News and Updates

Brexit and how it affects your travel

2018 - for those of you already registered for summer 2018 and beyond please  be aware that the venue may increase their costs to us for next season due to exchange rate changes and if this happens we will, sadly, have to pass the increase on to you. We would expect the increases to be minimal.

Some prices have risen due to exchange rates - sorry!

Updates - flight delays


My flight has been delayed. Can I get compensation?

Check the Citizens advice website for detailed information by following this link

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/holiday-cancellations-and-compensation/if-your-flights-delayed-or-cancelled/

Also read the following

Airlines don't have to pay out for delays caused by snow because weather is classified as an "extraordinary circumstance" – though some airlines may issue a refund at their discretion. For those of you flying to India you are almost certainly on a non EU airline so contact them direct to see exactly what you are entitled to.

According to Which magazine you can challenge your airline if you don't agree there were extraordinary circumstances – for example, if you are told you can't fly due to the snow, but other flights are departing. "Airlines may stretch the definition of extraordinary circumstances further than they should."

Which Magazine  states:-

If the delay is not caused by extraordinary circumstances you will be entitled to compensation under EU rules, but only if you are flying with an airline based in the EU or with a non-EU-based airline flying from an EU airport, and only if the delay is for two hours or more. If you are flying somewhere else or with a non-EU-based airline not flying from the EU you'll have to check that carrier's terms and conditions.

If you are delayed for two hours or more you are entitled to: two free phone calls, faxes or e-mails; free food and drinks; and free hotel accommodation if you need to stay overnight.

If your flight arrives at its destination three hours or more late you will receive compensation of between €250 and €600, depending on how far your flight takes you. So you'll get €250 if your three hour-delayed flight travels 1,500km or less (ie, London to Amsterdam), but €600 if your plane is delayed by four hours or more and travels at least 3,500km (ie, London to Sydney).

My flight has been cancelled. Will I get my money back?

If your flight is cancelled you should be offered either a refund or an alternative flight to your original destination.

For compensation you will have to look to the EU rules again, though if the delay is caused by snow – and thus an extraordinary circumstance – you might not get anything. If you are covered by EU regulations you will be entitled to travel assistance (such as help with rebooking for a later date) as well as meals and accommodation etc. Check the official EU website for more on your rights.

Call to book: 01273 564230

Welcome to Free Spirit Travel, UK's leading provider of yoga holidays

Cuba

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  • 2018/2019

    From £1075

    This yoga week includes educational activites and Cuban culture. Our beautiful beachside venue is close to Havana.

We have a limited amount of weeks at this venue, they are all "one-offs" for each teacher and are unlikely to be repeated.

For a preview of what a week at this venue looks like we have a video, click on this link  Cuba Video

 

First of all may we say many thanks to Kathy Parsons from www.RetreatInsider.com  for providing us with copy and photographs, she has been leading yoga retreats at this venue for a couple of years and kindly introduced us to it.

Join us here for a week of organic healthy food, long quiet beaches and invigorating yoga practice. We are about half an hour by bus, or 15 minutes by taxi,  from what has been named one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, Havana, Cuba.

   

We will be staying on the beautiful beaches of Playas del Este, 15 minutes outside of Havana city.

This is not a typical tourist resort; we are located in 'Tarara',  a gated community area where many local people holiday and where Che Guavara once stayed..

Our houses are close to the beach and our hosts, the Cuban Yoga team, are like a welcoming family taking great care of us. With it's unforgettable blue waters and soft white sand beaches, Cuba forces you to slow down and catch your breath

This is your retreat - you can choose to be really active, or choose to chill in a hammock

We will be visiting Havana on a full day excursion, described as the “city frozen in time” Havana’s beautiful cityscape is reminiscent of a time long ago .

Our hosts have promised to show you a side of Cuba that you won’t find anywhere else. The authentic and carefree culture of the Cuban people is a welcome reminder that happiness and inner-peace can come easily. .

