Havana International Jazz Festival 2021
Take in the heart & soul of this colorful & cultural island: 36th Havana International Jazz Festival
|Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 16 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer), escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. (Some exceptions, including special promotional packaged, may accommodate up to 24.) More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|16 travelers max
|History & Culture
|What to Expect
|This fast-paced, escorted program includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. Travel safely and confidently with our new health & safety protocols.
|Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.
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“To jazz, or not to jazz, there is no question!” exclaimed jazz legend Louis Armstrong – and we couldn’t agree more. Deep in the heart of Cuba, a cacophony of chords flows through the island like a heartbeat or the very lifeblood of its colorful communities. And it is something every music-lover has to experience to understand!
With an itinerary any jazz aficionado will adore, this expertly crafted tour includes passes to the 36th Havana International Jazz Festival, private performances at one of Havana’s hottest late-night jazz clubs La Zorra y el Cuervo, and more!
And of course, we’ve packed every day with Support for the Cuban People experiences that will leave you with an unforgettable trip and memories that last a lifetime. Stay six nights at the Melia Cohiba, a spectacular hotel, located in Vedado. You'll meet up-and-coming Cuban artists; learn how to roll cigars from the masters, and more.
- Non-stop round trip flights from Miami to Havana, including taxes & fees
- Health insurance in Cuba, included in the cost of your airfare
- U.S. Treasury Department, OFAC License Certification
- Cuban Tourist Visa
- All land transportation, transfers & porterage in Cuba
- 6 nights 5-star hotel accommodations in Havana
- 13 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 2 dinners, including a welcome and farewell dinner
- Comprehensive educational exchange program, including entrance fees
- Premium Festival Pass
- Friendly Planet Representative
- Professional, English-speaking local guide, who will facilitate the exchanges with Cubans
- Pre-Night stay in Miami
- Post-Night stay in Miami
Why you'll love it
- Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the 36th Havana International Jazz Festival with an all access Premium Pass.
- Attend a private jazz concert in one of Cuba's top jazz venues, "La Zorra y el Cuervo".
- Meet young jazz artists and learn about life in Cuba as an aspiring musician.
- Explore Old Havana’s architectural treasure trove and learn about the restoration efforts and improvement of social services to the community.
- Cruise the streets of Havana in a privately-owned classic American car.
- Enjoy several meals at Cuban paladares: small, family-run restaurants.
Itinerary at a Glance
- 1 Tuesday, January 19, 2021 – Miami/Havana
- 2 Wednesday, January 20, 2021 – Havana
- 3 Thursday, January 21, 2021 – Havana, Guanabacoa, and Cojimar
- 4 Friday, January 22, 2021 - Las Terrazas
- 5 Saturday, January 23, 2021 – Havana
- 6 Sunday, January 24, 2021 – Havana
- 7 Monday, January 25, 2021 – Havana/Miami
Day 1 Tuesday, January 19, 2021 – Miami/Havana
- Arrive in Havana and transfer to your hotel
- Opening ceremony of the Jazz Festival
- Welcome Gala dinner and music event
Melía Cohiba or similar DinnerFull Day ItineraryToday, board your flight bound for Havana, Cuba's capital city and designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.¡Bienvenidos a La Habana! You are welcomed by your private Cuban National Guide holding a Friendly Planet sign outside the arrivals terminal at the Havana Airport. Board your air-conditioned vehicle, and jump right in as you head directly to your hotel.Check into the hotel and enjoy a welcome drink.
Tonight, head out to the opening ceremony of the Jazz Festival.
Later this evening, enjoy a special welcome dinner and live music event hosted by the jazz festival organizers.
