A woman dressed in all-white, the mark of a Santeria initiate, walking along the Callejón de Hamel in Santiago. The Callejón (alley) is known for its Sunday Santería sambas, and the press of every tourist in the city crowding into the tiny space to watch the dance and drink the beers. Hard to tell whether it's real or put on for the tourists. But either way, the beer is cold and the fun is loud.
Looking back on all the photos I made while we were in Cuba, I wish we'd stayed longer, and that I'd made even more. It's a fascinating place, and visual in the extreme–especially the people and the colors. We'll be going back, and seeing more. Soon I hope. In the meantime, hope you like these.
I'm not sure if the America Theater was a cinema or live theater. But I was struck by how many people were hanging around waiting for it to open. Or maybe they were just hanging around. There's a lot of that in Cuba.
I took a long walk along Calle Neptuno from our Central Havana neighborhood to Old Havana. Not a tourist in sight, but a lot of Cubans living their daily life in their homes and tiny shops on the street. Like this hairdresser waiting for a customer, with her neighbor and baby.
In this part of Havana, there aren't any porches, or anything resembling plazas were people can just sit. So, you see a lot of folks in their homes or shops, just looking out the window at whatever's passing by.
Or staring out the window and wondering when the wash will be dry. In the Cuban sun, not long.
Sometimes, being behind that window to the street can seem a bit like being locked in somewhere and the street is just a dream.
Hey, you a photographer? Take our picture! Take our picture! Calle Neptuno has all types.
The Malecón, the sea wall bordering Havana, is a nice promenade in the sun. And it's the only time in our two weeks in Cuba that we saw any overt mention of Fidel that wasn't the most reverential.
And the tourists in the old cars drove along the Malecón too, which to me sort of misses the point of a nice seaside walk. But at least this guy got the picture–of me taking his picture, probably. And maybe some sea.
Of course, there's no swimming or fishing from boats allowed on the Malecón. Probably because after painting anti-Fidel graffiti, you would swim or row to Florida. You might note here, too, that the Malecón sea wall was constructed by the American military ruler of Cuba in the year after we took over Cuba after the Spanish-American War.
This post is part of a series that won the Bronze Award for General Excellence in photography from the North American Travel Journalists Association for 2018. See the other posts in the series posts here:
10 Photos of Cuba
Havana at Night, A Dozen Photos
24 thoughts on “10 More Photos of Havana, Cuba”
Love all these portraits, real life! The colors are amazing as well.
Thanks, Corinne. Cuba is nothing if not colorful. Although I think all the paint sometimes is there as an attempt to cover over some inherent despair. We met lots of happy people, it’s true. But many others seemingly caught in a national tendency toward depression. The smiles at times seemed painted on as well.
Love these photos. They paint a story.
Thanks, Donna. There’s a story to Cuba, for sure.
Love these real life photos, especially since I’m tentatively planning to go to Cuba in August.
Nice! Especially love the baby and the boys.
Terrific photos of Havana Tom. We visited before it was open to more tourism. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens now that Fidel’s gone and more people will be visiting.
Havana looks a very photogenic place. Such vibrant colours!
Love your photos. They are just so real life and evocative.The one of the women looking out of the window and the blue blue wall hit me first, then the one of the vintage cars – I could just feel the breeze :)
You took great photos of every day Life in Havana. Sure would like to know that not so reverential mention of Fidel!
Well, it’s right there in English, and exactly what you’d expect: alliteration.
Your photos are always exceptional! I love the portraits you brought to your readers; a real insight into life in Cuba.
Thanks so much, Marilyn.
Great photos! BTW, if you are referring to the music video “Havana,” which is indeed exceptional, my son is the director. Here’s the video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ0mxQXmLsk . Enjoy!
Thanks, Carole. I’ll have a look.
It’s fun. And funny. Thanks for the link.
You’ve done a great job at capturing real life in Cuba. The photos tell a poignant story that many will never see for themseves.
Sadly, I think you’re right. If only Florida didn’t have electoral votes, we probably would have reached an accommodation with Cuba long ago. I don’t understand how we can have relations with many countries that are probably worse, but Cuba is mostly off limits.
Cuba is such a huge destination for Canadians but sadly, most of them don’t see beyond the beaches. Nice to see your portraits of the real Cuba!
As you know, we Americans aren’t really allowed to go to the beaches, which for me, actually, is kind of a blessing.
Great pics, Tom. I’ve been to Cuba several times, but only once to Havana. It is a city you will never forget as every step creates a new story.
You’ve captured such a slice of real life in Cuba. I had the chance to visit in 2016 and loved every minute. I couldn’t get over the creative streak that runs through the country. A dance performance moved me to tears and the artwork was inspirational.The colors and spirit you’ve captured is wonderful.
Thanks Alison. It was, as they say, a trip.