Yoga + Cuban Art
Our Yoga + Art Retreat is a new creative retreat collaboration taking place in Havana, Cuba with a group of inspirational women who have been longtime friends and travel companions around the globe.
Darcy Vasudev is the founder and artist at Henna Lounge based in Oakland, California who will be leading our creative process in Havana through henna adornment, photo tutorials, and painting workshops with local artists on the ground.
Aimee Martinez is the founder of Colectivo ART based in Los Angeles with her finger on the artistic pulse in Cuba. She will be curating our art experiences through gallery and museum visits and artist introductions and studio tours in Havana. If you are interested in acquiring unique works from Cuban artists this is chance!
Together we will step back to an era of luxurious mansions and colorful vintage automobiles, with the distinctive clave and timbale rhythms putting a swing in your every step. And yet, for all of its faded retro charm, Cuba has a decidedly youthful, modern face as well, with über hip art galleries and restaurants.
We invite you to join us in this fascinating island country, where we will open ourselves up to a simpler and more joyful way of life, one where self-expression and real connections are embraced, and WiFi hotspots are few and far between. We will stay in a beautifully restored Casa Particular to fully immerse ourselves in the local culture.
Most mornings begin with a yoga practice led by Christina, the creator of Yoga & Adventure Worldwide, to wake up the body and start with a fresh mental canvas. You’ll need a fresh canvas because Havana will paint your soul, and all of your senses, with colors you’ve never imagined. Cuba is a photographer’s dream, and Darcy will help you find the manual settings on your camera so you can capture its charm. We will sample the local salsa dance scene, visit a working artist’s atelier, explore art galleries and museums, and visit the paths taken by the famous writer, Ernest Hemingway during his stint in the country. A henna session with Darcy is included, yet another way to enjoy the ephemeral nature of life. And a beach clean-up adventure will ensure that we leave behind only footprints and echoes of laughter.
For those of you looking to delve a bit deeper into the art world, Aimee will be your guide through galleries and museums featuring famous Cuban artists, some of whom we will have the pleasure of getting to know on our trip. This is the perfect way to find that special piece that speaks to you and have the experience and the story of sharing how you acquired a unique work of Cuban art.
No artistic experience is necessary, just a willingness to explore the world, unplug from the daily hustle, and open yourself up to the inspiration that can be found in nature, culture, and community. Don’t forget to bring your yoga mat and a sketchbook to record your memories of the week. There is also plenty of unscripted time for you to explore on your own, or with new friends.
THIS YOGA + ART RETREAT INCLUDES :
– 5 nights accommodations in our own stunning Casa Particular in Vedado
– Three Vinyasa yoga practices (bring your mat!)
– Breakfast daily and all dinners together as a group
– Donation offerings for families and working artists
– Henna adornment by Darcy of Henna Lounge
– Photography tutorial with theory, practical shooting excursions, and portraits
– Museum of Modern Cuban Art museum visit & local gallery tours
– Painting workshop with a local artist in their studio
– Salsa Dancing class at local dance school
– Beach day on a gorgeous deserted beach
– Hemingway excursion to the fishing village where he wrote, his home, and his haunts in Havana
– Classic Car ride along the Malecon
– Night out to the hippest gallery and performance space in town, Fabrica de Arte Cubano
– Roundtrip airport transfers from Havana International Airport on scheduled retreat days
Direct flights into Havana are available from several airports in the USA as well as most hubs abroad. Health insurance and a tourist visa is required by Cuba to enter the country and is available with the airline directly. Please let us know if you have any questions about travel details.
