Havana Jazz Festival and More

Check out this 2022 Festival news clip.

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What is included:

  • BILINGUAL CUBAN GUIDE
  • Travel licenses, mandatory Cuban health insurance, and visas
  • 9 nights in Cuban Bed and Breakfasts (casas particulares)
  • 17 meals and private, air-conditioned ground transportation
  • The best of Havana’s Annual Jazz Festival!
  • Purified water is always available
  • Curious About Cuba educational program
    (two 3 hour sessions of instruction provided before the trip, or access to the recording if you are unable to attend)

Cost: $2695 (market value $5195)
*Early Bird registrations 4 months prior to departure receive $200 discount

Deposit: $500 to reserve your spot

Payment 1: $1097.50 payment

Payment 2: $1097.50 payment due (+$500 for a single supplement)

Flight costs are on your own. We recommend purchase 8-12 weeks before departure, and we will provide recommendations for you.

Detailed itinerary:

The Annual Havana Jazz Festival was online, but now it’s back! Enjoy musicians from 9+ countries in this stellar event. Note: the artists and dates of performances are generally released 1 week prior to the event start date. In past years, guests have spent about $100 for Jazz Festival passes for three big nights of concerts by musicians from around the world.

Additionally, you’ll get out of the big city to experience the best of Cuban UNESCO World Heritage sites, waterfalls, ocean views, bird-watching, Cuban food, architecture, and Cuban friends who await you on this phenomenal tour!  

The purpose of this itinerary is to give you an idea of the types of activities you will engage in during the tour, however, it may change based on factors such as availability, weather, and to take advantage of spontaneous activities and events.

 

The Annual Havana Jazz Festival was online, but now it’s back! Enjoy musicians from 9+ countries in this stellar event.

Additionally, you’ll get out of the big city to experience the best of Cuban UNESCO World Heritage sites, waterfalls, ocean views, bird-watching, Cuban food, architecture, and Cuban friends who await you on this phenomenal tour!  

The purpose of this itinerary is to give you an idea of the types of activities you will engage in during the tour, however, it may change based on factors such as availability, weather, and to take advantage of spontaneous activities and events.

Jan. 17: Welcome to Cuba!  

Roger, our guide will pick you up at the airport and take you to get settled at the casa particular (Cuban B&B) in Havana.  Then we’ll head out for a welcome dinner at our favorite paladar (privately-owned restaurant) overlooking the nighttime malecón.  For those that are ambitious, afterwards you might go to the Hotel Nacional to enjoy cigars on the patio with live music, and hear stories of gambling and the mafia’s influence in Havana in the 1950’s.   Meals: Dinner

 

 

 

Jan. 18: Varadero (2 hours driving)

We’ll start the morning with an introduction to Havana, where we will spend the last four days of the tour. It’s a great opportunity to get a peek at it before the city gets filled with guests arriving for the Jazz Festival.

After the introductory tour, we’ll head towards the exquisite beach town of Varadero. Bring your swimsuit in your backpack, because the drive north along the coast includes a great palace for refreshments and swimming in a large cave. We’ll also stop in Matanzas to visit an apothecary shop that has been well-preserved for the last century.

We’ll enjoy a sunset dinner in Varadero, a very walkable town. You may even choose a night out dancing at one of the beach clubs if you choose (particularly if you were a Beatles fan). Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

  

Jan. 19: Varadero

This is a great day to explore Varadero. You’ll quickly see why it was an attractive place for Al Capone, the DuPont family and more in the 1940’s. You’ll get to learn about the town and it’s people, as well as enjoy some of the finest beaches in all of the Caribbean. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

 

 

 Jan. 20: Varadero to Trinidad (4 hours driving with stops)

After breakfast we will head through the citrus orchards south to Trinidad.

Arriving in Trinidad you discover another world.  Trinidad is a cozy, bustling town of Cubans and tourists, with French and Spanish inspired architecture, stories of slave trade and wealth in the south of Cuba.  Roger will give us a walking tour to get our bearings, learn the stories, and enjoy lunch together.  Trinidad’s cobblestone can be brutal on your feet, be sure to have thick-soled walking shoes.  You are always welcome to hire a pedi-cab to drive you through the streets of Trinidad when your feet grow weary.

