Thursday, June 16, 2022

Havana, Cuba


For the past several weeks I been writing about my recent trip to Cuba. I was able to visit through the sponsorship of Santa Fe Workshops and the CNP in Cuba. It was a wonderful ten day excursion with a small group of photographers. The last couple of days of our stay were spent back in the city of Havana.

On our first evening back in the city we went to Estudio50. This is a space for artists that is in an old industrial building, near the University of Havana. The building has been reclaimed and now provides studio space and offices for artists and art collectives. It also houses a “white room” performance space that is used for concerts, along with film and video shoots. We were there for a performance of “freeform” music by Pepe Gavilondo and the Ensemble Interactivo de La Habana. Estudio50 also has a bar where the musicians and the audience could all hang out together before and after the performance.

The next day we spent visiting places around Havana that offered some nice photographic opportunities, some touristy, some not. We started at John Lennon Park (formerly Parque Menocal) for a quick shot of the John Lennon statue.

From there we went to Callejon de Hamel. This small alley has been completely transformed by artist Salvador Gonzáles Escalona. He has created artworks that celebrate his afro-cubano heritage.

After lunch we visited the Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC). This gallery and theater reside in a building that was constructed in 1910 as a cooking oil factory. Today it serves as one of the primary galleries and performance spaces for contemporary artists and musicians.

 We finished our day with a sunset trip to Havana’s world famous Malecon. This sea wall has been a gathering place for locals and tourists for over one hundred years.

This brought my Cuba trip to an end. It was great to spend ten days on a guided tour of the island with local guides and a small group of photographers.

One last note. This will be my last regular blog. I am shifting my focus onto my photography, and, while this has been fun and rewarding, the time requirement to research and prepare a weekly blog is too demanding to do both. I will still post when I travel to anywhere special. Please follow my photography at


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Guasasa, Cuba


While staying in the town of Playa Larga, Cuba, a beach resort at the northern end of The Bay of Pigs, our guides took us on a trip to the small town of Guasasa. Guasasa sits on the Caribbean coast, about 27 Km (14 miles) east of Playa Girón.

The road to Guasasa travels along the coast, winding between the sea and a swampy area. It is a well tended dirt road. The swampiness is caused by underground streams that also create cenotes. Along the way, we stopped at a beach at the end of a beautiful inlet.

At the beach, we met a family. They had come down in a tractor and trailer, and set up tarps and blankets on the sand. They brought a full days worth of things to do, and also had a fire going. In addition to swimming, the were fishing for their dinner.


Coconut shell holding bait

Hermit crab is used for bait

fan coral

Guasasa is a very small village sitting on the Caribbean coast with a rocky cove along the water.

At one time many residents worked converting wood to charcoal. Today, many work away from the village, and also as fishermen. The homes in Guasasa range from what look like shacks, to some pretty nice developed houses.

On our way back to Playa Larga, we stopped at Cueva de los Pesces, a cenote on the shore of the Bay of Pigs. There is a nice park there, with full facilities, along with the chance to swim in the cave.

Guasasa is about as far from a tourist site as you can get. There is a casa particular in town, but it is not listed on the most commonly used websites. But having an afternoon to spend in a place that is not looking for tourists was a great experience.