Day 2 Wednesday, January 20, 2021 – Havana
- Discussion on history of Cuban Jazz
- Privately guided walking tour through Old Havana
- Lunch at local paladar
- Experience Cuban rhythms with a dance lesson
- Jazz Festival
Melía Cohiba or similar Breakfast & lunchFull Day ItineraryAfter breakfast this morning, meet with contemporary jazz musician and pianist David Faya to discuss the rich history of Cuban JazzThen, take a guided leisurely walk through the labyrinthian streets of Old Havana. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors of Cuba while walking along the cobblestone streets. Explore the used booksellers market, a cross-cultural treasure trove for readers of every genre. Meet local independent booksellers, and engage in friendly conversation with Cuban readers about popular Cuban and American literature. Stop at Hotel Ambos Mundos, Ernest Hemingway’s first home in Cuba, and learn about his strong connection to Cuba and its culture.Lunch today will be at a local paladar.Step into Cuba’s world of music and dance with a private dance class just for us. First, experience Cuba’s most traditional dances through a demonstration by your talented and personable teachers. Engage with them about the importance of music and dancing to life here in Cuba. Then, stand right up and participate with them to learn the basic steps for yourself.Tonight, have dinner on your own before attending the Jazz Festival.
Day 3 Thursday, January 21, 2021 – Havana, Guanabacoa, and Cojimar
- Visit elementary level music school
- Tour the fishing village of Cojimar and enjoy lunch at a local paladar
- Meet with Santa Amalia dancers in Bahia
- Take a ride in a classic American convertible to tour picturesque Havana in style
- Jazz Festival
Melía Cohiba or similar Breakfast & lunchFull Day Itinerary
Visit to the elementary level school of music, Guillermo Tomás in Guanabacoa. Enjoy the exchange with students and teachers, and its Jazz Band performance.
Continue on to the quaint fishing village of Cojimar, the setting for Hemingway's book, The Old Man and the Sea, and enjoy lunch at a local paladar. La Terraza Restaurant, where the book's character Santiago brings in the remains of his epic fish, still stands today, and the pier where Hemingway's fishing boat docked can be seen from the shore.
Meet the enthusiastic jazz dancers of Santa Amalia. These dancers have been at it since the 1960s, and are now joined by Havana's youth. Combined they create some of Havana's most lively dance parties.
Hop into one of Havana's classic American cars and take a nostalgic drive back in time. Enjoy views of Havana from your beautifully-maintained classic automobile.
Afterwards, enjoy the remainder of the day to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the Jazz Festival activities.
Day 4 Friday, January 22, 2021 - Las Terrazas
- Visit to Las Terrazas community
- Lunch at Casa Campesino
- Jazz Festival
Melía Cohiba Breakfast & lunchFull Day ItineraryDepart for Las Terrazas in Pinar del Rio Province, a “must see” in Cuba and known worldwide for its magnificent, scenic beauty. Las Terrazas was founded shortly after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 as a model community, where local farmers, known as campesinos, moved closer together in order to help each other overcome the hardships of sleeping in huts with thatched roofs, of living without electricity and of living without local schools or medical services.
We’ll visit the town’s only coffee shop, Café Maria, where she and her family have been welcoming visitors for years to enjoy the “best coffee in the country.” Discuss coffee culture in Cuba and throughout the world and how cafes act as places for social interaction.
Later we will see the art studio of Lester Campa.
Enjoy an authentic, country-style lunch prepared and served outdoors at a local farmhouse near Las Terrazas.
Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own and later, attend the Jazz Festival performances.
Day 5 Saturday, January 23, 2021 – Havana
- Learn about the artwork of Beatriz Santacana
- Enjoy lunch at a private home
- Private concert with Cuban Jazz artist Yasek Manzano
- Jazz Festival
Melía Cohiba or similar Breakfast & lunchFull Day ItineraryContinue to the Santacana Gallery to learn about the artwork of self-taught Cuban artist, Beatriz Santacana.
Enjoy a family style lunch on the back patio of Yasek Manzano's friendly neighbor and experience some of Cuba’s most popular and contemporary jazz music by one of Cuba's most talented Cuban jazz trumpet player, composer, arranger and producers.After dinner on your own, enjoy the sights and sounds of the Jazz Festival activities.
