Havana International Jazz Festival 2019

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Featuring Take in the heart & soul of this colorful & cultural island: 34th Havana International Jazz Festival
Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Price Includes
  • Non-stop round trip flights from Miami to Havana
  • U.S. Treasury Department, OFAC License Certification and Authorization Letter
  • Cuba Entrance Visa & Departure Tax
  • All land transportation, transfers & porterage in Cuba
  • 6 nights 5-star hotel accommodations in Havana
  • 14 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Comprehensive educational exchange program, including entrance fees
  • 34th Havana International Jazz Festival Pass
  • Friendly Planet Tour Manager
  • Professional, English-speaking local guide, who will facilitate the educational exchanges with Cubans
  • Health insurance in Cuba (mandatory)
  • Pre-Night stay in Miami
  • Post-Night stay in Miami
  • Premium Access Festival Pass
  • Experience the sights & sounds of the 34th Havana International Jazz Festival!
  • Enjoy a private Jazz performance at the famous La Zorra y el Cuervo
  • Feel the rhythm of soulful jazz at the Abdala Recording Studio
  • Explore Old Havana’s architectural treasure trove
  • Learn how Cuban masters hand-roll cigars at a famous Cigar Factory
  • Visit Cuba’s Instituto Superior de Artes, the leading school for Music, Visual & Performing Arts
  • Walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway at Finca Vigia
Themes History & Culture
What to Expect This fast-paced, escorted educational program includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.

Prepare for your trip Already booked? Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.

Havana International Jazz Festival 2019 itinerary

“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 34th Havana International Jazz Festival, private performances at one of Havana’s hottest late-night jazz clubs La Zorra y el Cuervo, a visit to Instituto Superior de Artes, the leading school for Music, Visual & Performing Arts, a tour of the Abdala Recording Studio and more!  

And of course, we’ve packed every day with People-to-People experiences that will leave you with an unforgettable trip and memories that last a lifetime. Stay six nights at the the Parque Central, a spectacular 5-star hotel, centrally located in old Havana and rated the city’s #1 hotel on TripAdvisor. You'll walk in Ernest Hemingway’s footsteps at Finca Vigia; meet up-and-coming Cuban artists; learn how to roll cigars from the masters, and more. There’s so much to love about this experience, so book today, because space is flying!

We're still going to Cuba!
Our People-to-People tours are still legal and not impacted by recent changes in U.S. policy. Questions? See our Cuba FAQs.


Day 1: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – Miami/Havana

Accommodations: 6 nights Parque Central, Havana. Included meals: Dinner.

  • Arrive in Havana and transfer to your hotel
  • Welcome dinner at a local paladar

El Capitolio, HavanaFull Day Itinerary: Today, 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. You’ll meet your tour manager and have some time to rest a little or take a stroll around Old Havana before dinner.

This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local paladar.

Day 2: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 – Havana 

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Visit a music school
  • Leisurely orientation walk through Old Havana
  • Lunch at local paladar
  • Private Jazz Concert in “La Zorra y el Cuervo”
  • Dinner at a local paladar
  • Jazz Festival

Musician, Old HavanaFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast this morning, visit one of Havana’s top music schools, where young musicians are training to become the next generation of Cuban jazz artists.

Then, enjoy a leisurely orientation walk through Old Havana to learn about its historic, architectural and cultural significance. The area was declared a World Heritage Site in 1982 by UNESCO. Learn about the City Historian's massive efforts to restore Old Havana buildings, attract tourism and new investment, and improve social services for local residents.

Lunch today will be at a local paladar.

This afternoon, you’ll have the distinct pleasure of sitting in on a private jazz concert in “La Zorra y el Cuervo”, one of the top jazz venues in Cuba.  After the performance, you’ll have time to speak with the young jazz artist about his music and life in Cuba as an aspiring musician.

Tonight, enjoy dinner at one of Havana’s best paladars. 

Afterwards, enjoy the Jazz Festival.

Day 3: Thursday, January 17, 2019 – Modern Havana & Fusterlandia

Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.

  • Visit to the Instituto Superior de Artes
  • Explore Jose Fuster's whimsical "Fusterlandia"
  • Visit Santacana Gallery
  • Enjoy lunch at a local paladar
  • Tour modern Havana
  • Visit the community project, Clave Sol
  • Jazz Festival

Friendly Planet traveler posing for a photo, FusterlandiaFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast at the hotel, visit the Instituto Superior de Artes, the top art academy in Cuba where talented young Cubans study music, the visual arts, dance arts and audiovisual communication media.

