11 Feb 2019

Here's a great Valentine's gift idea for someone special... including yourself

Happy Valentine's Day to ALL!
Dear Everyone,

Valentine's Day is about love but I think that includes love for friends and family, too, not just significant others. And, it can be a reminder to love and care for ourselves.

So, if you're looking for a last-minute Valentine's gift for someone you love - including yourself - you may want to consider going to Cuba with me and my crew! There are about half a dozen seats available at present.


The Feb. 8 deadline is past, so the prices MAY go up! Contact me as soon as possible & I'll do my best to match the original rates, as noted below. 

28 Jan 2019

Cuba's warmth awaits! Let's go...

NOW BOOKING my April 10 group trip!

As promised, here are the revised prices for my JennicaCuba group trip to Marea del Portillo, Cuba. We will leave from Toronto on April 10 and you can return either before or after Easter, which is on April 21 this year.

We'll have our usual private "Welcome Dinner" at the resort, complete with special music, of course. We'll also have an exclusive excursion to a nearby village for a "Cuban Fiesta" that will feature a different group of top-notch musicians and an awesome, home-style meal.

If you want to be home for Easter, you can join the group for one week, returning April 17. Or, if you would like to experience Easter in Cuba, book for two weeks and return on April 24. For anyone interested in going to a local church for Easter Sunday, I can assist with arrangements.

For those familiar with the Club Amigo Marea del Portillo resort complex, the Farallón del Caribe hotel will be open only during the first week; at present, it is scheduled to close for the season on April 17. Even though our accommodation will be in the beach-level Marea section (hotel or cabañas), you'll be able to go "up the hill" to dine at the Farallón, see the evening show and use the pool or other facilities as long as it remains open.

Please note that, since the booking deadline is so close to our departure date, you will be required to pay the full amount for your trip instead of just a deposit. As always, the first 10 people to request Sunwing insurance will be able to take advantage of their low prices for cancellation and medical insurance packages. This insurance, however, must be paid for upon booking. If you want to take a second checked bag or a bike, these items must also be paid for at booking (but they can be cancelled later, if you change your mind).

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me!

Looking forward to hearing from you,

5 Jan 2019

New departure date for April Cuba trip!

Does April 10 work better for you?

"That's the plan," one of my friends used to say, then pause before adding, "until we change it." Yes, plans sometimes need to be revised. I usually lead group trips to Marea del Portillo after Easter. This year, however, the holiday falls rather late in April, pushing more markedly into Spring.

After discussion with folks who were willing to travel with me on April 24, we decided to shift the dates forward. The departure date will now be April 10, which will allow those who want to be home for Easter to go for one week, then blast back to Canada, hide eggs, eat chocolate and commune with loved ones. The rest of us can hang out in warm, wonderful Cuba for a little longer without stressing about yard work or whatever.

Two things to be aware of regarding this revised plan:
1.) I won't be able to get a new quote until the end of January, so booking will not begin until about Jan. 29 or shortly thereafter.
2.) You may need to pay in full for this trip when you book because Sunwing requires full payment at least 60 days prior to departure.

I hope the revised departure date will allow more people to join the posse for this exclusive JennicaCuba trip to my favorite place in the sun. I also hope Sunwing will be offering better prices by the end of January!

Bye for now,

31 Dec 2018

Some sunrise thoughts for 2019...

Because of the significance of this 2009 photo, it serves as my website logo image.

The sun will soon rise on a new year

The photo above may look like a sunset but it was really a sunrise, taken on the beach at Marea del Portillo, Cuba, back in 2009. I was up at about 4:30 a.m., after a minor earthquake punctuated my semi-sleepless night. It was such a mild "coffee stirrer" that most other resort guests didn't even wake up. For me, however, it was significant.

I'd been tossing and turning, thinking about ways I could work with people in the surrounding rural community to improve their lives. One of the things I came up with was leading tour groups there, since that could help to create more work opportunities in an area where the tourism industry is the biggest employer. Then – BOOM! – the earthquake seemed to say, "Yes, do it!" So I did.

