Tag Archives: travel tv

Cuba Undercover Outdelivers Bourdain’s Cuba Episode on CNN

Sometimes it’s fun being the indie, scrappy DIY producer. It allows us the ability to do things that “larger” production companies and networks just can’t do, like posing as regular tourists in Cuba in order to document a more authentic story and travel experience.

Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” show on CNN is a show I respect. It makes A LOT more money than Raw Travel. In fact, I doubt there is even a worthwhile comparison. I won’t get into all the reasons but suffice it to say that marketers have gotten overwhelmed  with the plethora of media choices available these days and despite the lack of good, travel programming in the USA, it’s hard to compete with outlets like the NFL and Cable News Channels during an election year.

Yet Raw Travel’s audience is consistently larger than Mr. Bourdain’s on CNN which is quiet remarkable when you consider that CNN is a very well known national brand with huge marketing resources and that “Parts Unknown” airs in primetime.

This is not a business blog, so I won’t get too far into the weeds on this one but I will just say I’m proud of what Raw Travel – Cuba Undercover was able to accomplish and from the looks of the audience tune in and reaction our work paid off.

We way over delivered an established celebrity on an established show (Parts Unknown) in primetime (Sunday @ 8PM) on a major news channel (CNN).

His Cuba episode aired to much ballyhoo just when the travel thaw was developing between Cuba & the USA and ours aired a year later during an election cycle (November 2016) when folks were more interested in Hillary vs. Trump than seemingly anything else on the planet.

Do the right thing and the money follows? We’ll see about that.

But at least we know we’re doing the right thing, and that my friends is worth way more than any money any marketer can throw at us.

Thank you for helping us to become the #1 most watched travel show in the United States.

SUMMARY: 

Anthony Bourdain in Cuba Vs. Raw Travel in Cuba                                    In the Fall of 2015, CNN aired Anthony Bourdain in Cuba to kick off Season-3 of “Parts Unknown”

In the Fall of 2016, “Raw Travel” kicked of its Nov’16 sweep with “Cuba Undercover”

Raw Travel out-delivered “Parts Unknown” by more than +50% in all key demos…

“Parts Unknown – Cuba” CNN Sun/9-10P (9/27/15) – FALL 2015  HH 496K                                                                                                                        A18-34 45K                                                                                                                    A18-49 197K                                                                                                                     A25-54 256K

 “Raw Travel – Cuba Undercover” (Wknd of 10/29-10/30/16)        HH 725K (+46%)                                                                                                        A18-34 117K (+160%)                                                                                            A18-49 331K (+68%)                                                                                              A25-54 391K (+55%) 

 

 

 

 

Food Market – Would you like flies with that?

CARTAGENA –  December 3rd, 2010

Today we visited the food market which is primarily Afro-Latino. It’s a muddy, unhygienic mess because of the horrible rain and flooding. I’ve been to markets like this before in Brazil and other countries and it takes some getting used to seeing the raw meat just laid out bare on tables, without refrigeration and crawling with flies.

Freshly caught fish at the local market in Cartagena

The one thing I always seem to notice is how everything gets used, we’re not just talking pig’s feet here, we’re talking pig brains, bull nuts, you name it they got it at the market.

And that is why the locals come here. It’s a cheap place to buy meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, but not just food, you can also buy toiletries, toys and you can get a haircut or buy some music, recharge your cell phone (or buy a cell phone).. it’s like a mall, not as nice by a long shot but way, way cheaper and full of mini entrepreneurs selling their wares and wheeling and dealing to make their living.

We get a decent amount of footage shot with Luis Towers providing the guidance, but once again just as we’re getting rolling, the rain sets in and dampens the rest of our shooting schedule.

Moe and I head out at night to a new part of the city, Boca Grande, and eat Mexican (a nice change of pace from the typical Colombian food we’ve been having) and get some footage of the Chivas, Colombian party buses. Boca Grande is not as charming as the old city but it’s a nice change of pace from the constant touts and vendors hounding you to buy buy, buy!

Dinner @ Bazurto Social Club in Getsmani, Cartagena

The Next day, we shot some more in the old city during the day. We find an English speaking tour guide Rolando, who agreed to be on camera with me and gave me the lowdown on a couple of historic spots in the old city including the famous Plaza Santo Domingo, where  back in the day, slaves were bought and sold but today feature touristy restaurants with outdoor eating with live entertainment like traditional Afro-Latino dancing troupes, etc.

We get a few more establishing shots in before rain once again interrupts our plans.

Renzo enjoys some Champeta music

We chilled for a bit at the hotel and then headed to a cool little restaurant owned by my friend Flavia called “Bazurto Social Club”  on the edge of Getsmani for dinner. We were in luck because that night they were featuring live Champeta music,  which was perfect to get us in the mood for our trip to San Basilio Palenque the next day. Tomorrow was to be a long day, so we hit the hay early, but not before doing some damage on the dance floor. While Moe and Renzo were dancing for fun, I was doing my “please no more rain” dance. I hope it works.

Moe tearing up the dance floor at Bazurto Social Club

San Vicente Thermals

We woke up early (are you sensing a theme here?) to head to the San Vicente Termales (Thermals), a beautiful, eco-touristic retreat about 1 and ½ hours outside of Pereira.  We were met by Laura (our film student assistant) and Alexa, our bi-lingual guide that had been recommended to us and we had met the night before.

The terrain of the winding road was really rough from the rains with the small rental car bottoming out numerous times, but the scenery was incredible.

River that flows through San Vicente Termales

We arrived in a dreamland of exotic foliage, waterfalls and ponds (thermals) with steam wafting from them.

The first thing we did was to take a hike and after Renzo fell and barely escaped pitching into the rolling rapids (along with the camera) we realized tennis shoes were NOT the right footwear for trekking in these parts, so if you go, wear boots!

Alexa and I then did a canopy, the 2nd canopy ride in my life (all in the past week) across an incredible landscape of greenery and trees whizzing by and below.  I did mine superman style which is laying belly towards the ground and going face first. Very cool!

Alexa taking a canopy ride

We then hit the thermals and it was like a really, really warm bath outside in the mountain air surrounded by trees, flowers and the sound of nature. It was incredible and naturally heated from the nearby and (I hope!) inactive volcano.

We broke for a delicious lunch and the owner, who is a well known expert on the healing power of thermals and somewhat of a celebrity in these parts, pulled out a crystal to read all of our energy. All but one of us had negative energy, so one by one he fixed us up.

After lunch it began to rain but thankfully that passed and we were able to continue shooting my favorite part, which is getting buried up to our faces in hot volcanic sand, followed by a Turkish bath, an  invigorating but painfully cold water rinse from a natural spring and then we hit the thermal spas again.

This combination supposedly opens your pores and allows the natural minerals to get inside, healing you from the stress of life from the inside out.  I don’t know about all that but I will tell you I felt like I could sleep for a week afterwards.

But wait, there was more. Then we were given mud baths from the natural algae pools. The greenish mud didn’t smell great but it was warm and gooey and afterwards my skin has never felt so soft, like a baby’s behind!

One of the many naturally warmed pools of San Vicente (75-80 degrees)

The drive back was exquisite with the sun setting over coffee country. A magical day thanks to the hospitality of the people from the San Vicente Termales.  If you’re ever in coffee country you really should check them out and their overnight accommodations are both charming and reasonably priced. You can find out more about them at their website HERE.

Some of the beautiful flora of San Vicente

Renzo and I grab a late dinner and discuss our progress and give feedback to each other.  So far so good and how could I complain after a whole day of pampering?

I think I’m beginning to dig this job!

Check out more beautiful photos from San Vicente Termales HERE