Then, drive to Jaimanitas, where you'll visit "Fusterlandia," the home and surrounding neighborhood of "The Picasso of the Caribbean," Jose Fuster. Starting with a small wooden home as his canvas, Mr. Fuster has turned his dream into reality and transformed not just his own home but the entire neighborhood into a unique and colorful artistic landscape. Using the money he makes from selling his artwork, Jose adorns the community with sculptures and mosaics galore.

Continue to the Santacana Gallery to learn about the artwork of self-taught Cuban artist, Beatriz Santacana.

Enjoy lunch at a local paladar.

Havana street sceneThis afternoon, enjoy a panoramic tour of the urban area that lies west of Old Havana and demonstrates the progression of the city over time: from a neighborhood along the city walls after its demolition, passing through the transitional Midtown (Centro Habana), to the extensive and more modern Vedado and Miramar neighborhoods.

Visit the Clave Sol community project, established by parents in the San Augustin neighborhood to provide safe, wholesome afterschool 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.

Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own and later, attend the Jazz Festival performances.

Day 4: Friday, January 18, 2019 - Havana

Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.

  • Tour one of Havana’s famous cigar factories
  • Experience Cuban rhythms with a dance lesson
  • Lunch at local paladar
  • Visit to Abdala Recording Studio with jazz session
  • Jazz Festival

Man rolling cigarsFull Day Itinerary: This morning, visit one of Havana's famous cigar factories where you will see hundreds of workers rolling Cuban cigars by hand. If the cigar factories are closed, a private cigar demonstration will be provided instead.

Then, experience Cuban rhythms in an exciting dance lesson.

Enjoy lunch at a paladar.

Visit the Abdala Recording Studio where you’ll hear a special live Jazz session.

Afterwards, enjoy the remainder of the day to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the Jazz Festival activities.

Day 5: Saturday, January 19, 2019 – Havana & Cojimar

Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.

  • Visit the Fine Arts Museum (Cuban collection) or the Revolution Museum
  • Tour the fishing village of Cojimar and enjoy lunch at a local paladar
  • View the interior of Ernest Hemingway's home, Finca Vigia, from open doors and windows
  • Stop at the Artisans' Market
  • Jazz Festival

Hemingway monumentFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast this morning, drive to the edge of Old Havana to experience the Cuban collection at the Fine Arts Museum. Here you can appreciate the evolution of the country's history through the work of its most famous artists. If you prefer history to art, you can choose instead to visit the Revolution Museum, housed in the former Presidential Palace.

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.

Finca VigiaAfter lunch, drive to Hemingway's Cuba retreat. There are many historical and cultural ties between Cuba and the United States, and one of the best known is the legacy of Ernest Hemingway, who lived more than 20 years in Cuba, from 1939 to 1960. You'll visit Hemingway's beautiful mansion, Finca Vigía, (literally meaning "lookout farm"), now a museum. While visitors cannot enter the house itself, the large, open windows and doors around the entire property allow plenty of unobstructed views of his preserved 9,000 book library, as well as his animal trophies and famous fishing boat, Pilar.

On the way back to the hotel, stop at the Artisans' Market by the Bay of Havana, where you will find plenty of souvenirs, including handicrafts, posters and other collectibles.

Tonight, enjoy more of the Jazz Festival!

Day 6: Sunday, January 20, 2019 – Havana 

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Tour the famous Christopher Columbus Cemetery
  • Visit the community project, Okantomi for a lively Rumba session
  • Enjoy lunch at El Aljibe
  • Take a ride in classic American cars
  • Stop in the Bar la Fama at Hotel Nacional
  • Farewell dinner at a paladar
  • Jazz Festival

Christopher Columbus CemeteryFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast at the hotel this morning, tour the famous Christopher Columbus Cemetery, a miniature city of mausoleums, crypts, family chapels, vaults, sculptures and ornate gravestones, which has been named a National Landmark.

Visit the community project, Okantomi to experience a lively Rumba session.

Enjoy lunch at El Aljibe.

Later this afternoon, take a 1-hour ride in classic American cars around the streets of Havana, stopping at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba to enjoy a drink at their Bar la Fama.

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 21, 2019 – Havana/Miami

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport and board your flight back to Miami

Full 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 educational 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.




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