UKULELE ISLAND RETREATS
Vieques Island, P.R., Winter 2024
January 7-12 & March 3-8
Let’s whisk you away from the Winter chill,
and celebrate 2024 together, with soft Caribbean breezes,
delightful meals, pristine beaches,
and music music music music music!
Indulge yourself in an unforgettable experience of deep relaxation,
spectacular natural beauty, and delightful musical community.
* ‘Take Your Uke to the Beach’ Days, on pristine paradise beaches. Sun and shade in the palm groves. Crystal clear turquoise-blue warm water, white-sand beaches. Gourmet picnic lunches. Swim, snorkel, relax, read, play. Pop-up on-the-beach uke lessons and jams with Lisa!
* Spectacular Nightly Sunset gatherings (with a fresh Piña Colada perhaps?) at the edge of the ocean.
* Outdoor Ukulele Evening Jams in our beautiful private courtyard at our Casa, led by Lisa.
* Ukulele Pool Party in the Highlands. Spectacular views, sparkling pool, grand veranda with ocean breezes and amazing acoustics. Music, food, meet ukulele friends from the island, grand jam led by Lisa, fun!
* Ukulele Flash Mob, joined by folks from the local island ukulele community, led by Lisa. Surprise and delight unsuspecting passersby, and watch the joy spread like wildfire!
* Lovingly Prepared Meals provided for you daily. Plus, one dinner out at classic Island oceanside open-air restaurant. Vegan, and gluten-free options are always available.
* Sweet Friendly Guesthouse with gracious hosts, serene garden courtyards, and a little dipping pool for cooling off. All freshly renovated.
* Other Activities May Include: Spanish lessons with our bilingual ukulele-playing island-resident awesome assistant, Carmen. Yoga. Guided writing sessions, a la Gateless Method and/or Amherst Writers and Artists Method. Grand tour of powerful social/political/cultural murals, by famous Island artist. Guided morning hikes with spectacular views and visits to secret hidden beaches. Jewelry making with found beach-treasures.
* COUPLES WELCOME!
All activities are, of course, optional. Take some YOU-time anytime you wish! Explore the town of Isabel Segunda. Walk down to nearby Seaglass Beach (aptly named!), and collect some treasures.
Vieques is a sweet and special tropical island, off the coast of Puerto Rico. The vibe is laid-back and relaxed, multi-cultural, casual attire, GLBTQ friendly. As it’s a U.S. territory, the U.S. dollar is the currency.
Oh, and there are wild horses everywhere!
All rooms are double-occupancy, assigned on first-come, first-served basis.
Book early for best price and best rooms!
VIEQUES TRAVEL, HEALTH, and SAFETY INFORMATION
- Proof of covid vaccination is no longer required to enter Puerto Rico, Vieques, and most businesses on the Island. If you have proof of vaccination, please bring it with you, just in case policies change. (Information current as of October, 2022.)
- Guests must be respectful of any safety requirements (such as masking, distancing, etc.) if required by a local business.
- Personal Health and Safety: There is no hospital on the Island of Vieques. Health care facilities are minimal and basic. Please consult with your doctor about any concerns regarding your personal health, and the advisability of travel to a location with only basic health care services.
- Travel Insurance Recommended. No one books a retreat with the intention of cancelling it, but unexpected events do occur, so please consider purchasing travel insurance. It is your responsibility to read and understand our cancellation policies. Exceptions cannot be made for any reason, including weather, injury/illness, or personal emergencies. We encourage you to purchase trip cancellation insurance in order that your trip fees will be covered should you or your family have an unexpected emergency prior to your trip or while on the trip. Trip insurance should also be purchased to cover medical expenses in the event you have an accident while on the retreat. Most travel insurance must be purchased within 14 days of making your reservation.
Extended Stay Option:
Come early or stay late!
Our guesthouse hosts will offer you a 10% discount on their regular room rates
if you wish to extend your stay.
You’ll be on your own for meals and activities during your extra days,
but we’re within easy walking distance to cafes, bakeries,
restaurants, and the Atlantic ocean.
You can take public transport to the spectacular
Caribbean-side beaches for just a few dollars.
Choose this option early, before the guesthouse rooms get booked. It is high season, after all! (More info on enrollment form)
A Little About the Island of Vieques:
Vieques is a diverse, relaxed, and friendly place. English and Spanish are both spoken.
As it is a U.S. territory, the currency is the U.S. dollar. The island features just two towns – one on the north coast (Isabel Segunda, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean), and one on the south side (Esperanza, bordered by the Caribbean Sea). The island is 21 miles long, and 3 miles wide.
The majority of the white-sand, turquoise-water Caribbean beaches are on protected National Wildlife Refuge land. There are no big hotels or touristy attractions. It is serene and stunningly beautiful.
The island is also home to a large number of free-range horses. Don’t be surprised if you see them on the beach, or even walking right down the street!
The weather during the Ukulele Island Retreat in January tends towards 82 degrees, and sunny. Casual attire and sturdy walking sandals are recommended.
Our guesthouse is on the north coast, one block from the Atlantic Ocean, mind-blowing sunsets, easy walk into town. Our ukulele workshops will mostly take place on south-side Caribbean beaches, where one can always find plenty of shade under a palm tree. Nightly outdoor jams under the stars in the guesthouse courtyard.
