Wow! There is a lot of interest in this trip even though the details, including exact dates and cost, have yet to be worked out. And this may be why!
A number of people have already sent in the $100US/person deposit (in the form of a check) to make sure they have a spot on the trip to Cuba in December, and since we will be limiting attendance to 14 people, I have a feeling that we will fill it very quickly. If we do fill the December trip and I feel confident we have enough interest to support a second trip in January, we will offer one and those people who have sent in their deposits will have the option of choosing which trip they want to go on with priority based on the order in which their deposits were received.
As a general rule, I hold on to the initial $100 deposits until I know for sure the trip is a go and have details to share regarding the exact dates and price. I hope to have that information within a month. If for some reason, we can’t pull the trip together, I simply tear up the deposits and you are off the hook. Otherwise the deposits are non-refundable and you will be asked to make a second payment.
So, if you want to make sure you have a place on our ‘ukulele trip to Cuba, please respond by return email as soon as possible and I will let you know how to go from there.
This is what the trip is looking like so far. Please note that flexibility is going to be key in enjoying this trip because I understand from the folks who know, that things are somewhat spontaneous in Cuba. (I love it all already!)
Day 1 Group flight from Fort Lauderdale to Havana, arriving in Havana in the late afternoon, in time for a welcome party and get acquainted string and sing along….and perhaps a little late night jazz club hopping.
Days 2 – 3 Will be spent in Havana with plenty of time to make music together, learn some new rhythms and techniques, take a ride in a vintage car, indulge in a walking tour of the four main plazas of Old Havana, visit the Jazz Club la Zorra y el Cuervo, the historic Hotel Capri, the National Museum of Music, the National Museum of Fine Arts, Callejón de Hamel, Jaimanitas, and Havana Compass Dance, and more. (Phew!) What we miss in the first few days, we can pick up at the end of the trip.
Day 4 We will make our way to Trinidad via the Zapata Peninsula with stops at Pálpite and the Corimacao Artistic Group, where we can share our music and instruments with local musicians. We’ll also visit the Bay of Pigs and the two beaches that served as the landing points for the 1961 invasion. We’ll also visit beautiful Cienfuegos before arriving in Trinidad, a charming UNESCO World Heritage site and Cuba’s foremost colonial town.
Days 5 and 6 Will be spent exploring Trinidad with visits to the Plaza Mayor, the Museo Palacio Cantero, and the local artisan street market. We will also be able to visit some local artists and musicians gather with the locals at the Casa de Musica at sunset for a cocktail and some authentic salsa. While in Trinidad we might also visit Playa Ancon Beach and go snorkeling and/or hike to the waterfall at Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes. So much to do here….we might add an extra day.
Day 7 and 8 We travel to Matanzas, a vibrant cultural hub that hosts one of Cuba’s finest theaters and is the birthplace of some of its most eloquent poets and writers. During our stay we will visit Ediciones Vigia, a very unique and creative book publishing house and partake in the local music scene that gave the world a number of Afro-Cuban musical traditions, including the rumba and an assemblage of instruments including conga drums, claves, palitos (sticks), marugas (iron shakers), and cajones (packing cases) and vocals alternating between the lead singer and an answering coro (chorus). Here too, we will have an opportunity to visit a number of local musicians and share a little ukulele joy.
Days 9 and 10 We return to Havana with a stop along the way at La Terraza de Cojimar, a favorite watering hole of Ernest Hemingway with a fabulous view of Cojímar Bay, where Hemingway would go fishing and from where he met the fisherman who was the inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea. We’ll have more time to visit the sites and make music together, finishing off out journey with one last social and music-filled night together.
Day 11 We head back to the USA.