29 Dec 2012

We're booking now ~ feliz año nuevo!

The happy chaos of Christmas has barely subsided and New Year's Eve festivities are being planned.

Plans are progressing with the April 4 Zumba trip. I now have six confirmed and two more who just need to do the paperwork and send me the money, honey.

So far, there are two couples (including my hubby and me), a mother and her teen-aged daughter and, pending paperwork, two single women who know each other but haven't seen each other in years and don't know they will be going to Cuba together! Isn't this fun?!

I can tell already that this is going to be a great group to hang out with! Don't wait too long, if you're considering joining us - the deadline is Jan. 31 and it will not be extended. Please see the previous post for all necessary details.

Until next year, happy holidays!


10 Dec 2012

Marea del Portillo 2013 Zumba party!

APRIL 4 – Go to Cuba with Jenny & Isabel
JAN. 31 – Deadline for booking; seats are limited
Need a special Christmas gift? Couples are welcome.

Today in Muskoka, the snow is as fierce and consistent as the sun in Cuba. I can no longer pretend it’s not winter.

I am coping by putting another log on the fire, and another and another, but I’m still chilled. I am considering rum. To warm my ears, I have a CD by Compay Segundo (Buena Vista Social Club member) playing, in recognition of his son’s recent death; he, too, was a well-respected Cuban musician. Most importantly, to cope, I am also planning my next trip to Cuba!

In my experience, the best strategy for weathering the too-long northern winters is by plotting escape. For me, the brightest light at the end of a cold, snowy tunnel is sunshine, particularly that which is found at Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, in southern Cuba.

For a few years now, I’ve been organizing group trips to this charming little resort, usually in April and October. The one that typically departs in October is intended for women only and has a yoga theme. Optional classes are offered daily, thanks to the wonderful Wendy Martin of Sacred Breath Yoga in Huntsville, who regularly travels to Marea del Portillo with my groups.

Here’s a link to Wendy’s website, including some great photos of her in Cuba:

In April 2013, I’m very excited to be able to offer a Zumba-themed trip for the first time, in conjunction with the amazing Isabel Arias Santos. She’s a former Cuban marathon runner who now resides in Victoria, BC, and is a certified Zumba instructor.  As with yoga, Zumba classes will be optional – everything is optional when you’re on holiday, right?! But, my guess is that the infectious Latin rhythms and Isabel’s enthusiasm for this form of dance-based exercise will entice a lot of rookies into joining the fun.

Here’s a link to Isabel’s website, so you’ll have a small sample of what she does:

For the April to Zumba 2013 trip, several accommodation options will be available, and prices differ according to occupancy. If you want a room to yourself, you’ll have to pay a bit more; if you don’t mind sharing with a friend or two, the cost per person is a little cheaper. I usually encourage people to sign up for the VIP Cabana package, because it’s a good deal – it includes a bunch of perks that you would otherwise have to pay extra for, such as a sunset cruise, lobster dinner, wall safe and a fully stocked mini bar. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can opt for the basic Marea Hotel room and only sign up for the “extras” you really, really want.

Since Club Amigo Marea del Portillo is an all-inclusive resort, food and beverages are completely covered – from cappuccino by the pool in the morning to a snack at the grill after the evening’s stage show, and all you can eat at the buffet three times a day. The hotel and cabanas that my group will be booked into are in the beach-front Marea del Portillo section of the resort. However, if the Farallon section is open, you are welcome to use the pool, restaurants and other facilities there too.

Here’s a link to an overview of Club Amigo Marea del Portillo (scroll down
to “Bonus features” for a list of what’s included in the VIP package):

Anyone who has traveled with me knows that I work very hard to get the best possible prices for my groups, and I do not charge a fee for my services. The rates I’ve been quoted are less than what is posted on the Sunwing website. If those prices drop before Jan. 31, I will be able to get a deeper discount for my group and, believe me, I will watch their website like a hawk! I pride myself on getting good prices.

For more information on my groups, the humanitarian work I do in Cuba,
 booking forms & other interesting stuff, here’s a link to my site:

To book this trip, please contact me, Jenny Cressman, via
email jennicacuba@gmail.com or phone 705-788-1791.

If you want to join the April 2013 group, here’s what you need to know:

     • We depart April 4 from Toronto for 7 or 14 nights in Cuba.

Seats are limited on this flight, so don’t delay!

• Booking deadline is Jan. 31, 2013.

• This is an all-inclusive resort package, covering accommodation, food, beverages, flight (Toronto to/from Cuba) & taxes – no hidden fees.

• There are several options to choose from…
BASIC HOTEL ROOM (per person) for 7 nights:
                   - Single   $748                        - Double   $678                        - Triple   $658

    VIP CABANA DEAL (per person) for 7 nights:
                   - Single   $798                        - Double   $738                        - Triple   $718

BASIC HOTEL ROOM (per person) for 14 nights:
                   - Single   $988                        - Double   $858                        - Triple   $818

    VIP CABANA DEAL (per person) for 14 nights:
                   - Single   $1058                       - Double   $918                       - Triple   $888

Zumba is $65/week (April 4-11 only) – offered up to twice daily, for varying fitness levels; full fee goes to Isabel & payment in advance is preferred.

Thanks for reading this. Hope you can join me in Cuba in April, or one day!
Chau, Jenny

8 Sep 2012

Hello my friends! (Hola mis amigos!)

Welcome to JennicaCuba (YennicaCuba), a site set up to provide information to anyone interested in travelling to Cuba with me, Jenny Cressman. It may also be helpful for people going to Cuba without me, of course...but that wouldn't be as much fun!

This is the next stage in the evolution of my involvement with Cuba, and this site will continue to grow as my projects and tours expand. The trips and other activities I organize are primarily focussed on Marea del Portillo in the Granma region of southeastern Cuba, where my heart is inexplicably, inextricably drawn. Several times a year, my body follows it there.

In 2009, I stumbled upon a humble little resort called Club Amigo Marea del Portillo. I had never been to an all-inclusive resort before; that style of holiday never really interested me but, since I am a curious person, I decided to try it one dreary winter. The biggest reason for choosing it was that, at the time, this was the most inexpensive place I could find! It continues to be very affordable, I've learned.

Since that initial visit, I've been returning on a regular basis. Why? That's a big little question! The easiest answer is to say I fell in love – not with a person but with the people, their culture and the lovely landscape. Cuba is a remarkable country and this place, in particular, is very special. I'm certainly not the only one who is enthralled and enamoured by Marea del Portillo, or Cuba in general. This humble little resort has one of the highest rate of returning customers on the entire island.

For me, however, just making friends and hanging out there wasn't enough. I wanted to do something that would help the surrounding community. I began organizing groups and encouraging people who travel with me to get involved in some of my small-scale humanitarian projects. So it began.

To find out more, please peruse this site and read all about it! Maybe you will want to travel with me. Maybe you will want to support what I'm doing in another way. Maybe not. Maybe you will gain a little knowledge about Cuba or be inspired to do something to assist and empower people in another part of the country. Maybe you will just enjoy reading what I've written and looking at some of my photos. That's fine.

The invitation to join me is wide open but it is just that – an invitation. Even if you sign up for one of my group trips, there is no pressure to do anything....except to treat people the way you would like to be treated and, whenever possible, to smile and be happy!

Thanks for reading this much!

Keep smiling,
Jenny (a.k.a. in Cuba, "Yennica")