Jamaica Cultural Photography Retreat

A fisherman prepares to head out to sea from the port at Calabash Bay, Treasure Beach on Jamaica's south coast.  (Photo:Phil Carpenter)

Spring 2023

April 23 - 30

Fall 2023

(Dates TBA)

$3,500 (All prices are in US dollars)


Whether you have an iPhone or a state-of-the-art DSLR, join us on this one-of-a-kind 8-day experiential photography workshop in which guests will witness parts of authentic Jamaican culture rarely seen by most visitors.  The group will explore mountain villages, bustling markets, rural rum bars, fishing villages, aspects of Rastafarian culture, Maroons settlements (descendants of African warriors who escaped slavery), sandy beaches, etc.  Participants will get one-on-one mentoring and coaching while they shoot. 

Participants will stay at a luxury beachfront villa in Runaway Bay, just minutes from Ocho Rios.

Note: open to anyone, from beginner to advanced amateur, with any kind of camera.  

Coffee producer Jah B dries coffee beans at his estate in the Blue Mountains, home of the world famous coffee.  (Photo:Phil Carpenter)

A cane cutter walks through piles of cut cane at Worthy Park Estate, St. Catherine.  (Photo: Phil Carpenter)

Boys examine a recently caught Barracuda at Calabash bay,  Treasure Beach, on the south coast of Jamaica.  (Photo: Phil Carpenter)


(NOTE: Activities/tours/excursions could change depending on pandemic conditions other restrictions or circumstances outside the control of Cultural Photo Workshop Adventures+.  Any changes to schedules or excursions/tours fees will be communicated to the group as soon as possible beforehand

  • DAY 1 -Arrival: airport transfer from Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, to the villa at Runaway Bay. There'll be a group dinner, introductions and schedule overview.
  • DAY 2 - Morning briefing: review of photography basics - composition, exposure, shutter speed, white balance (participants will receive the document Photography Basics before the workshop), mobile phone photography.  Introduction to people photography - candid/action photography, peak action, "decisive moment," street photography, portraiture, ethics.   Afternoon: after lunch at the villa participants visit Ocho Rios, St. Ann to start shooting.
  • DAY 3 - Village tour: the group travels through the countryside via ATVs on a "RastaSafari."  We ride through rural landscapes of hills, farms and marijuana fields to the small village of Roaring River in the western parish of Westmoreland.  There are stops along the way to chat with local residents, relax at a typical Jamaican rum bar, learn about Jamaican culture and history and sample local fruits.  A Rastafarian will even prepare an "ital" meal for the group. The entire excursion, tailored for the group, lasts least up to 8 hours.  US$205 each.
  • DAY 4 - Maroon village tour: we travel about two hours east along the north coast, via chartered transport, to the Maroon settlement of Charles Town in the parish of Portland.  The inhabitants are descendants of the Maroon warriors, former slaves who fought for their freedom.  Charles Town is one of four such communities across the island and emerged around 1754.  The group will learn about the settlement's history, see and photograph the people's unique culture, traditions and daily life.    Round trip: US$75 each. 
  • DAY 5 - Fishing village tour: the group travels about two hours south through the island's interior, via chartered transport, to Alligator Pond.  It's a bustling fishing village on the island's south coast, with rustic beach-side shops, rum bars and homes in the parish of St. Elizabeth.  Group members will see how fishers live and work and learn about the history of the place.  We dine at Little Ochie, a seafood restaurant and bar on the beach, where you pick your own fish from the boat.  The entire excursion, tailored for the group, lasts at least 12 hours. Round trip: US$75 each.
  • DAY 6 -  River cruise: aboard bamboo rafts, participants head out on a relaxing 1-3 hour cruise on the Martha Brae River in the parish of Trelawny.  It's another way to see the countryside and witness another aspect of Jamaican life.  En route to and from the river, stops can be made to photograph people or landscape as group members see fit.  Participants can use part of the day to review their images and get tips/feedback from the workshop lead.  Transport: US$ 30 each.  Entry fee: US$90 per raft (2 pers per raft)
  • Day 7 -Relaxation, more editing and debriefing and free time.  There'll be a workshop party with the option of viewing the images participants shot during the week.  
  • Days 8 - departure.


RESERVE:  April 23 - 30, 2023

Cost: $3,500 (All prices are in US dollars)

Workshop Leader: Phil Carpenter.

Limited to 10 participants.

Cost Includes: photography instructor; tips about people, culture, street and landscape photography; individual photo coaching; info about Jamaican history and culture, 7 nights accommodation, all meals at villa, wifi at the villa, villa staff gratuity.

A deposit of  50% of the workshop is required to reserve your spot.  The balance is due by January 16, 2023

Not included: flights, airport transfers (see below), ground transportation to and from excursions/tours, fees for activities and excursions, meals and drinks while on excursions, long distance phone calls from villa, laundry, any other item or services not specifically listed as included.  


Transportation one way from the airport is $80 for 1-4 per persons, $140 return.  For a group of 5 or more it's $20 each one way, $37.50 return.  It includes a complimentary drink upon arrival.

Please let us know your flight details so that we can coordinate group pickups.


Luxury beachfront villa at Cardiff Hall, Runaway Bay (near Ocho Rios).  

