This past spring as I was chatting with Makini + Jason about their upcoming engagement session I had the craziest thought. “So, don’t you want to shoot your engagement photos in Havana, Cuba? I casually asked. (Of course thinking they would laugh at my suggestion) But to my surprise with no questions asked they said ‘YES’!!
And just like that we were headed to Cuba! I’ve been asked by many what was the process to get there and honestly it was pretty easy. We flew JetBlue from JFK to Nassau and then on Bahamasair from Nassau to Havana. You get your Cuban tourist Visa ($25USD) from the ticket counter in Nassau and yes your passport will get stamped once you make it to Havana. Of course since I flew with a lot of gear I did get questioned by the Cuban officials in which I flashed my big smile and told them I was there for journalistic reasons and they nodded and let me through. ? We converted our cash to CUC at the airport. Be advised they don’t accept US credit/debit cards anywhere so bring honestly about $100-150 spending cash per person per day that you are there. We stayed at the most amazing AirBnB with the most gracious hosts Eli, Adriana, and Greydi and seriously if you are planning to go I highly recommend this place! If I could have given 10 stars I would have. <3
Experiencing Havana was the highlight of all my travels. The cities energy was so inviting, friendly, colorful, authentic, and humbling all at the same time. I have never felt more safe walking the streets of a foreign land than I did there. The locals were enthusiastic to have US in their city as we were welcomed with smiles + hugs from total strangers. They were so eager to learn all things America as we were to know about all things Cuban.
As a photographer it was paradise. Even abandoned rocks on the ground were stunning! We wandered the streets for hours and not once did we get bored. Not having constant access to internet was a surprisingly a pleasant experience. We found ourselves talking constantly, laughing hysterically, sharing meals, and simply just connecting with each other.
There was so much ground to cover that a one day shoot simply wouldn’t do us justice. Over the course of 3 days we made some serious #melaninmagic. Nothing was really planned we simply let the city naturally guide us along. I can’t thank Makni + Jason enough for not batting an eye in 90* heat when I suggested just one more location or to stop right here because the lighting is amazing. We shot all around Havana Veija, took a tour in an old Chevy around the coast, channeled our inner Jay+Bey at La Guarida, and most importantly danced like no-one was watching. 🙂
THANK YOU to Jean, Lauren + Sabrina we seriously could not have made this happen with out your help with glam, wardrobe, and carrying our bags.
I hope through the photos you are inspired to take a trip yourself to Havana.
If you do i’ll be happy to tag along with you!! 🙂
Makini + Jasons love story is featured on the blog and upcoming F/W16 print issue of Munaluchi Bride