Tour introduction and overview of activities

Havana Jazz Festival Tour JazzCuba.com

Music knows no borders. It unites people across nations, languages, and ideologies. The Cuban people can’t wait to meet their American friends at the 2019 Havana Jazz Festival.

Cuba’s a music machine pumping out wall-to-wall sound that fuels the global music scene. We invite you to travel to Havana Cuba with us. Jump into its audio inferno of Afrocuban beats, Latin jazz and swirling salsa, and dizzying son and rumba.

You stay in the fabulous recently renovated NH Hotel Capri in the heart of Havana’s entertainment district, near the famed Malecón seawall. The NH Hotel Capri is ranked number five by TripAdvisor among all hotels in Cuba.

Our Just the Jazz Festival tour puts you in the heart of Havana’s entertainment district to relish seven days of art, culture and music, and five nights of world-class jazz. Your all-access Jazz pass, valued at $250, gives you VIP credentials to visit all the performance venues night and day.

What is remarkable about this trip is the amount of time you have to get to know the island’s capital while partaking in rare musical encounters. Our guided rumps around Havana’s most inspiring sights and activities will leave you feeling like a local.

It’s the ideal junket for friends, families, and co-workers. If you want a taste of Cuba at a leisurely pace that won’t break your budget, this is the best introduction to Cuba available.

Cuba’s big! Its land mass is 42,426 square miles – about 80 percent the size of Alabama. Cuba is nearly as large as Louisiana, and larger than Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Altogether it’s bigger than Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont combined.

Day 1 – Tuesday :: Say hello to the city of music

  • Arrivals at Havana’s José Martí International Airport
  • Collect your luggage and proceed through Cuban customs to the arrivals lobby
  • Consider purchasing Cuban Convertible Pesos at the airport exchange bureau (CADECA), or later at your hotel
  • Our airport concierge or your tour guide will arrange tour bus or private taxi transfers from the airport to Hotel Capri located in El Vedado, the heart of Havana's cultural district. Your hotel check-in is pre-arranged, you simply present your passport
  • Time at hotel to settle in and freshen up
  • Dinner is served at your hotel’s restaurant
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options

Day 2 – Wednesday :: Old Havana, HAVANA JAZZ FESTIVAL OPENING GALA

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Followed by a private walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll visit four historic plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. Together they contain the largest collection of remaining Spanish colonial-era architecture in the world
  • Cathedral Square, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza on the island. Named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture, Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana was built by the Jesuit order
  • Square of Arms, an ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers, surrounded by impressive buildings such as:
  • Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, former seat of colonial government. Today the building houses the Museum of the City
  • Palacio del Segundo Cabo [Palace of the Second Lieutenant] dates from 1770
  • We continue onto San Francisco Square, one of the oldest plazas in the historical quarter. The square is named after magnificent Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco de Asís dating from the 16th century. The basilica is a striking example of Cuba baroque architecture
  • On to Plaza Vieja, the only civic square of colonial times. Absent are churches and government buildings. The plaza is surrounded by opulent aristocratic 17th century residences
  • Welcome lunch at the private restaurant Mojito-Mojito. Ideally situated in Plaza Vieja, its friendly atmosphere, and delicious food makes it rank high on TripAdvisor. The restaurant's slogan: "A single mojito is not enough.".
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up
  • Dinner at the private restaurant Los Naranjos. Located in the heart of Vedado in an expansive 1930s mansion, its Chef Ernesto specializes in fusion style dishes combining Cuban, Italian and Spanish influences. Los Naranjos’ ambiance is fun and light, its food wonderful, authentic and fresh, and staff upbeat and attentive. Its a favorite among TripAdvisor reviewers.
  • Havana Jazz Festival OPENING GALA (transportation INCLUDED)

Day 3 – Thursday :: Cuban dance, HAVANA JAZZ FESTIVAL PERFORMANCES

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Morning visit to one of several Cuban dance companies. We’ll visit and meet the troupe during their practice performances
  • Lunch at Atelier Cocina de Autor la Habana. It is ranked tops by TripAdvisor and the London Guardian. Reviewers describe it as a “best meal in Cuba,” with “excellent service and atmosphere.” Its entrées are so fresh the menu is handwritten daily. Set in an elegant mansion in Vedado, its chef’s specialize in Cuban dishes with a modern flair.
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. An occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island's distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers
  • Havana Jazz Festival Performances, chose among events taking place at several different venues (transportation NOT INCLUDED)

Day 4 – Friday :: Rum, shopping, HAVANA JAZZ FESTIVAL PERFORMANCES

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Visit the Museum of Rum
  • Visit Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes de Depósito San José. This marvelous restoration of an old dock warehouse has resulted in a gigantic market fair exhibiting the wares of hundreds of Cuban artists and crafts workers. It’s an amazing shopping opportunity for memorable Cuban gifts and souvenirs
  • Lunch will be served today at the paladar La Moneda Cubana, a private rooftop eatery in Cathedral Square with a gorgeous view of Old Havana. Its name means Cuban coins. It serves up Cuban cuisine adhering to traditional recipes using seasonal vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and seafood
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up. Explore the city with your tourmates and new Cuban friends
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. An occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island's distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers
  • Havana Jazz Festival Performances, chose among events taking place at several different venues (transportation NOT INCLUDED)

