TGL Cuba 2016

TGL Cuba Travel Humanitarian Tour

It's Havana. How much more do we have to say? This trip was a huge success on our first visit, and we've only built upon that, learned, grown, and planned for a pretty epic return. You should be there!

Havana is a city with a pulse and pace all its own. It's clearly divided from the touristic Old Town and the rest of Havana that the locals know. Our teams stay in local casas outside the tourist centre so that our participants get a taste of the more real side of Havana - and meet real families and friends along the way. We'll spend 3 days exploring different areas really working on street photography, portrait photography, and training the eye for those really unique moments (they're around every corner here). We'll also take in the sights of Old Town and the Malecone, the motorway along the ocean.

It's a rapidly changing city now that flights from the USA are on the rise, and USA cruise chips now allowed to port. While we don't quite believe in the mantra "get in before it gets ruined" we do think it's a great time to go before the amount of tourism exceeds what Havana can handle (and that's already on the rise!).

It's a place of worn beauty, but you'll see more importantly, truly beautiful people in body and in spirit. Yes, in many cases it feels like stepping back in time, but it's also a fascinating look at a country on the cusp of great change.

Join us for a grand adventure in Havana - and beyond! This trip will include some days in Trinidad de Cuba, a UNESCO city, and some rural activities.

We'll be partnering again with AmigoSkate, working alongside this organization that using skateboarding (officially illegal in Cuba) to enlighten, encourage, inspire, uplift, and invigorate local youths who are straddling "old" Cuba and "new" Cuba and are desperate for an outlet for creativity and individuality. AmigoSkate approaches their work in a very similar mindset to TGL, so we're a perfect pair! The team will come alongside youths of Havana for 2-3 days of mini-workshops and street shooting, and will be allowed to keep their cameras as a prize for their hard work over the weekend. We're really excited for this year's projects!

With that - join us! Cuba Awaits!

Trip Dates

December 1-9 2016

Cost

$3400 USD

Group Size

8-10

Difficulty

Moderate

This trip is physically moderate.  There's going to be a lot of walking - a lot. We will be exploring Havana on foot, some days it can add up to hours of walking. The Casas we use will have stairs usually up and down to the rooms. In Trinidad de Cuba there will be some hills; Havana is flat. All in all, the days are pretty active, and hot, so bring good shoes and a water bottle!
The emotional demands of this trip are approachable You'll find the kids of AmigoSkate capable, outgoing, fun, and of good spirit. That said, as we walk around Havana you will see poverty, families living in very worn down conditions. We'll also be informed on how the stipend system works in Cuba, and the facts about what people are living on can be a bit shocking. However, the trip for the most part is uplifting and positive.
The standards of accommodation, quality of meals, and access to amenities of this trip are adequate. Cuba isn't exactly renowned for its level of amenities or accommodation. We choose to stay in Casas because they're run by real Cuban families and offer income to those families. It's like using a Bed and Breakfast - you'll get a private room (with a roommate from our team of the same gender) with 2 beds, which is usually decorated sweetly and homely. Sometimes the rooms are ensuite, sometimes it is shared with another room. Showers may be just warm but not hot, and water conservation is important. That said, the common areas are often very pleasant for sitting and catching up, and you'll fall in love with your host families. We take breakfast and most dinners at the Casas as a team. Breakfasts include a lot of bread, some cheese, and some eggs. Dinner is usually rice, a protein, and some kind of vegetable. You must come to Cuba understanding food is scarce because imports are scarce, and these families are actually pulling off a small miracle feeding 12 or so adults so much food every night. The food is repetitive but filling and home cooked. There is very, very, very, very little access to internet in Cuba, especially for a team on the go. We will try to work in a few pit stops for people to check in. Cell phone plans often do not work in Cuba but check with your provider.
Level of safety in Cuba is very good. The most common issue for tourist is pickpocketing, but statistics are en par with almost anywhere well touristed in the world. TGL will offer tips and advice for your belongings and cash in team newsletters.
TGL Cuba Travel Photogaphy Humanitarian Tour
TGL Cuba Travel Photogaphy Humanitarian Tour

What is Included?

