Rediscovering Roots and Reaching New Heights: Our Climbing Retreat in Cuba

In an extraordinary fusion of adventure and spirit, our recent journey to Cuba transcended the usual escapade, weaving together the threads of climbing excellence, cultural immersion, and personal discovery. Partnering with Heidi Wirtz, a professional climber known for her nurturing approach and deep passion for climbing, yoga, and movement, we embarked on our inaugural retreat in collaboration with Earth Play Retreats – a venture that promised growth, challenge, and the joy of surpassing one’s perceived limits.

Heidi, with her extensive expertise, brought more than just climbing techniques to our group. Her style—reassuring, nurturing, yet full of stoke—encouraged us to push beyond what we thought possible, all while embracing the process with kindness and enthusiasm. It was not just about reaching the top but how we grew in the journey upward.

Adding to the wealth of knowledge and experience in our group was climber guide Sevve Elliot. Sevve introduced us to the art of “The Rock Warrior’s Way: Mental Training for Climbers,” a philosophy and practice focusing on the mental aspects of climbing. This method emphasizes overcoming fear, enhancing focus, and building mental fortitude, teaching climbers how to approach challenges not just on the rock, but in everyday life. Sevve’s kind approach and ability to encourage climbers to embrace their inner strength played a pivotal role in the retreat, enriching our climbing experience with invaluable psychological insights and techniques.

Joining forces with Heidi and Sevve, Sam and I aimed to enrich this retreat by sharing our passions for slackline yoga, acroyoga, handstands, and yoga. Sam, with his background in adventure race filming, captured the essence of our trip, allowing us to keep a visual diary of these unforgettable moments.

A Love Letter to Cuba

Our expectations for Cuba were, admittedly, modest at the outset, yet what we discovered was a country that captured our hearts in ways we hadn’t anticipated. For me, arriving in Cuba felt like stepping back into the Puerto Rico of my grandparents’ youth—a nostalgic echo of a time preserved, where the natural beauty of the island was as untouched and majestic as the stories told by our elders.

The juxtaposition of old and new in Cuba—classic cars rumbling beside electric motorcycles, the preservation of natural landscapes amidst modern life—kept us mesmerized, more captivated by our surroundings than any screen could ever achieve.

Climbing in Cuba: A Reflection of Puerto Rico

The climbing experience in Cuba was hauntingly reminiscent of Puerto Rico, with its limestone formations that challenge and allure in equal measure. From the accessible 5.5 routes (5 point fun!) to the awe-inspiring 5.12s and beyond, each climb was not just a physical endeavor but a journey through time. The walks to each crag, through farmland and tobacco fields, amidst sights of animals once common in Puerto Rico, felt like a passage through history, reconnecting us with a life that once was.

Cueva de la Vaca in Viñales, Cuba
Viñales, Cuba
Cueva Ventana Puerto Rico
Cueva Venta, Puerto Rico

Beyond the Climb: A Community of Warmth and Support

Enjoying a cigar with a local legend.

Cuba reminded us of the invaluable camaraderie and support that binds communities together. It was a reminder of the warmth of human connections, the shared exhilaration of overcoming challenges, and the profound beauty of nature that surrounds us.

Our trip to Cuba was more than a climbing retreat; it was a journey of discovery, connection, and love for a place that, while new to us, felt like coming home. For those yearning for adventure, unparalleled climbing experiences, and the warmth of a welcoming community, Cuba beckons.

And should you decide to answer that call, consider this an open invitation to invite me along once more. For in Cuba, we found not just a climbing paradise, but a reminder of the enduring spirit of adventure and the bonds that tie us to our past, to each other, and to the natural world.

What We Learned: Embrace the Unexpected

Our time in Cuba taught us invaluable lessons about adaptability and openness. The unexpected became our constant companion, turning simple invitations into unforgettable encounters. A casual offer to have coffee with a local blossomed into a meeting with the heart of Viñales, a woman celebrated in National Geographic for her authentic coffee and cigars. Nights spent dancing led us to the local salsa maestros, and following recommendations brought us to the pinnacle of culinary delights in the region. Even our quest for Indian cuisine rewarded us with flavors that rivaled those of its homeland, standing as a testament to the surprises that await when one embraces the unforeseen with open arms.

If you are headed to Cuba, make sure to check our packing list.

What's Next? Join Us in Puerto Rico

As we look back on our Cuban adventure with fond memories, we’re also setting our sights on new horizons. We invite you to join our next Climbing Retreat with Earth Play Retreats in Puerto Rico, where the climbs echo those of Cuba, enriched by the vibrant energy of Heidi, our diverse yoga and movement practices, and the breathtaking visuals captured by Sam.

Puerto Rico offers the warmth, ease of travel, and beautiful weather that make it an ideal destination for climbers and adventurers alike. As a local, I can attest that March is the perfect time to experience all that Puerto Rico has to offer. Join us as we continue to explore, climb, and grow together in this beautiful part of the world.

Upcoming Events

May 2024
June 2024
July 2024
December 2024
February 2025
No event found!