Day 5 – Saturday :: Afrocuba, Hemingway, HAVANA JAZZ FESTIVAL PERFORMANCES

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Visit to Callejón de Hamel, a magical section of Old Havana filled with Afrocuban murals and art
  • We’re off to visit Finca la Vigía [Lookout Farm] where North America’s literary titan Ernest Hemingway spent twenty-one of his most important and productive years adding to the building blocks of English literature. Claimed by both the United States and Cuba as a native son, it was Hemingway himself who declared Cuba to be his true home. His house has been preserved just as it was when he lived in it. You’ll see his eclectic personal objects, thousands of books, manuscripts and photographs, as well as some animal trophies he bagged on his safaris to deepest Africa
  • Tour highlight. We have a special lunch arranged for you by our friends at Ajiaco paladar [private restaurant]. It’s considered the best in Cuba. It’s a mandatory dining stop located off the beaten path in the romantic coastal fishing village of Cojímar. Ajiaco is noted for fantastic service, atmosphere and scrumptilicious country Cuban cuisine. All their ingredients are fresh and organic, supplied by nearby private gardens to give every dish a delightfully aromatic flavor you’ll never forget
  • We’ll visit the village of Cojímar, the setting for Ernest Hemingway’s "The Old Man and the Sea.” Here adoring local fishers cast a bronze bust from old anchors, props and tools. They had no money for new materials. Its inscription reads, "In loving memory of the people of Cojímar to the immortal author of Old Man and the Sea." A plaque below the bust reads: Sculpted with the contributions of the Fishermen Cooperative of Cojímar
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. An occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island's distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers
  • Havana Jazz Festival Performances, chose among events taking place at several different venues (transportation NOT INCLUDED)

Day 6 – Sunday :: Art, history and HAVANA JAZZ FESTIVAL CLOSING FINALE

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • We’ll examine Cuba's greatest visual masterpieces spanning three centuries at Havana’s world class museum of modern art – Palacio de Bellas Artes. It’s exhibits display the richness of the island's Spanish, French, Chinese, African and Aboriginal cultural influences. Notable works include those of René Portocarrero and Wilfredo Lam
  • Lunch today: In the heart of Havana city, there’s a special paladar called Cuba 54, which is one of the Havana's newest private restaurants
  • We’ll visit the astonishing Museo de la Revolución y Memorial Granma (Museum of the Revolution and Granma Memorial). It is the former presidential palace and was once home to US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. The magnificent building now exhibits items from colonial times to the present. It displays focus in particular on the period from 1953 to 1959 and the campaign of Fidel Castro and Ché Guevara to win independence for Cuba. Of note are artifacts from the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion, and a turbine from a U-2 spy plane downed during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up
  • Farewell dinner at the private restaurant Viphavana. Another TripAdvisor top pick. Here's why: diners are enamored with its paella, tapas, and lobster. Not to mention its modern atmosphere and good times while dining the Vedado neighborhood.
  • Havana Jazz Festival CLOSING FINALE (transportation INCLUDED)

Day 7 – Monday :: Say goodbye to Cuba – for now

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel
  • Check-out of your Havana hotel
  • Transfer to José Martí International Airport in Havana for flights home
  • We'll miss you and hope you will return soon. In Cuba we say: A true friend remembers the song in your heart when you have forgotten the lyrics
Cuba travel is a challenge. Our staff and Cuban partners work super hard to make your tour unfold seamlessly despite Third World conditions on the island. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Flexible travelers understand this is part of their Cuban adventure.

Tour cost based on double room occupancy (sharing a double room during tour).

Tour date Cost Comments Availability
Jan 15 to Jan 21, 2019 $ 2399
Two rooms remain
Book now
Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
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Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
  • VIP access jazz passes for all Jazz Festival events, a $360 value
  • Small group size: There will be more than 100 people joining this tour. Participants will be split into groups of 24 or fewer. As a result day-to-day activities will vary to avoid congestion at smaller venues and eateries
  • Certificate of Legal Cuba Travel in compliance with US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations (OFAC)
  • Havana airport and hotel transfers on tour start and end days
  • Quality Cuban hotels
  • An expert English speaking guide and tour leader throughout the program
  • Modern air-conditioned bus and professional chauffeur
  • Bottled water on bus
  • All activities, entrance fees, services, speakers and meetings in tour itinerary
  • Flexible monthly tour payment options
  • Emergency telephone and internet access to America from Cuba
  • Cash advances for participants facing money problems while in Cuba
  • Participants become Club Cubano alumni and receive future tour discounts
  • Ongoing support from our US and Cuban staff before, during and after travel