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    All Ground Transportation

    From the moment you arrive to when you depart, we have you covered. Taxis, buses, tours, you name it.

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    All Accommodation and Meals

    Rooms are double rooms with twin beds, paired by gender, and accommodation is always clean, comfortable, and safe. From dinner the arrival day, to breakfast the departure day, we will keep you well fed and hydrated.

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    All Location Entry Fees and Guides

    Entry fees, shooting permits, guides, passes, etc. If the team is going to shoot there, we'll get you in. We'll even be sure to tip any guides on behalf of the whole team.

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    All Photo Instruction

    You'll have 2 leaders available all day long to field as many questions as you can muster, provide one-on-one help, and offer group topics and instruction as required by the scene at hand.

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    A Donation to the NGO

    While there are a lot of factors involved that determine the exact amount - which we're happy to be completely transparent about - you can rest assured we make a substantial donation to our NGO partner post-trip.

What's Not?

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    Flights

    We will assist in arrange flights to Havana for American participants. We will attempt to group together on flights into Havana for those interested in leaving out of Miami.

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    Insurance

    We require every participant to have adequate travel insurance, and to carry copies of this insurance at all times.

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    Passport and Visa

    We will help you to arrange your Visa in Cuba, at the same time that we help everyone schedule flights. You must have a valid passport.

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    Alcohol and Souvenirs

    We do not provide alcohol for our participants, so that's up to you. As well, as much as we really really like you, we can't buy your gifts for you. Souvenirs are on you!

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    Internet

    Do not plan on having internet in Cuba, but you may get lucky a few times.

Behind the Scenes of TGL Cuba

 

The NGO: Amigo Skate

From AmigoSkate's Website:

THE CHALLENGE:

The problem is that Cuban youth are trapped in a feud between two cultures. With no skate shops in Cuba, it's nearly impossible to acquire skateboards and other supplies needed to keep skating alive. Breaking one’s skateboard deck often means going months without a replacement. When this happens they call it the “dark months.” Cuba’s skate scene was born in the 1980s when Russian soldiers left their skateboards with a couple of scrappy street kids who never gave up on their dreams and have kept things rolling for 30+ years. One of these two original skaters is still on board and he is involved in this project.

OUR MODEL:

A big part of what Amigo Skate does is collect unwanted or broken skateboard equipment, refurbish, rebuild, and then recycle it back to skaters in need. Besides supplying new and used decks, wheels, hardware, grip and trucks; we have gathered a wide variety of action sports gear, music equipment, and art supplies. After collecting and refurbishing everything we redistribute the goods to kids wherever and whenever we see a need. The main mission is to provide youth with an outlet to express themselves.

Click this link for a great photo essay on what AmigoSkate is doing in Havana!

TGL Cuba AmigoSkate Travel Photogaphy Humanitarian Tour

Who Are Your Leaders?

Colby is a professional photographer, photo educator, author and entrepreneur from Denver, Colorado. Specializing in landscape, travel and humanitarian photography, he has been fortunate to have worked all over the world, in pursuit of capturing the beauty of life on this planet and helping to make a difference in the world for others. In 2010 he co-founded Lespwa Haiti, an organization that provided support services on the ground to small local NGOs doing phenomenal work in that island nation of Haiti. Colby’s passion for photography and teaching helps propel him to hold photography workshops, digital editing classes and webinars throughout the year, in various countries around the globe. In 2011, he founded The Giving Lens.

He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Sarah, and son, Jack.

Michael Bonocore is our most senior trip leader, with over a dozen TGL trips under his belt. He’s the Travel Editor at Resource Travel and specializes in travel, street, and landscape photography. He’s also a professional videographer. He’s worked with tourism boards, camera companies, and travel websites to make visual content from around the world. Hailing from the SFO area and now residing in scenic Idaho, he’s been on the road more than he’s been at home for the last 3 years. Michael is an extraordinary teacher and leader – you’re in for a treat!

www.bonocorevisualstudios.com

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