CUBA: Havana Jazz Festival 2023

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HAVANA JAZZ FESTIVAL
January 22 - 29, 2023

Experience the 2022 Havana Jazz Festival! Held annually since 1979, the festival is a six-day feast of spellbinding performances by some of the best musicians in the world. Meet local musicians and artists as you take in the historical and cultural wonders of Havana, Cuba's gritty, bustling capital. Visit Matanzas, the nearby port city known as the birthplace of the Rumba and Danzón. You’ll fall in love with elegant, exuberant Havana: its friendly residents, contemporary artists, exceptional architecture, music, and colorful outdoor markets. It will surprise you with its richness and depth of culture. Enjoy music and dance everywhere as an expression of the soul of the Cuban people. Mingle with renowned musicians at local performances as you meet people who welcome visitors with friendly smiles, laughter and conversation.

Daily Itinerary (subject to change):

HAVANA is the bustling capital of Cuba, located on one of the world’s greatest natural harbors. The beauty of its architecture demonstrates what was once a rich, powerful and sophisticated city founded by the Spaniards in the 16th century. Today Havana is a city perfect for strolling in the salt soaked air of the Malecón, listening to music on street corners, or dining in one of Hemingway’s old haunts. Learn why the friendly and outgoing locals are proud of their culture-rich city and happy to share its historic treasures and many hidden gems.

Day 1 | January 22 | Havana Arrive midday at Jose Marti International Airport. Meet your CCJ trip manager and Cuban guide Jesus Noguera outside of baggage claim. Drive along the iconic Malecón waterfront and pass through the Plaza de la Revolución, where Fidel Castro gave many of his most important speeches. After checking in at your boutique hotel and a brief rest break, enjoy a delicious welcome dinner at one of our favorite paladares. Havana Accommodation (D)

Day 2 | January 23 | Havana  Experience a talk on the history of the city’s fascinating past and uncertain future by an expert architect and city planner. Explore Old Havana on a guided walking tour of the main Cathedral and surrounding plazas. Enjoy lunch at one of Old Havana’s classic eateries. Visit the beautiful Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes contemporary section where your guide will explain the history of Cuba through its art. Meet with a traditional cigar roller who will teach you the art and science behind what makes Cuban cigars the best in the world. Dinner on your own, followed by the Havana Jazz Festival OPENING GALA. Havana Accommodation (B/L)

MATANZAS the capital of the Province of Matanzas, is known as the birthplace of the music and dance traditions of the Danzón and Rumba, which originated in the dockyards of this port city. The city is located on the beautiful Bay of Matanzas, sometimes referred to as the Athens of Cuba, known for its poets, culture and rich Afro-Cuban folklore.

 

Day 3 | January 24 | Matanzas / Havana After breakfast, depart for a day trip to Matanzas, the beautiful port city east of Havana. During the two-hour drive, we will stop at the local conservatory to witness the amazing ways Cuba’s education system nurtures musical and artistic talent. After lunch at a local paladar, take a scenic tour of Matanzas, including a stop at the historic plaza. Return to Havana and dinner on your own, followed by evening Jazz Festival activities. Havana Accommodation (B/D)

Day 4 | January 25 | Havana Explore Finca Vigía, the estate where author Ernest Hemingway lived for over 20 years. Visit the urban organic farm Alamar and talk to the owners about Cuba’s widespread adoption of organic farming practices. After lunch at a renowned organic restaurant, head to the Museum of the Revolution. Dinner on your own. Evening Jazz Fest activities. Havana Accommodation (B/L)

Day 5 | January 26 | Havana
After breakfast, we drive to the village of Cojimar, where Ernest Hemingway moored his famous fishing boat Pilar. After a morning stroll in this seaside neighborhood, we enjoy a delicious seafood feast at one of our favorite paladares Free mid-late afternoon to explore Havana on your own. Evening Jazz Fest activities. Havana Accommodation (B)

Day 6 | January 27 | Havana
After breakfast we visit the Compás Dance Company in the outskirts of Havana for a spectacular performance of a one-of-a-kind dance and drumming. Lunch at a local eatery. Afternoon visit to the Amaldeo Roldán Music conservatory for a performance by Cuban youth music students. Dinner on your own. Havana Accomodation (B/L)

Day 7 | January 28 | Havana
Visit the Callejón de Hamel (Hamel’s Alley) to see local musicians, dancers and artists influenced by the Afro-Cuban Santeria religion and enjoy a presentation by the organizer of this inspiring community art project. Take the local ferry to the neighborhood of Regla, where we visit the Church of the Seafarers with the Black Madonna, their patron saint. Lunch on your own in Old Havana. Free time to explore the vast artisan’s market. Enjoy a delicious farewell dinner before heading out to the Havana Jazz Festival CLOSING FINALE. Havana Accommodation (B/D)

Day 8 | January 29 | Havana/Home
Before your departure home, the morning is free for any last-minute adventures before we bid Cuba farewell. Transfer to Jose Martí Airport for our flights back home. (B)

Journey Notes:

Donations: Musical instruments and art supplies are hard to come by in Cuba. We encourage our travelers to bring easily transportable supplies to give to Cuban artists and students who you may meet on this journey -- i.e. guitar strings, reeds, woodwind pads, paint brushes, drawing pads, etc. A portion of your trip fee will go to the Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation to provide much-needed support to the people and communities we visit.

NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment when we are in Cuba; to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, or to accommodate circumstances beyond our control. Restaurants or hotels may change in similar category.

INCLUDED: In-country transportation per itinerary; Havana Jazz Festival Pass; comfortable boutique hotel and/or private casa particular (double occupancy); daily breakfast; 3 lunches and 3 dinners per itinerary "(B/L/D)"; Cuban English speaking local guide; Cross Cultural Journeys trip manager, all entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; bottled water on the bus.

NOT INCLUDED: International airfare, Cuban visa, departure tax and medical insurance while in Cuba; meals not on itinerary; alcoholic drinks; excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); travel cancellation and evacuation insurance (strongly recommended, info will be sent upon registration).

TRAVEL PROTECTION: Cross Cultural Journeys is not responsible for cancellation expenses that you might incur before or during our trip.  You may want to check first to see if your current insurance policy covers travel abroad, but we have found that most do not. We strongly encourage considering taking out travel interruption and evacuation insurance to cover any emergencies abroad such as evacuation, or reimbursement for cancellation due to your own illness or an illness in your family. Some plans require you to take out this insurance within 21 days of your deposit to cover pre-existing conditions. CCJ has partnered with TravelSafe. You can visit our online portal to explore different plans. We encourage you to choose a plan covers travel interruption before you depart, as well as during the trip. CCJ is not responsible for events beyond our control in this regard.  

Please visit the Cross Cultural Journeys - TravelSafe online portal to find a plan that works for you. You can also call TravelSafe directly at 1-800-523-8020. Make sure you mention that Cross Cultural Journeys is your tour operator to receive our special rates.

CUBA and COVID-19: As of April 4, 2022 the requirement for a negative PCR COVID test result has been eliminated as has the requirement to provide proof of full vaccination. As of May 31st, mask wearing is no longer obligatory, except in health facilities.
Note that these requirement as subject to change, and will be updated accordingly.

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