Now, as we move into 2019, I'm still wishing I could do more to assist and empower the people in that region. I take groups there twice a year and, when I lead bus tours of the island, I make sure Marea del Portillo is one of our stops. I do have other projects in the works, of course, and I'll be sure to let you know when they come to fruition!

Meanwhile, for those who are thinking about joining my April 24 group, please remember that the deadline to sign up is Jan. 4. Also, if you're pondering one week or two, here's something to keep in mind: May 1st is International Workers' Day and, in Cuba, that's cause for a big celebration. I attended the parade in Pilón last year and used my photos to make a little video. Here's a link to it... May Day!

Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo!
Until next year,

27 Dec 2018

NOW BOOKING: April 24 group trip to Marea del Portillo – deadline is Jan. 4

Deposits needed by Jan. 4 for this trip!!!

The timeline for booking my annual April trip to Marea del Portillo, Cuba, is a shorter than usual, so please reply promptly, if you want to join this group.

For those of you who have enough time available, I would encourage you to consider going for two weeks, April 24-May 8. Since Sunwing is now charging $400/person in taxes & fees whether you go for one or two weeks, the prices per week are better when you stay longer. The first week (April 24-May 1) will be when the group activities are offered but, don't worry, there will be lots of fun options during the second week too... or you can just relax!

Please note: I will be out of the office Jan. 7-26. During that time, I'll have limited Internet access, so I won't be able to make late additions to the group, as I've sometimes done in the past. IF space is still available after Jan. 26, I may be able to add more people but there's no guarantee there will still be seats on the plane. In other words, if you want to go, don't procrastinate!

Another thing to note: A maximum of 10 people in a group can purchase cancellation &/or medical insurance through Sunwing & it must be done upon booking. So, if you want this insurance, let me know when you sign up.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

19 Dec 2018

Holiday greetings + a note about April

Warm greetings to all... with warmer times to come!

I've been working on getting good prices for my annual April trip to Marea del Portillo, Cuba, and I hope to have them very soon! When I have the best possible rates for both one week and two weeks, I'll send out my usual flyer, either before Christmas or shortly thereafter.

If you want to join Gord and me on this trip, however, you'll need to act fast. The deadline for booking will be during the first week of January (at the latest, it will be Jan. 5).

Keep this trip in mind, if you need a special gift for someone, or for yourself! We'll be flying out of Toronto on April 24, the Wednesday following Easter. Meanwhile, best wishes for wonderful holidays!

Bye for now,

28 Nov 2018

Just checking in...

Getting ready to roll in a Cuban truck-bus

When I lead tours to Cuba, I always try to offer unique activities, beyond the realm of ordinary tourism. During my most recent group trip to Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, my favorite little resort at the southern end of the island, I organized a pig roast party with live music in the nearby village of Mota. To transport the group there, we took the camión in the photo above. A truck that has been converted to a bus is a common form of transportation in Cuba, though most of them are not painted as beautifully as this one!

Museo el Carnaval
For the two-week tour of Cuba that I'll be leading in January, we'll be in a more modern vehicle. However, I'll still do my best to provide opportunities for cultural exploration and experiences that you wouldn't get on a standard packaged tour. On this upcoming tour, since the group is smaller, we'll be able to stay in casas particulares (Cuban B&Bs) for much of our trip, which should be quite interesting. I'm also excited about taking everyone to a small museum in Santiago that I checked out in November – the Carnival Musuem, where they have an interactive music/dance show. Every tour is different.

Looking ahead to my annual post-Easter group trip to Marea del Portillo, we may have another fiesta in Mota or we may try something new... stay tuned! I'm currently watching for good prices for that trip, which will likely depart from Toronto on April 24. I hope to be able to send out a notice about it before Christmas so, if you're looking for a special gift, keep Cuba in mind.

On that note, let me remind you that I can also put together customized trips for families and friends. If you want me to set up a trip to Marea del Portillo for your crew, for example, I need a minimum of 10 people in order to get a group rate at that resort. And, although I specialize in Cuba, I can book trips to other locations too. Well, that's enough verbiage for now.

Hasta luego,

Museo el Carnaval music & dance performance

Cuartel Moncada & Museo Histórico del 26 de Julio