Otros Ojos is run by a Cuban / American Artist couple who live between Havana and Chicago. it is a testament to our love of Cuba and the honest, varied and important perspectives we believe it takes to reach into all the richness that exists here.
Our founders at a Havana fashion show in 2019. The artist couple lives between Havana and Chicago.
We met on this small street above in Havana Vieja in early 2015 and were married later that year. We knew early on that we would be a part of expanding people’s connection to Cuban culture and offering access into this special world. Otros Ojos was formed on the belief that opening doors and offering access into Cuba’s creative worlds would build a community of more aware, curious, and connected travelers. Our trips are a dive into the communities we are a part of in Havana and create communities within themselves as travelers find themselves sharing experiences that help them see the world differently.
Our team & community
We are artists and we work with artists. Our business is meant to open your eyes to our world and, in turn, it helps our community. These are some of our team and community members. Incredible people who help us make Otros Ojos special and unique.
Kay is an artist, entrepreneur, spiritualist and traveler who first came to Cuba in 2015. She was immediately enamored and moved by the pervasive culture, intense energy and kind hearted people. She met Norberto on day four and has lived back and forth ever since. Cuba has been a place of intense creative and spiritual learning as well as a fertile ground for connection and community. She has traveled the world as an independent traveler and has worked tirelessly to ensure that Otros Ojos trips embrace an energy that feels like you have encountered fabulous locals. She maintains a studio in the Turquoise House. www.kaywhitchurch.com
Norberto is a musician, composer and producer who was schooled in the Cuban conservatory system and at the renowned ISA in Havana. He grew up in an artistic colonial town in central Cuba and has lived in Havana for the past 15 years. He has a vast knowledge of Cuba, incredible access into the contemporary music scene and an amazing ability to get things done in a place where logistics are complicated. His local knowledge and team of Cubans who work along side of him make our travelers feel like they are neighbors and dear friends within hours of arriving. He has worked extensively with many Cuban bands. He is working on his first solo flamenco album. www.norbertoguerra.com
Carlos / Carlitos
Carlos is our resident historian, art history guru and poet. He helps us ensure our content is full of Cuba’s rich culture. He and Norberto grew up together in Remedios where Carlos produced and founded a Peña (Art Salon) with Norberto. They lived and worked together for years in Havana where Carlos was in radio and TV production while studying writing. His poems are featured in several Latin American Poetry anthologies and he published his first collection of poetry in 2017.
Liana engages our groups in stories about Cuba that stretch back to the 30s. She is a wealth of information on Cuba, Havana and the culture that she soaks up daily in her beloved city. She is a professor of Spanish and English and met Kay through the Spanish classes that she teaches. She is an incredible and enthusiastic resource on the history of Havana and the magic that exists here.
Gema helps keep our incredible itinerary moving, ensures that guests know all the details and is also a beautiful part of our trip experience. She grew up in Havana with artist parents and has a huge passion for and knowledge of the arts. A psychologist by training, she is incredible at understating group dynamics and making sure that the energy is just right. We met Gema at one of our favorite art spaces and knew right away she was a part of our team.
Raciel is an amazing singer and dear friend whom guests meet when they come on our seven day trip. Raciel performs at a small lively cafe in Miramar that we go to on Wednesday nights and speaks with the group before the show starts. He grew up in Havana and is enthusiastic and funny when speaking to anyone about life and art and music in Cuba.
Pedro runs an airport taxi company with his son Henry and they bring everyone on our trips to and from Jose Marti Airport in Havana. Pedro was the first Cuban that Kay ever met. He picked her up at the airport on her first trip wearing his signature starched yellow shirt and warm smile. They have been friends ever since. We are always thrilled to see Pedro or Henry waiting for us when we get though customs.
Ariel is in charge of our time exploring the Viñales countryside on his horses. He grew up on the farms outside of Viñales and now lives in one of the nearby Fincas. We are so grateful for his deep knowledge of the area and eagerness to take on the less trodden trails and to introduce us to farmers and friends along the way.
Randy is our history guru, rum enthusiast and US based logistics expert. He is also Kay’s dad. He helps us keep everything on the business side moving when we are in Cuba, and is always learning about new historical details to search out on his next trip. If you are lucky, he’ll show up on yours!
Sarah is a writer and writing teacher based in Bend, Oregon. She is co-leading our Writing and Waking Up to Place Retreat in January 2020. She first came to Cuba for Kay and Norberto’s wedding where she was one of their two witnesses. She and Kay have traveled many corners of the world together, are one another’s creative supports and one another’s biggest champions. Sarah’s keen eye for observation and appreciation for space makes her an incredible writing coach and guide. Working with her is expansive and fine tuned.
Nelda is one of Cuba’s most respected playwrites and directors. Her theatre, El Ciervo Encantado, is a powerhouse of perspectives, music and ideas. She has been featured in most of the Havana Bienals and is a powerhouse on the Cuban cultural scene. Kay stumbled upon her theatre on her second day in Cuba and has made sure to see everything Nelda puts on the stage since. Nelda is a dear friend and champion of the arts. If your trip coincides with a performance, consider yourself extremely lucky.
Liane is a guru of contemporary art, context and contradiction. She is the sister and business partner of one of Cuba’s best know artists and frequently spends time with our groups at a dinner or studio visit, or both. She is sharp, observant and funny. If your mind has not been blown by the time you meet her, she’ll take care of it.