What’s not included :
– Airfare, tourist visa, and health insurance
– Three lunches
– Travel insurance
– Staff Gratuities
YOGA + ART RETREAT IN CUBA ITINERARY*
DAY ONE : Arrival & Ground
Arrival Transportation from Havana International Airport
3:00pm Casa Particular in Vedado arrival and check-in
5pm Organizing donations for distribution
6-8:30pm Welcome circle & happy hour in the garden with Henna by Henna Lounge
8:30pm Dinner together as a group at our host house
DAY TWO : Photography & Art
8am Coffee, tea & fruit available
9-10am Group Yoga Practice
10:15-11:30am Breakfast and photo tutorial with Darcy
12:15pm Museum of Modern Art & out to the streets practicing photo skills in Old Havana
2:30-4pm Lunch (not included in pack) at El del Frente
4:30-6pm Art Gallery visit with Aimee
8:30pm Dinner out together
DAY THREE : Salsa & Painting
9am Breakfast at Casa Particular
12-2pm Salsa Dancing workshop
2:30pm Lunch (not included in pack) at La Guarida
4pm Classic car rides down the Malecon
5-7pm Painting workshop w/ a local artist
8:30pm Dinner together at our Casa Particular
DAY FOUR : Beach & Nightlife
8am Coffee, tea & fruit available
9-10am Group Yoga Practice
10:15am Breakfast at Casa Particular
12-5pm Secluded beach day with lunch by local fishermen
8:30pm Dinner & gallery visit at La Fabrica de Arte Cubano
DAY FIVE : Gallery & History
9am Breakfast at Casa Particular
12-2pm Art gallery with Aimee
2:30-4pm Lunch together (not included in package)
4:30-6:30pm Hemingway Excursion around Havana
7:30-9pm Closing Circle & Yoga with Christina
9pm Dinner together at Casa Particular
DAY SIX : Departure
8am Coffee, tea, fruit & breakfast available
Leave for Havana International Airport
*Please note that our Itinerary is subject to change as necessary according to circumstances and any unforeseen changes in our plans. Our intention is to keep as close to this schedule as possible but this is Cuba and at times we could find ourselves at the mercy of the powers that be. We will adjust and accommodate as best as possible if this occurs.
Choose a Private or Shared Accommodation :
These rooms have 1 king or queen bed with full bathroom ensuite.
King or Queen Bedroom $2,285usd private; $1,945usd shared bed per person
SHARED DOUBLE ROOMS
These rooms have 2 beds with full bathroom ensuite.
Queen or Twin Bed $1,945usd per person
**You must provide your bedmate for this option. We do not pair strangers in the same bed but can pair roommates looking for a shared room.
A STUNNING CASA PARTICULAR JUST FOR OUR RETREAT!
Casa Particulares are private homes that rent out a few rooms to travelers. Staying in a Cuban home is an incredible way to get a real taste of the culture and to experience this Caribbean lifestyle. Our homes for the retreat are particularly charming and hosted by some amazing families.
Our home for the retreat is located in the residential neighborhood of Vedado, the best and most central location in Havana. A stroll around the streets here will be filled with eye candy for architecture enthusiasts and lots of green spaces with lively Cuban daily life in action. Our casa particular has a front porch for you to watch the day go by or you can choose to relax in the back garden in a swinging chair and order from the 24 hour bar a fresh mint mojito or snack to wind down your day in Cuba.
Deposits* of $500usd are due to secure your space in the retreat.
The balance of your retreat (minus your $500usd initial deposit*) is due 60 days prior to arrival. All details for this will be emailed to the group two months before the retreat.
You may pay with a credit card via PayPal or you may choose a bank wire transfer or deposit to settle your balance. We also accept Bitcoin.
MAKE YOUR DEPOSIT HERE :
Please check availability with us for accommodations before making your $500usd deposit*
Roommates should book together. If you would like to share a room and do not have a roommate we will provide one for you if possible. In the case that there is no one to share a room we ask that you take a private economy room instead.
To make your deposit, please click the link below. You will be directed to Paypal.com
Cancellations made within 60 days or less of arrival are 100% non refundable.
All initial deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Please note that with the ever-changing policies with travel to Cuba we will adjust our Humanitarian trips as necessary to make it possible to carry out our retreats as planned. By making deposits towards your trip you accept the risk that alternative routes may become necessary in order to join. We will do all we can in order to assist you in your travel needs. All deposits are non-refundable and non-transferrable in these cases. Thank you for your understanding.
The acceptance of a verbal or written confirmation from YOGA ADVENTURES WORLDWIDE (YAWW) constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions listed herein. Participants are responsible to be adequately insured, therefore Traveler’s Insurance is strongly recommended*. YAWW and its staff assume no responsibility nor liability for any delay, loss, damage, injury or accident with regards to persons or property which may be caused by fault or negligence of any third party vendor. This includes hotels, transportation providers, and local operators participating in part for our services. YAWW shall be held harmless for any expense caused by injury or accident, to any participants as well as any loss or damage of personal items while on our tours. We reserve the right to make any changes to services and itineraries, with or without notice, which may become necessary. YAWW are not to be held responsible for changes in itinerary beyond our control, this includes bad weather or hurricanes; any inconvenience or complication caused by a hurricane’s direct hit, near miss, or significant threat of a hurricane strike. There are no refunds due to flight cancellations or changes, strikes, labor disputes, lockouts, threats or acts of terrorism, acts of war or declared war.