In addition to our daily yoga classes and being immersed in the friendly, welcoming Cuban culture, you’ll have the opportunity to experience local cuisine, tour this unique and vibrant city, visit a world class organic farm, paddle board in a beautifully calm lagoon, try your hand at kite surfing (all optional), choose a spa service, or simply relax. We may even visit a night club.

 

Three organic, healthy meals will be served each day by Ernesto and his team. Ernesto is an expert local chef who uses only the best ingredients grown nearby.

Although mainly vegetarian, there will be optional fish and chicken served at some of the meals and there is unlimited coffee and tea provided.

If you feel like a cuba libra, beer or a glass of wine, there is a local bar on the property.

   

    
There will be lots of free time in the afternoon to read on the beach, or to paddle board on a beautiful nearby lagoon. For those who would love to try a new water sport, you can sign up for lessons with the experienced and talented teachers from Havana Kiteboarding Club!

We’ll also have a salsa dancing class (to get you ready for a night out in Havana if you so choose) and of course, hammocks at your disposal.

After dinner each evening, there will be a workshop or a bonfire and plenty of time for socializing or for taking time for yourself.
 

As well as the yoga clases with your teacher there will be opportunity for a one-to-one short yoga class with Eduardo Pimento, the Grandfather of yoga in Cuba.  You can discuss your yoga or you can chat to him about Cuban culture, he is great fun and happy to chat or teach as you wish.

Eduardo is one of the most talented Iyengar trained teachers in the world, he’s also a warm and kind person with an amazing sense of humour. Everyone also has the opportunity for this completely optional one-on-one yoga session with Eduardo.

Yoga

We have a beautiful newly built yoga shala,  large enough for 36 mats,  although we will be only 22 maximum - except on the evening that the Cubans join our yoga class.

 

There will be a class before breakfast each mornng and another class in the late afternoon or evening

 

 

 

In addition to our daily classes with our UK yoga teachers there is an optional exclusive one-on-one class with Cuban yoga master, Eduardo Pimentel.

This is included in the price of your holiday

 

Accommodation

Our beautiful 1950's beach villas are surrounded by lush plants and tropical flowers. These villas are situated just steps away from the beach.

Some of us will be housed in the main house and some in the surrounding houses.

All rooms are spacious, comfortable, include air conditioning and en suite-bathroom.  Water is naturally heated by solar panels.

  

We are close to the beach, with 2 pools nearby and a marina. There is also a main house where all meals are served and all activities and workshops are held; this is also where the staff stay (teacher, chef, host).

Mobile phones work well in most of Cuba although you may need to move around to get the best signal. It is very expensive to make and receive mobile calls, texts are a bit cheaper and because of the time difference this is probably the best way to keep in touch with home (if you need to)

Internet is on site about 5 minutes walk from the yoga shala and available for extra cost. There is no wi fi except in a few places in Havana.

 

Food

The chef and his assistant are highly experienced, they have worked for the best private restaurants in Havana and truly do their best to cater to all of our needs.

They are with us 24/7 during the week and prepare 3 delicious meals a day.

All of our meals are organic, from the local gardens in Havana and there is always a 100% vegetarian option, with the choice of adding sea food or chicken on two days.

Special diets can be catered for. 

As all food is grown locally, and nothing imported, it will be created out of what is in season at the time of the year you are visiting.

Cuban coffee, herbal tea, water and fresh fruit smoothies are always available.
 

IMPORTANT: residents of the USA - including non-Americans living and working in the USA - cannot join trips to Cuba organized in the UK.  They need to join specially organized tours originating within the USA by following this link https://www.cubacandela.com/yoga/

Free Spirit Trips Include

  •     7 night accommodations in shared en-suite rooms (2 to a room)
  •     3 Freshly prepared organic meals daily, vegetarian options available for all meals
  •     Unlimited self-serve smoothie bar with fresh locally picked fruits
  •     Unlimited filtered water, herbal tea and coffee
  •     A one on one private yoga class with Cuban teacher Eduardo Pimentel
  •     Yoga with our UK yoga teacher, usually  2 classes a day (morning and late afternoon
  •     Our hosts excursion to explore Havana town with lunch at a parador

Price does not include:

International flights
Airport transfer (we can assist with booking the transfer from Havana or Varadero airports)
Alcoholic beverages
Optional activities other than yoga
Spa services
Tips and gratuities - please allow about £25 - £30 for tips
Travel insurance
Cuba tourist visa

  
 
Travel
You will need a flight to Cuba's Havana or Varadero airport.