After some free time,  we will head out for salsa dance lessons, smiles and laughter with vibrant young Cuban instructors.  Dinner is on your own, and there are many excellent choices nearby.  Live music is easily found on every corner, and this is the best city to take in a Afro-Cuban Yorùbá Orisha dance and drumming performance.  Meals: Breakfast

Jan. 21: Trinidad 

We will start the day with a short drive to a nearby nature preserve, “El Cubano” where we are likely to see many unique Cuban birds, particularly the national bird of Cuba the Tocororo (Cuban Trogon).

Back in town enjoy meeting artists and seeing their work, particularly the reclaimed wooden shutters with carvings.  A favorite lunch place you might consider is San Jose, which is known for it’s huge hamburgers, tasty sweet plantains, and remnants from the history of slave trade in Trinidad.

In the afternoon you’ll have time to explore more of the town, or join the group at the beach, where there are umbrellas, lounge chairs, and lovely soft sand.  In the evening, dinner is on your own followed by live music at the outdoor amphitheater, the hub of the action in Trinidad. Stay up late tonight!  Nightlife in Trinidad is probably the most accessible and intense in all of Cuba, with numerous live music venues and free dance performances in the town square.  You will have the chance to see Afro-Cuban folkloric dances performed in one of the many plazas.  Meals: Breakfast

 

Jan. 22: Trinidad to Cienfuegos (2 hours)

After breakfast and final morning photography or shopping for paintings, we will head to Cienfuegos, “The Pearl of the South”.   Although it’s only 100 miles from Trinidad, this town was primarily settled 300 years later by the French, and it is very evident by the architecture.  The main plaza is very picturesque, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites we visit on the tour.  Be sure to explore the Spanish-Moorish inspired Palacio del Valle, where a cocktail is included in your admission.  Have some rest time before heading out for dinner.  Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Jan. 23: Cienfuegos to Havana (4 hours with stops)

You may start the day with your swimsuit underneath your clothes! Along the road there is an amazing place to stop to swim in a cenote and snorkel in the ocean, with lots of fish just 15 feet from shore (you’ll be thankful for swim shoes here).

On our journey north, we will have lunch and visit an ornithologist’s home where you will observe the Bee Hummingbirds, endemic to Cuba and the smallest bird in the world.  Also, a visit to the lively Korimikao, school of the arts, will shed light to the value of dance, music, and visual arts in Cuban culture.

Your time in the countryside is drawing to an end as you enter the bustling city, crumbling concrete, and fascinating architecture that encompasses Havana. After some rest time, we will head out for dinner at a favorite spot and head to the Havana Jazz Festival! The Festival utilizes various venues throughout the city, including Mella Theatre, Sevilla Hotel, Karl Marx Theatre, and the National Theatre of Cuba.  We’ll go from dinner to one of the performances.  Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Jan. 24: Havana

Wear your walking shoes to start this day! We start with a ride in beautiful vintage cars through the city to the fishing village of Jaimanitas and the home of the famous artist Jose Fuster. Fuster has made his entire home, and much of the surrounding neighborhood, into an outdoor art gallery using tiles in mosaic forms.  The driving tour in classic cars will take you to the forest of Havana, the famous Revolutionary Square and through the gorgeous historic embassy neighborhoods. Our ride will end in  the most historic areas of Havana and you’ll hear the stories dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries when this part of the city was established. Incredible architecture and photo opportunities abound!

In the late afternoon we will return to our casa particulares for free time before dinner. After dinner, it’s another big night out at the Jazz Festival. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Jan. 25: Havana

Havana is known for the many haunts of Ernest Hemingway.  Today we will head out to Finca Vigía, Hemingway’s home in the hills above Havana.  It has been well maintained and shows his love of books, his writing “tower” and more.  You’ll even see his fishing boat, Pilar, on display, no doubt part of the inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea.  Lunch will be in the mellow fishing town of Cojimar, where he kept Pilar.  

In the afternoon there will be time to roam Havana on your own or rest up for tonight’s concerts! We will have a lovely farewell dinner before we go to our final concert. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

July 26: Goodbye

Grasp your final glimpses of the city as you head to the airport (2 hours prior to departure). Say goodbye to Roger and your driver. We hope you will return soon! Meals: Breakfast

 

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