We highly recommend that you purchase trip insurance to protect your investment. AIG offers Travel Guard at affordable rates. You will be asked if you have chosen to purchase insurance or declined at final balance due.
By submitting payments toward your retreat you accept these terms and conditions.
If you have any questions regarding the details of this retreat please feel free to contact us to set up a Skype conversation or to receive further info via email.
Travel Tips Guide
OUR TRIPS ARE LEGIT!
Travel to Cuba for US Citizens is legal with our yoga retreat programs. We operate under the US Department of the Treasury, Division of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) People to People (non-educational) general license 515.565(b). This license allows us to travel as a group to Cuba and participate in a full schedule as outlined by the US government while we are in Cuba.
Flights are available directly from the USA to Havana and are very affordable. We send you with all the legal documents you need to travel in and out of Cuba as required by US law.
Once travel plans have been made, regardless of any future changes in regulations you are still allowed to follow through with your original plans as they were when set in motion. That said, we do not anticipate any further setbacks in this area of the government.
You will travel to Havana with your own tourist visa just like any country. You purchase this on your own through your airline at the airport in the city in which you are flying into Havana from. Your airline can offer further guidance in this area. The visa costs between $30-50usd in addition to your flight (note that flying through Miami you’ll see a visa rate of $100usd so try to avoid that if at all possible). There is also a way to obtain your travel visa in advance online but shipping costs apply so it might not be cost effective to order in advance. Please contact your airline directly for options and pricing once you have your flights.
You are required to hold onto this visa throughout the duration of your time in Cuba as they ask for it on your departure from the country. There are no departure taxes leaving Cuba.
Please feel free to contact us with any other specific questions or concerns you have regarding travel. We are here to set your mind at ease and help you in any way possible. We have been running retreats in Cuba for more than three years now with much consistency and have not had any problems thus far whatsoever and do not anticipate any to come.
DONATIONS AND WHAT TO BRING FOR OFFERINGS
Please plan to bring a duffle or suitcase full of items to be donated to children, women, men, and families in need in Havana. Plan to bring a variety of items of clothing (remember the climate is hot and hotter but chilly in winter so a hoodie and long pants also could serve especially this time of year), toys, books (in Spanish if you can find them or basic workbooks in English), hygiene products, underclothes, and any other items you feel appropriate or that you have to offer. Sizes can range from babies to teens, both boy and girl please as well as adult clothing and other items that you may have around. If you have items in your own closet that you can forego feel free to add those in. Think basics as those tend to be the most treasured. Last time I was there white sheets and towels were being suggested as they are hard to come by as well as clothes hangers and wax for marble! It’s the little things I guess…so if any of those are overflowing from your cabinets feel free to toss them into your bags!
We also will be supporting local artists with hard to get supplies so please drop by your local art store or your own studio and pick up oil paint tubes. A variety of brushes, palettes, and canvas rolls if you can fit them into your suitcase (you could roll up some canvas and fit it inside your yoga mat or fold up both when packing. They can iron out the creases later!) These are a few suggestions. We will separate them out on opening night and distribute them throughout our stay.
Thank you so much in advance for your generosity. Keeping in mind the recent hurricane that pummeled the island, Caritas Cubana the organization we work with on the ground distributes their accumulated donations across the island far and wide to reach those most in need.
COMMUNICATION AND WHERE TO FIND YOU IN CUBA
Getting online in Cuba is tricky. If you need to check in there is a place you can do so a couple blocks away at a hotel. You need to get a scratch off card from a guy on the corner (hopefully he is around) and enter it into your phone or computer. Bringing a laptop seems excessive so I think it’s best to embrace the idea that you are literally ‘offline’ and enjoy that. It’s kind of fabulous and freeing!
In case of any emergency have your people send an email to us with URGENT in the subject and we will get the message to you. Also we have a Cuban cell phone if you or your people need to reach me directly there.
MONEY : HOW MUCH AND WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING
Cuba operates on 2 currencies: CUC, the Cuban Convertible Peso which is for tourists and the Cuban Peso which is for national use only (though this is slowly changing to one currency and we will update you in the group email a few weeks prior to the trip with any changes to this).