Virgin fly direct to Havana from London Gatwick on Thursdays and Mondays

There are also cheaper non-direct options into Havana and Varadero, the very cheapest normally being on Iberia via Madrid, or Air Canada  -  both of whom fly on Saturdays.

Other airlines flying to Cuba are  Iberia / Air Europe / Air Canada / Al Italia/ American Airlines/ KLM/ Condor / Air France.

Transfers
Havana airport (30 minutes)  25 CUC   / appx £17
Varadero airport (90 minutes)  70 CUC   / appx £46

Arrival/Departure Programme Teacher Shared Cost *Single Cost
2018        
Nov 17 Nov 24 Yin & Yang Vinyasa Yoga Jude Medhurst £1075 £1375
Nov 24 Dec 1 Flowing Vinyasa Yoga Liz Lark £1075 £1375
Dec 1 Dec 8 Bioenergetics, Yoga & Mindfulness Angus Ford Robertson £1125 £1425
2019        
Nov 16 Nov 23 Hatha Yoga Sevda Mustafa £1075 £1375
Nov 23 Nov 30 Power Yoga Caroline Wickham £1075 £1375
Nov 30 Dec 6 Hatha Yoga Daljit Kaur £1075 £1375
2020          
Jan 18th Jan 25th Iyengar Yoga Sue Lovell £1075 £1375
Jan 25th Feb 1st Iyengar Yoga Karen Calder tbc £1075 £1375
*Please note there are only 5 single rooms available, everybody else will have to share

Thank you!! We all had a very memorable time too!! We felt very safe & very well looked after!!
Maureen, Sue & I went onto Vinales, Cienfuegos & Trinidad after the yoga week with our driver Maximo. Coco has all the details for Maximo- he was a wonderful driver but only spoke Spanish which was a bit of a challenge for us! But everywhere we went he got us English speaking guides for walking tours etc at a very reasonable price! He had our best interests at heart & looked after us very well! Coco arranged him for us & I am not sure how he got us accommodation. But we encouraged us to look at the accommodation first & we understood that if we didn't like it then he would find us somewhere else!
The accommodation in Vinales (2 nights) was brand new with wonderful hot showers & aircon & a fridge in one of the rooms. Unfortunately we could not all stay in the same house in Cienfuegos (1 night) but the other was just across the road but we did not find out till too late that it only had cold water! The original house had hot water & gave us all breakfast on the roof terrace which was wonderful! The house in Trinidad (2nights) was also good - hot water & breakfast on the roof terrace.
Nothing was too much trouble! Maximo then drove us to the airport for our flight home. We did discuss the itinerary with him & Coco before we set off but we do feel that we saw the best of the area as he is a very experienced guide! And was prepared to go off plan when we had read of somewhere in our guidebooks that we wanted to see!! We never felt rushed. And took things at our pace except on the journey back to the airport when we had a plane tocatch!!
The whole experience was totally fabulous!

Sandra - November 2016
 

 

Hi Debbie, I've been super busy at work since I came back so haven't been in touch but wanted to say
thank you to everyone. I had a fabulous time it was my first experience of holidaying alone
and I'd recommend it to anyone.Wishing you health and happiness for the new year (and a merry Christmas in between)

Joy - November 2016

 

 I just wanted to send an email to let you let you know how much I really enjoyed Mhai Yoga.  I have to say the staff there were amazing and couldn't do enough for everyone so well done on sourcing a new and amazing resort. The food was outstanding and I really look forward to going back one day, their passion for what they do is evident and their love for Cuba too.