HOW TO GET HERE
We have found a flight itinerary through United Airlines, in which you leave your nearest International Airport, (for us, it is Bradley in Hartford, CT) early in the morning (like, 6:00 am), have a brief layover in Washington DC, then on to San Juan. From San Juan you get to the Island of Vieques via Cape Air, arriving on the island at 2:30 in the afternoon. I THINK (but do not know for sure yet!!!) that United Airlines will check your baggage all the way through to the island. (In other words, you don’t have to collect your bags in San Juan to change to the Cape Air flight for the final leg of the journey.)
This is quite similar to the itinerary we have been enjoying for years via JetBlue, but they are no longer offering it. (bummer!!)
There is another itinerary available through Jet Blue in which you fly a red-eye (overnight), land very early in San Juan, and then are on the island of Vieques by about 9:30 in the morning! Nice!
Some Retreatsters are coming a whole day early, and springing for the extra night at the Guesthouse (which is offering a 10% discount to Retreatsters). Let me know if you’d like to do this and I will help you with the room reservation.
If you fly an airline to San Juan that does not offer an itinerary straight through to Vieques, you will need to collect your bags from baggage claim in San Juan, and then navigate to the gates where the small island-hopper planes leave from (Cape Air, or Vieques Airlink. Maybe even have to go through security again – not sure. San Juan airport is new and clean and HUGE, doesn’t have the best signage in the world – so leave plenty of time between flights. People are friendly and helpful.
If a GROUP of you are traveling together, there are ways to either charter an island-hopper, or buy a group-discount ticket from San Juan to Vieques. If a group of you decide you’d like to do that, I’ll try to find an experienced island traveller to advise you.
MONEY-SAVING TIP: Make sure and check your itinerary on a variety of different booking sites (Like, Kayak.com, Expedia, Travelocity, etc.). The prices they offer for the exact same flights can vary quite a bit from site to site.
ABOUT TRAVELING with YOUR UKE:
If you have a small ukulele (soprano, or Romero Tiny Tenor, for instance), you can carry it in a padded case inside a tote bag that can fit under your seat. That way it can count as your “personal item”, and not an official carry-on that goes in the overhead.
If your uke is larger, use a sturdy padded case or hard case, and put it in the overhead. It will count as your carry-on.
Founder of the Note2Self Method for Music and Living Your Best Life, Lisa is also a Certified Gateless Master Teacher. She has single-handedly taught tens of thousands of adult-beginners how to play a musical instrument, via her acclaimed online video courses.
In her hometown of Brattleboro, VT, she is lovingly blamed for inciting The Ukulution, an explosion of ukulele learning and enthusiasm that touches the lives of hundreds of members of the local community.
A singer/songwriter and recording artist, Lisa’s debut album received preliminary GRAMMY nominations for Best Album and Best Song.
Lisa’s passion for music began when most people are still learning their ABCs.
“I was addicted to The Beatles by the age of six,” she says.
“When I was ten years old, my father taught me to play three chords on the guitar. They were the only three he knew,” Lisa reports. She went on to have a full-fledged music career as an independent touring artist, teacher, and author.
Now, she and her Dad have come full-circle: Lisa helped her 79-year-old father get started playing the ukulele, and it has been a total life-changer for him, finally connecting him with his lifelong passion for music. He plays long into the night after Mom goes to bed.
Lisa is especially passionate about helping adult beginners discover the joy of music, and marveling at the positive ripples effects in people’s hearts, homes, families, communities, and the world at large.
Our Guesthouse, Casa de Amistad, is the highest rated guesthouse on Vieques Island, and rates #5 in the entire Caribbean! Hosts Mike and John warmly welcome you to your beautiful and comfortable room, their serene tropical courtyards and Zen Garden, plus a fine little dipping pool for cooling off. One block from the Atlantic Beach, with spectacular nightly sunsets over the water. Easy walk into the town of Isabel II. Community kitchen available to store your own stash of goodies if you like. All rooms double-occupancy.
Nightly Ukulele Evening Jams in our beautiful private courtyard at our Casa, led by Lisa
Spectacular Nightly Sunset Gatherings (with a fresh Piña Colada perhaps?) at the edge of the ocean.
Ukulele Pool Party in the Highlands. Spectacular views, sparkling pool, grand veranda with ocean breezes and amazing acoustics. Music, food, friends, fun!
‘Take Your Uke to the Beach’ Days, on pristine paradise beaches. Sun and shade in the palm groves. Crystal clear turquoise-blue warm water, white-sand beaches. Picnic lunches. Swim, snorkel, relax, read, play. Pop-up on-the-beach uke lessons and jams with Lisa!
Ukulele Flash Mob, joined by folks from the local island ukulele community, led by Lisa. Surprise and delight unsuspecting passersby on the Malecon, a popular public seaside walkway in the town of Esperanza. Watch the joy spread like wildfire, igniting smiles, singing, and dancing-in-the-streets by the crowd!
Allow yourself to let down your hair and kick off your shoes. Honor your love of music and how it brings such joy to your life, and the lives of others. Learn fun new things to practice on your ukulele. Read a beach book. Write in your journal. Take photographs that will blow the minds of your friends and family. Make new friends who love music as much as you do. Put yourself in the powerfully healing presence of a warm and welcoming pristine ocean. Get sand between your toes. Collect shells and seaglass to bring home.
This is all for YOU, and you deserve every drop.