You should bring USD or if you can get EUROS from your local bank it might be a better exchange rate as they take 10% of US Dollars when exchanging. There is an exchange desk at the airport in Havana (one inside upstairs and one outside when you exit from customs) and also a place to exchange cash a few blocks away from the host house in Vedado if the airport lines are long. Upon arrival at the host house, we can point you in the right direction to exchange your money if they have not closed. You will need your passport to make these transactions.
Your airport transfer is included in the package so you won’t need any cash until later. If the line is short at the airport and you want to exchange cash just let your driver know and he will wait for you to do so!
Please keep in mind that exchanging money bit by bit is ideal so you don’t have to change it back when we leave.
For Americans, your bank card will not work in Cuba (and shouldn’t be used anyway) so you want to make sure to bring enough money with you. Cuba is not as inexpensive as you might think so plan to spend what you would in say Manhattan or San Francisco daily for food and other purchases. With that in mind you’ll have enough and likely go home with some cash.
Our unique People to People Yoga Retreat in Cuba
as captured by Anna Fishkin and edited by Reed Rickert of Modern Maya : Nomadic Media Collective
Some of our ‘intermediate’ salsa dancers showing their moves after a retreat.
What started out as a little Cuba retreat video became a short film about our adventures there. We turned it over to the local artists in Havana to create this little gem and we LOVE it!
Always in demand as a teacher, Darcy Vasudev is an artist of exceptional skill and reputation. Even in informal situations, she is generous with sharing information and has a genuine desire to see others grow and succeed. Add to that her discriminating taste and eye for the beautiful, and it’s hardly surprising to find that she’s held in the highest regard not only by a cadre of loyal clients, but also by her peers in the body art industry. I look forward to spending time in her company at every opportunity, knowing it will be delightful and that I will undoubtedly glean some new gem of wisdom.
–Penni AZayer, The Henna Faerie
“Darcy was awesome! I used her for a fun event and she showed up on time and ready to rock. She’s adorable, super friendly and came with printed out design ideas for guests, but people were able to tell her what they wanted as well! She actually makes her own henna and it’s natural and smells amazing and makes the skin oh-so soft.”
–Stephanie Y., Berkeley, CA
“Darcy amazing. I had henna services from Henna Lounge before my bachelorette weekend, and I couldn’t be happier. The studio is relaxing and beautiful, and Darcy is a pleasure to spend a long time with. At her suggestion, I collected inspiration photos and shared them with her. The design we settled on had all the elements I wanted including my preferred religious symbols and my and my fiancé’ Hebrew names. I followed the aftercare instructions to the letter. It was hard, but the deep stain was totally worth it! I couldn’t be happier!”
–Yael S., Oakland, CA
“The best time in paradise! I had the best time on retreat in Tulum! It exceeded my expectations – everything from the location + accommodations, the yoga with Andrea and the food were exceptional. I traveled alone and loved how the days were thoughtfully planned but gave us lots of free time to explore. Christina and Sofi were awesome to communicate with and made Tulum feel like home. I’d come back in a heartbeat!”
–Shelby L. Vancouver, BC CAN
“Best thing I have done for myself! I loved the time I spent at Zamas with Yoga Adventures Worldwide. Christina and Sofi were very welcoming and made it a safe space to be in for 5 days. I traveled solo and was slightly nervous and was welcomed by their friendly faces and immediately felt comfortable. The Zamas hotel was also great and the house was clean and in a central location. The town of Tulum has many great restaurants and shops close by. The retreat schedule was perfect allowing time for yoga and plenty of free time to do other activities. I highly recommend a retreat with Yoga Adventures Worldwide and hope to try another retreat location in the future!”
–Tiffany Z. Pittsburg, PA USA
“I have to say my favorite thing about our new painting was the story that Aimee paired with it. She told us about the artist’s background and his vision behind the piece, which made the experience of purchasing the artwork that much more personal and touching. Her relationships with artists, galleries and cultural experiences there are evident through the experiences she shares. She clearly has a passion for the people, their stories and bringing exposure to their cultural experience as well as their art.”
–NM, Collector, Los Angeles, CA
“Trabajar con Aimee es muy sencillo, porque ella te cuida, te protege, como una mama, como una hermana, como una amiga. ”
Translation: “Working with Aimee is very simple, because she takes care of you, protects you, like a mother, like a sister, like a friend.” — Miguel Machado, Plastic Artist, Havana