Ann Marie - November 2016

 

 

Many thanks for arranging such a superb holiday at Mhia Yoga.

We had such a beautiful Yoga week. The retreat was an absolute delight and we really appreciated all the extras that were generously arranged. David's time was very life affirming and interesting.

The Purnell Family - Nov 2016

 

All feedback below is from  the Cuban Hosts - before we took our first trip

I had a wonderful experience! The schedule was excellent, there was a great combination of yoga, activities, workshops, excursions and plenty of free time to relax on the beach. My favourite moment was Eduardo’s class with his Cuban students. It was such a wonderful bonding experience to practice with Cubans and to see how yoga can bring two distinct cultures together despite any language barriers. The food was amazing, I love chef Ernesto, I want to take him home ☺.
Eduardo is full of spirit, he has immense amounts of wisdom to share about yoga philosophy and life. Natalie’s positive and loving nature reached us all. I wouldn’t change a thing (maybe throw in a brief Spanish lesson. Of course I’ll come back, hopefully sooner than later.
 Anonymous

This was life changing, better than I could have expected or imagined. I loved the location, every time I walked out of the door I felt I was in paradise. The food, QUE RICO, every meal got better and better.
Michelle

The Yoga retreat was incredible. I got so much more out of this experience than I ever could have imagined. Everyday was a new experience and adventure. I loved everyone involved. Eduardo is so informative and knowledgeable about all things and yoga, I felt that I could trust him completely. Natalie’s classes were always a fun surprise, she brought something exciting to every class. The location was amazing, felt so safe and everything was close by. The food was AMAZING, so good!! I WILL return.
Anonymous

My time with you was wonderful and magical, a first class experience. My favorite moment was sunrise meditation and everything that followed. Natalie is an excellent teacher, her classes were a variety of physical and spiritual, so much fun. Eduardo is very humble and inspirational, he taught us very helpful techniques for yoga and life. The chef’s food was exceptional!!!! You made everyone feel special, you listened to us and followed up with everything.
Wilma

The week was very much what I needed, it was very rejuvenating week with a collection of very special people.Sun, sand, the ocean, fantastic food, yoga and great people sharing wonderful experiences, does it get any better?
The time with Eduardo was a special gift. His knowledge on yoga, his country and life is enlightening. His sense of humour and playfulness is genuine and infectious. He is a true leader.
Natalie’s eyes of concern and compassion and genuine desire of everyone to find happiness and enjoyment was always at the forefront of everything she does. Her beautiful smile and willingness to laugh at an instant made us feel very welcome. The food was excellent, far exceeded expectations. Cannot think of any way you could make this experience any better for a group.
Brian

Love is in the details. This is how I would summarize my experience. It was through the attention to detail that Christine, Natalie and Alejandro set that solidified my love for the experience. It was a week infused with pure energy, wonderfully delicious food, great music, new learning, and sharing.  The ability to learn directly from Cuba’s Yoga Master, Dr. Pimentel, was invaluable. The experience was a rare opportunity to thoroughly enjoy all the physical senses and connect them to an individual spiritual awareness.
Aline

This was more than expected, every moment was special. It was a week for myself, the best gift that I could receive. Natalie is a very beautiful instructor who brings peace and love in every class. I loved the joy of life that she has. I experienced the most powerful yoga classes that I ever had with Natalie. Eduardo is a very special instructor who describes very well the sensations and the positions, I have learned a lot about my body. The excursions were wonderful, the location was beautiful, loved hearing the birds in the morning. The food was great, I have never eaten so good, taste so good and great for my body.
Marion

This retreat was well beyond my expectations. By far the best retreat/trip I have been to. All the excursions and workshops were AMAZING. The schedule was perfect for me. The food was DELICIOUS, best food EVER. Cuba is so beautiful and vibrant, can’t wait to return. The teachers were insightful, refreshing and fun!! Natalie and Christine you did a PHENOMENAL job at running this retreat, there was so much thought, love and kindness put into everything and it was really appreciated, thank you.
Sarah