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Jan 04, 2017 09:11 |  #5

EOS-Mike wrote in post #18232392 (external link)
I'd love to do something like that, but don't know how to get in touch with families who live there.

I don't have a lot of extra spending money. I don't mind bringing care packages or paying a little, but it's not so much a vacation as an opportunity to take photos and to just know I was there. Not too many Americans have been to Cuba. I like the historical aspect of visiting.

There are many sites on the net that offer Casa Particulars ( B&B ) in Havana. Suggest you get one of these as the owners can give you lots of advice on where to shoot.

1 day would not give you a feel for Havana. I suggest at least 4 days...maybe more. There is so much to shoot...just walk around the different areas. Very safe everywhere...I was there in November for a week and was out everyday at 5:00am until wee hours at times. Cuban people are very hospitable and willing to help you out.

To fly in/out the same day would just frustrate you.




  
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EOS-Mike
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Jan 04, 2017 11:07 as a reply to  @ Hogloff's post |  #6

Great replies. Thank you so much. I'll start looking into it.

I can't go for a week or anything like that. Maybe I could go for a few days. My fear is the unknown. I'm relatively smart, and I'm respectful of other cultures, but I'm also a very trusting sort. Getting my stuff stolen wouldn't be the end of the world. Getting hurt or worse is not something I want (obviously), and I don't want to freak out my wife and kids. I'm not much of a fighter or tough guy, and it often shows in my personality.

But again, I also don't want to go with any non-photographers on my first trip. My favorite mode of travel is solo. No arguing or compromising on where to go. A photographer in a new place who is stuck somewhere he doesn't want to be is a drag.

I forgot to mention: I speak enough Spanish to function in foreign nations, but not enough to keep up with regular conversation.


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Hogloff
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Jan 04, 2017 12:07 |  #7

EOS-Mike wrote in post #18232891 (external link)
Great replies. Thank you so much. I'll start looking into it.

I can't go for a week or anything like that. Maybe I could go for a few days. My fear is the unknown. I'm relatively smart, and I'm respectful of other cultures, but I'm also a very trusting sort. Getting my stuff stolen wouldn't be the end of the world. Getting hurt or worse is not something I want (obviously), and I don't want to freak out my wife and kids. I'm not much of a fighter or tough guy, and it often shows in my personality.

But again, I also don't want to go with any non-photographers on my first trip. My favorite mode of travel is solo. No arguing or compromising on where to go. A photographer in a new place who is stuck somewhere he doesn't want to be is a drag.

I forgot to mention: I speak enough Spanish to function in foreign nations, but not enough to keep up with regular conversation.

You live in Atlanta and are concerned about going to Havana and getting mugged or robbed. That's funny,.




  
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FarmerTed1971
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Jan 04, 2017 12:14 |  #8

Bring a friend or photographer friend. It will be more fun to have a traveling companion. Stay a few days, at least.


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Mike22487
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Post edited over 1 year ago by Mike22487.
     
Jan 04, 2017 13:30 |  #9

I've been wanting to go to Cuba as well. I do time lapse Photography (they will have fun going through every photo when I leave).

Frontier flies to Havana they are my favorite budget airline. (Miami-Philly for $20 each way on sale sometimes).

I live in West Palm Beach. I am pretty slow this month and am looking to take a trip somewhere.

(Atlanta is the only place I've been "pulled over" while doing time lapses. Four times in one night btw... Mexico was more friendly).




  
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Hogloff
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Jan 04, 2017 13:43 |  #10

Mike22487 wrote in post #18233064 (external link)
I've been wanting to go to Cuba as well. I do time lapse Photography (they will have fun going through every photo when I leave).
.

So many jaded views of Cuba. They don't give a rat's azz how many photos you take and they do not interrogate you when you leave the country. Just don't take photos of military things...just like at home, and you will be fine.

I've had much more issues being interrogated coming to the US. They always fear I will be taking someone's job...




  
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EOS-Mike
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Jan 04, 2017 21:45 |  #11

Hogloff wrote in post #18232966 (external link)
You live in Atlanta and are concerned about going to Havana and getting mugged or robbed. That's funny,.

I worry any time I'm in a city I don't know, whether it's in the U.S. or anywhere else. I don't know what I don't know.

I don't live in the city of Atlanta. I live out in the suburbs. I realize Atlanta is more dangerous than Havana, of course. But I know Atlanta, where to go, what to avoid, how to act, etc.

I'm just trying to learn, not judge.


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EOS-Mike
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Jan 04, 2017 21:54 |  #12

I'm pretty close to working things out.

I'll be going for about three or four days. One of my good friends used to sail there a lot and has a very close friend who will pick me up, guide me, etc. My good friend is the godfather of one of his kids. They're close. This should work out.

I'll be flying Delta because it's non stop and I have enough miles to get one ticket.

Also, a couple years ago my dad sent me 200 Euros and they're still sitting in an envelope, so I'll bring that and some dollars with me and then exchange the dollars for convertible pesos and hold on to the Euros and use them where they are accepted.

Delta does the visa work and tourist card at the airport (50 bucks), and health insurance is included in the price of the airline ticket.

I'm going to go alone and just hang out with my friend's friend and his family in Havana and walk as much as I can and bring a lot of SD cards.

Thanks for any tips and advice. The more the merrier. I really appreciate it.

I'm going to book tomorrow and go in about two weeks. I want to make sure I do this before things change, which is likely under Trump. (Not stating for or against him; just stating that it's a possibility he will reverse Obama's various executive orders, including the relaxed situation with Cuba).


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FstopMiami123
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Feb 20, 2017 19:22 |  #13

Glad your plans are progressing, don't bother to exchange for pesos as that currency is used very little and usually only amongst the local. Get your driver to take you to someone that will get you the best exchange rate for their "CUCs", the exchange rate at the airport (government) was 74 of their CUCs to one American dollar, I went with my driver to a local and got 97 CUCs to my dollar.

Good luck and have fun
Armando


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Feb 20, 2017 19:29 |  #14

:mrgreen:


Don't even begin to think I'm criticizing your images.
Just a natural curiosity.
tw
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philmar
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Feb 21, 2017 16:41 |  #15

If only going for a couple days there is NO reason to leave Old Havana. A colonial city stuck in time.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsj​pcu2BT (external link)
Casa particular is the way to go. Online sites abound.


A photo I took HERE published in National GeographicTime on your hands? Then HERE'S plenty more photos to nibble on (external link):
http://https …photos/phil_mar​ion/albums (external link)

  
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