The gated property has a private pool, security, coordinator, chef, housekeeper and gardener.  A meal plan has been organized for your stay and will include breakfast, lunch, dinner with desserts, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee,  teas and home-made juices.  Alcohol is not included.  Please let us know about dietary restrictions ahead of time.  

There's also a gorgeous private beach not far from the pool as well as a golf course across the street. 


There are 5 bedrooms available:

three bedrooms each with one queen bed (a single bed can be added to two of the three rooms);

one bedroom has one queen bed; and

one bedrooms have 2 single beds each.  

Note: workshop rates are based on double occupancy.  Couples will have priority for rooms with only one bed.  Because of the pandemic.  For guests travelling alone who want a room by themselves, a single supplement of $1,043.75 will apply.  

A man paints a new bar in the colours of the Jamaican flag near the bus stop at Luana Village near Black River in the parish of St. Elizabeth.  (Photo: Phil Carpenter)

A group of men play early morning football (soccer) as part of their morning workout at a sports field in Black River, a town on Jamaica's south coast.  (Photo: Phil Carpenter)


Below is a list of items to bring, things which will help make your trip more pleasant.  Some are obvious, others are suggestions.

Camera (required - can be as simple as an iPhone or complex as a DSLR);

Memory cards (required)

US currency (required);

Jamaican currency (required);

good walking/hiking shoes (required);

reusable water bottle;

rain gear;

waterproof footwear;

waterproof cover for camera;

lens cloth;

rag to dry your cameras if needed;


bathing suit;

a day pack to carry everything you need during your daily excursions. 

multiple lenses (optional);

portable flash, tripod (optional); and

laptop for editing pictures (optional).

Beachgoers play near the fish market at Ocho Rios, a bustling seaside resort town in St Ann.  (Photo: Phil Carpenter)


Making a deposit means you have accepted these Terms and Conditions. 

The participant will be responsible for the full cost of their accommodation and other services contracted on their behalf.  All funds are in US dollars and should be paid in US dollars. 


A deposit of 50% of the total fee is payable to confirm the reservation.  

Final Payment

The balance of payment is due not later than January 16.  MAKE YOUR PAYMENT ON TIME TO AVOID CANCELLATION OF YOUR RESERVATION. 

Method of Payment 

Please make all payments in US dollars via PAYPAL. 

Cancellation Policy 

Cancellations must in writing by e-mail. 

• 50% refunded up to sixty (60) days prior to arrival. 

• 25% refunded up to thirty (30) days prior to arrival. 

• If you cancel because of an emergency, we will do our best to rebook you within one year of the original date of arrival. 

• There will be no refunds if you fail to show up, arrive late or leave early. WE STRONGLY SUGGEST TRAVEL INSURANCE IN CASE OF UNFORESEEN EMERGENCIES.

In the unlikely event that we are forced to cancel a workshop due extreme circumstances, up to 90 days before the start of the workshop, there will be a full refund.  If a workshop has to be cancelled after that due to extreme circumstances, funds will be refunded less non-refundable cash paid to 3rd parties on the workshop participant’s behalf.


If we are forced to cancel a workshop up to 30 days before the workshop begins, participants will be refunded, or have the option or rebooking for a later date.  Participants must adhere to all current pandemic protocols in place in the country.  Failure to do so can result in removal from the workshop without refund.  

Holiday Insurance 

We strongly recommend insurance protection against medical emergencies, trip cancellation/interruption and other expenses and liabilities. 


Cultural Photo Workshop Adventures + and their agents/employees are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, death or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle or property, or from the actions of any person who provides services for this workshop or for the action or inaction of any third party. Luggage and equipment are brought at the owner’s risk entirely. We reserve the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person from taking part in the tour, for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change. All workshop participants are required to submit a signed Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability form prior to the tour’s start.

Cultural Photo Workshop Adventures + has taken all reasonable measures to make sure that the workshop is conducted professionally. 

Cultural Photo Workshop Adventures + has taken all care to provide accurate and up to date information on its website.  Cultural Photo Workshop Adventures + and their agents/employees stress that participants accept all workshop registrations are subject to limited liability, and assumes no responsibility for property loss or damage, for injury to, or death of any person arising from any activity, accident or anything resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, dangers incident to the sea, fire, acts of the Government or other authorities, dejure or de facto wars, whether declared or not, hostilities, civil disturbances, strikes, riots, thefts, pilferage, epidemics, quarantines, customs regulations, delays or cancellation or changes in itinerary or schedule, or from acts or omissions of any kind or in any way related to the accommodation or transportation due to any other cause beyond the control of Cultural Photo Workshop Adventures +.  Cultural Photo Workshop Adventures + and their agents/employees have no control over independent parties offering accommodation services or tours and therefore accepts no liability for any acts or omissions by them or their servants or agents. In the event of any dispute, Cultural Photo Workshop Adventures + and their agents/employees are not responsible for a workshop participant's legal fees and associated costs arising from any legal actions. 

Health and Fitness

Each workshop participant is responsible for informing the workshop lead about any possible health problems or disabilities when they register. By making a reservation and trip deposit you are certifying that you do not knowingly have any physical, medical or other conditions of disability that could pose a risk to yourself or other workshop participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, a pre-existing health condition will not be accepted as exceptions to our cancellation policy. 

Activity and tour itinerary

Excursions, activities and tours are subject to change due to weather, sea or road conditions, health restrictions, and other factors beyond our control.  

Thank you.  Please contact us if there are questions.