Bend Woman to Lead Immersive Cultural Retreat to Cuba

(Sarah Cyr / Photos Courtesy of Sarah Cyr)

 Sarah Cyr, a Bend-based writing teacher, will lead a five-night retreat in Havana, Cuba this January. Called Writing and Waking Up to Place, the retreat is designed for travelers looking for culture and adventure while learning a new approach to writing.

Cyr teaches a style of writing that blends prompt-based writing sessions with meditation. She’s offered classes in Central Oregon for the past five years through COCC’s Continuing Education program and at Hawthorn Healing Arts. For the retreat, Cyr will partner with the travel group Otros Ojos (“others’ eyes” in Spanish), known for its high access into Cuba’s contemporary art, food and music scene.

Mornings will be spent grounded in writing practice, before setting off to explore an art gallery or wandering an off-the-beaten-path Havana neighborhood.  Evenings will include front-row seats to some of Havana’s coolest, most-contemporary bands or a show by one of the most edgy theater companies.  A pilgrimage will be made to Finca Vigía, the house where Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most beloved books.

Traveling with Otros Ojos adheres to one of the still-approved travel categories from the US to Cuba called “Support of the Cuban People” because the trip utilizes 100 percent private businesses that are part of the creative and entrepreneurial communities its co-founders — an American painter and a Cuban guitarist couple — are a part of. All documentation necessary is provided by the travel company.

Retreat dates are January 22-27. The cost is $2,195 per person inclusive of lodging, meals, in-country transportation and arts access.

To register, visit



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