JOIN CUBAN-BORN BODYBUILDING CHAMPION & FITNESS EXPERT AKEMY JONES PLUS CUBA EXPERT AND AWARD-WINNING TRAVEL & GLAMOUR PHOTOGRAPHER CHRISTOPHER P. BAKER ON A FANTASTIC ONE-OF-A-KIND TOUR OF HAVANA
On this fascinating and inspirational first-of-its-kind tour, Cuban-born bodybuilder and fitness expert Akemy Jones–the 2014 NPC Excalibur Figure Overall Champion and 2017 NPC Border States Figure Overall Champion–shares her passion for her homeland as you join Cuban trainers and fisiculturalistas in workouts that leave you feeling younger, healthier, and inspired.
Accompanied by Akemy and acclaimed travel and glamour photographer Christopher P. Baker–hailed by National Geographic “one of the world’s foremost authorities on Cuba travel and culture”–you’ll be treated to an insider’s insight into Cuba’s own fisicultura culture… from gyms, yoga classes, and health-conscious dining to bodybuilders who train under crude conditions you can hardly imagine. Forget the pampered gyms of California! This is Cuba… where bodybuilders might work out with wheel hubs welded to metal bars and work-out equipment that appears to date from before the Revolution.
There’ll be lots of fun activities as you’re immersed in Havana’s fascinating culture… from musical performances and salsa sessions to riding in classic 1950s American convertibles for a sensual night at the sensational Tropicana cabaret nightclub.
Plus, we’ll enjoy a sunset photo shoot with Christopher in Havana!
ABOUT AKEMY “BABY HULK” JONES
Akemy “Baby Hulk” Jones was born and raised in Habana Vieja—the colonial quarter of Havana, Cuba–in 1979. A runner, she competed in half-marathons, then began weightlifting in Havana. She has lived in California since 2002, where she works as a registered nurse when not competing. She won the figure division in the 2014 NPC Excalibur, and the figure division in the 2017 NPC Border Classic, and recently took 1st place in ‘Women’s Physique’ at the 2017 Ferrigno Legacy. Akemy remains quintessentially Cuban at heart and returns frequently to Cuba, where she trains at funky Gimnasio Neptuno. “Akemy” is a Japanese term and means “beautiful sunrise.” Appropriately, Akemy has a smile and laugh to melt gold. She is excited to share her birthplace with you… so please join her for a trip you’ll cherish forever.
ABOUT CHRISTOPHER P. BAKER
Professional travel writer and photographer Christopher P. Baker has made Cuba his passion for three decades. The author of six travel books and countless magazine stories about Cuba, he has also photographed the island end-to-end for entities from National Geographic to Penthouse and Playboy. Chris is also a professional tour director and has led more than 100 “people-to-people” programs to Cuba, from the Children’s Cancer Association and CCN’s Michael Smerconish, to photography and even motorcycle tours, plus more than 85 tours for National Geographic Expeditions. It’s fair to say, no-one knows Havana like Chris! Plus, Chris is a fitness enthusiast and glamour photographer… and a highlight of our tour will be one or more photo sessions of Akemy and tour members with colonial Havana as a backdrop.
I started to run in Cuba when I was 16 years old and lost so much weight that my best friend Dalila Amelo told me I needed to build my body. He took me to Gimnasio de Neptuno, in Centro Habana, where I was introduced to Eduardo García in 1998. He took me under his wing and changed my body and my mentality about the “starve yourself and do cardio to be skinny” trend of thought. I trained with him in his home-made gym, I fell in love then with training with weights. For the most part it was myself and two more girls training. The mentality of a lady lifting was not well seen then in Cuba, and it’s still very rare, but I never even thought about it. I just kept doing what I loved. — AKEMY JONES
TOUR DATES: TBA 2019
Morning flight MIA-HAV
Lunch: El Aljibe
Brief sightseeing tour of Plaza de la Revolution and key sights in downtown Havana
Check-in to hotel or casas particulares (private room rentals)
Ride in classic convertible cars to dinner
Dinner: La Guarida
Walking tour of Habana Vieja, the remarkable colonial core
Participate with community members in a workout session led by Akemy
Lunch: Azúcar, Plaza Vieja
Salsa dance lesson with Yoel Letan Peña and former Tropicana cabaret dancer Asmara Nuñez
Dinner: Café Laurent followed by cocktails at Hotel Nacional
Visit Gimnasio de Neptuno and meet with fisiculturistas (body-builders)
Body-building posing with Akemy and Cuban fisiculturas
Lunch: El Carbón, Habana Vieja
Walking tour of Centro Habana with Elias Asef Alfonso, learning about community life and Afro-Cuban santería religion
Dinner: At leisure
Morning workout and tuition with female boxers Legnis Cala Masó and Namibia Flores at Gimnasio Rafael Trejo, in Habana Vieja
Habana Compas dance company performance (or similar)
Dinner: Casa Miglis, Centro Habana
Spinning, work-out and massage with Akemy and entrepreneurs Odalys and Omara Mirabal Lopez at their Spa O2
Lunch: Spa O2
Visit Fusterlandia art project
Dinner: At leisure
Day excursion to Las Terrazas sustainable community in the Sierra del Rosario mountains.
Guided community tour with Oscar Campos
Lunch: Eco-Restaurante El Romero
Guided hiking and/or biking in the mountains, before we return to Havana in late afternoon
Dinner: At leisure
Yoga and exercises by the ocean, then visit the Panamericano sports complex and Organipónico Alamar, Cuba’s most famous private organic produce farm
Lunch: El Ajiaco, Cojimar
Late afternoon professional photo shoot of Akemy and tour participants posing in Habana Vieja
Dinner: Río Mar, Miramar; followed by a sensational night of cabaret at the Tropicana
Morning flight HAV-MIA
This program is offered under a general license for “people-to-people” educational exchange per Cuba Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR Part 515 administered by the Dept. of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Controls, and is prepared in accordance with said regulations.
Black and white images courtesy Arien Chang Castan ©. All other images copyright Christopher P. Baker and may not be reprinted without permission. All rights reserved.