Day 6 Sunday, January 24, 2021 – Havana
- Meet members of the community project, Clave Sol
- Visit the community project, Okantomi to experience a lively Rumba session
- Visit a jazz club with a private jazz session
- Closing ceremony of the Jazz Festival
Melía Cohiba or similar Breakfast, lunch & dinnerFull Day ItineraryVisit the Clave Sol community project, established by parents in the San Augustin neighborhood to provide safe, wholesome after-school activities for their children. Children select among various string instruments and then learn to play them, performing Cuban as well as international music. During your visit, meet the children, their teachers and hear them rehearsing for upcoming performances.
Visit the community project, Okantomi to experience a lively Rumba session.
Private concert with young jazz players in the famous Jazz Club “La Zorra y El Cuervo”.
Continue on to your farewell dinner, served in a privately owned restaurant. Afterwards, enjoy the last night of the Jazz Festival!
Day 7 Monday, January 25, 2021 – Havana/Miami
- Transfer to the airport and board your flight back to Miami
BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
Today, bid farewell to Cuba as you transfer to Havana's Jose Marti International Airport and check in for your flight back to Miami. ¡Adiós, Habana!
Note: Itinerary is subject to change based on local availability.
This itinerary provides a full time schedule of activities that will result in meaningful interactions between you and individuals in Cuba. U.S. law requires that all persons who participate in this program adhere to this full time schedule, and imposes on Friendly Planet the obligation to ensure such adherence.
Infrastructure in Cuba, including even the best hotels, may not always be up to U.S. standards. The hotels really do try to maintain quality accommodations, and in the properties we select for our tours, they generally do a good job. However, Cuba's resources and climate do sometimes impact a hotel's ability to keep up with maintenance and indoor air quality. For example, in Cuba's tropical climate, you might notice musty odors in some buildings, including hotels. We do our best to select the highest quality hotels, restaurants and paladars that Cuba has to offer, but we appreciate your flexibility and understanding when you encounter a minor imperfection. Cuba has a long way to go before its hotels, highways, public restrooms and other features reach U.S. levels, but all in all, you will not suffer any major difficulties in tolerating the small issues that may occur. If you have any medical or dietary concerns, however, please inform us when you make your reservation, so we can take whatever special precautions are required to assure your comfort and wellbeing.
The Melía Cohiba is located in Vedado, a modern district in Havana. Situated on the sea, the hotel is only 50 meters from the famous Malecón, boasting stunning views of both the ocean or Havana city. Melía Cohiba is a short distance from the historic Old Havana, Plaza de la Revolución, and some of Havana’s finest Jazz Clubs and restaurants. With stunning views of the city and the sea, Melia Cohiba’s 462 modern rooms offer stunning panoramic views of Havana and the sea and are fitted with air conditioning. Wi-Fi internet access, satellite LCD TV , telephone , electronic safe, minibar, coffee/tea making facilities, iron/ironing board, bathroom with a hairdryer. Melía Cohiba offers 5 exquisite and diverse dining options in a pleasant atmosphere. There are 6 bars serving international and premium brand drinks, cocktails, liquors and coffees. A cigar bar with a live entertainment and a cigar shop and a coffee bar to enjoy some terrific coffee and Cuban cigars. Lastly, enjoy an evening at Havana Café, a nightclub with a bar and cabaret show with invited guests as the Buena Vista Social Club musicians.
In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.
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- What should I know before I go? We've compiled a comprehensive checklist, including information on how to pay your balance due, flights & transfers, packing & luggage, and more.
- Do I need a visa or other documents? Are there any entry requirements? Travel visas are required for this package. Please review the visa & entry requirements.
- Can I make changes to my trip? Want to upgrade your seats? Depart from another city? Something else? Just ask!
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 12 or older at time of travel.
- Should I purchase travel insurance? Yes! We recommend you purchase travel insurance to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. For your convenience, we offer a plan provided by Travelex Insurance Services.
- What's the fine print? Review the terms & conditions for this package.
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