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

6 Oct 2018

Thanksgiving greetings from Canada!

Thanksgiving greetings to all... albeit a bit early for some!

Since I live in Canada, the October harvest celebration takes precedence on my calendar, just as the November one did when I was growing up in the U.S. The Canadian Thanksgiving is also a personal marker for me because it means I'll be going to Cuba again soon!

At the end of October, my group of 24 will be heading for Marea del Portillo, my favorite little place in southern Cuba. After the group goes home this time, I'll be staying a couple of extra weeks to work on my writing. I'm nearing completion of my second novel, which is primarily set in Cuba, so it's nice to be able to write right there! Once it's done, I hope to find a publisher for both Cuban Kisses and the sequel, Cuban Missus. They blend romance and adventure with information about Cuban culture and history.

Since I'll be in Cuba for much of November, I won't be able to send a separate greeting at the appropriate time for the Americans on my email list. So, please consider this your well-in-advance good wishes for a lovely Thanksgiving!

Speaking of Americans, I'm looking forward to hanging out with some nice folks from that side of the border in January, when I'll be leading a tour of Cuba, from Holguin to Havana, Jan. 7-19 (flying out of Toronto). I can still add a few more people to that group; please contact me in the next two weeks, if interested.

Thinking further ahead, I usually lead a group trip to Marea del Portillo after Easter but, because that holiday isn't until April 21 in 2019, I may shift the departure date forward in the month, if I can get good prices. Stay tuned!

One final thought about future trips... a number of people have asked about going to Cuba when school's out for the summer. It would be quite hot in July or August, of course, but Cuban buses and most hotels have air conditioning. I'll send out an email later to suggest options and assess interest. Meanwhile, give it some thought. I'm game, if you are!

Hasta luego!

14 Sept 2018

A few seats remain for Jan. 7-19 tour!

Is touring Cuba on your bucket list?

If taking a road trip through Cuba is something you've always wanted to do, please read on...

I will be leading a small group of people on a tour of Cuba at the beginning of next year, Jan. 7-19, and a few seats are still available. This is a great opportunity to see this beautiful country, meet its wonderful people and enjoy its vibrant culture while learning about Cuba's interesting and dynamic "revolutionary" history.

Did you know that Cuba was under Spanish rule for over 400 years? Columbus claimed it for Spain in 1492 and their colonization did not end until the culmination of the Spanish-American War in the late 1800s. Since it took place in Cuba, this revolution should really be called the Spanish-Cuban-American War. And, according to some sources, the influence of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at San Juan Hill may not have been as big as American history books suggest.

This war, however, was only one of many revolutions that took place in Cuba, as you will learn on my tour. It is truly a revolutionary country in many ways, and not all involve military endeavors! Cuba is revolutionary in its approach to education and medicine, among other things.

As noted on the poster, the  booking deadline is Oct. 7 and the final payment will be due a month later. Don't miss your chance to join me for a very up-close-and-personal introduction to Cuba!

Hasta pronto,

P.S. - For a detailed itinerary, scroll down or click here.

9 Jun 2018

Better prices for Oct. 24 Cuba trip – but they're only good until June 19!

I'm happy to announce that we have new, improved prices for the Oct. 24 group trip to Marea del Portillo, Cuba! But, you must act fast because they are only valid until June 19. After that, you will still be able to join the group, as long as seats are still available, but the prices may go up. Sunwing likes to keep everyone guessing!

As you can see, the best deal for one week is cabaña accommodation and, for two weeks, it's the hotel (Marea). Both are beach level. The two-weekers will be returning on Nov. 7, which is when the flights from Montreal begin, the big hotel on the hill (Farallón) opens and high season officially starts. So, we'll be there when the resort is a bit more quiet, which I prefer. 

Hope you can join us! Don't hesitate to contact me, if you have any questions or want to sign up. I always like to talk about Cuba. And, I especially enjoy showing people around Marea del Portillo, my second home!

Hasta luego, Jenny

23 May 2018

Your beach chair is waiting...

It's time to sign up for this year's JennicaCuba October trip to Club Amigo Marea del Portillo. The prices noted on the flyer are valid until June 13, as long as seats are available, for either one or two weeks. Please note that the two-week spots will likely fill up fast since these rates are especially good!

If you have any questions or want to know the prices for the VIP Cabaña packages, don't hesitate to contact me by email (jennicacuba@gmail.com) or via my cell phone (647-216-1791). I will respond as promptly as possible.

Also, while I have your eyes, let me just offer a quick reminder that we still have space available for the January 2019 Cuban road trip (a.k.a. bus tour). For information on this exclusive tour, click here.

Hasta luego,

5 Apr 2018

Cuba in January? Start planning!


Is a trip to Cuba on your bucket list? If you want to learn more about this lovely little country's intriguing history and culture, the 2019 "Revolutionary Cuba" tour may be just the ticket! This exclusive JennicaCuba road trip through the Caribbean's largest island will provide an interesting, interactive way to investigate the landscape and get to know some of the people. 

We'll stay in several of Cuba's biggest and oldest cities, see some of its smallest villages and visit a number of its most significant sites. During our tour, we'll have structured group activities as well as free time for your own exploration or a little extra relaxation. Whenever possible, we'll stay in private homes known as "casas particulares" – the Cuban version of bed-and-breakfast accommodation. This will provide us with an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with local people and learn first-hand how they live. 

I'm excited about this Jan. 7-19 tour! As group leader, I'll be working in partnership with our English-speaking Cuban guide to make this a truly memorable travel experience. 

If you haven't already done so, please sign up for my email list (click on "Contact" above, right) and you'll receive my occasional updates about this and other trips. 

Muchas gracias,