Tour introduction and overview of activities

Havana jazz fest plus tour is designed for participants to get an overview of island culture, history, and nature. In addition to many Havana excursions, you’ll witness jaw-dropping eco-community of Las Terrazas in the western province of Artemisa. Supernatural Las Terrazas is a mountain village that is self-sustaining and totally organic.

Sensuous Cuba is a nation of intense rhythms, colors, emotions, aromas, and flavors. What travelers remember most is its ubiquitous pulsating music – and the passionate, friendly islanders who make and revel in it.

2021 is our 15th year helping Americans experience the world’s best jazz in the exotic Caribbean metropolis of Havana, Cuba. During the 36th edition of this globally renowned jazz celebration, you’ll rub shoulders with jazz greats from scores of nations.

Our guests stay at the historic five-star Hotel Nacional de Cuba, on the Malecón seawall with stunning views of the ocean and city, in the heart of Havana’s entertainment district.

Countless international personalities from history, culture, science, sport, and politics have stayed at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. They consider it the best digs from which to enjoy hot, throbbing, live Latin rhythms morning, noon and night on the ultimate Latin jazz and Cuban dream tour.

You’ll enjoy the best seats at all jazz festival performances and venues with your VIP all-access festival pass. You’re an honored guest when traveling with Cuba Explorer.

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 – Sunday :: Say hello to the nation of music

  • Arrival at Havana’s José Martí International (HAV) airport.
  • Transfer to, and check-in at your boutique accommodations is prearranged.
  • Enjoy a welcome cocktail, freshen up, and settle in.
  • Group arrival dinner with your guide and tourmates.
  • Evening exploration with tourmates and time to meet Cubans.

Day 2 – Monday :: Old Havana, architecture, history and art

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Walking tour of the four historic plazas in Old Havana with a local guide. Meet residents and shopkeepers along the way, many of whom are beneficiaries of our humanitarian travel project.
  • Group welcome lunch at the private restaurant Mojito-Mojito.
  • Meet with private Cuban artisans and craftworkers at Almacenes de Depósito San José, a giant dream market offering thousands of handmade objects and paintings.
  • Return to your boutique accommodations to freshen up.
  • Group welcome dinner featuring an open menu at Paladar Café Laurent.
  • Together with hundreds of Cubans, attend El Cañonazo, the 9 PM Cannon Firing Ceremony.

Day 3 – Tuesday :: Amazing nature trip to stunning Las Terrazas and Havana Jazz Festival performances

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • Tour highlight. Now for a day excursion to the amazing Las Terrazas region just one hour to the west of Havana. Once mired in poverty and completely deforested as a result of centuries of charcoal production for coffee processing and cooking, Las Terrazas today is a vibrant self-sustaining eco-community. Located in the Sierra del Rosario mountain range Las Terrazas spans the provinces of Artemisa and Pinar del Río. We’ll visit the rural village called Rancho Curujey and learn about this self-sustaining community's successes in reforestation, historical preservation, environmental balance, and a good life. Later we'll walk the incredible ruins of a French Coffee Plantation built in 1801 worked by African slaves.
  • Optional thrill for the young at heart: Zipline through a forest and across a lake!
  • We’ll enjoy lunch at an open-air restaurant specializing in traditional country cuisine – La Casa del Campesino – ever popular with tour participants and locals alike. The eatery is located on the fresh water shore of the Río San Juan making it lush tropical paradise. This jungle-like forest area offers an opportunity for birding and plant identification.
  • Return to 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.
  • The Havana Jazz festival organizing committee greets us with a nice surprise. Tonight you will be enjoying the first musical notes of the 2020 Havana Jazz Festival. Choose among events taking place at several different venues (transportation NOT INCLUDED).

Day 4 – Wednesday :: Cuban art + Havana Jazz Festival performances

  • Breakfast at 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 at La Moneda Cubana, a small private rooftop eatery located in the heart of Old Havana overlooking the Cathedral Square. It’s named after the original owner’s passion for old coins, moneda national [Cuban coins]. Its authentic cuisine adheres to traditional recipes prepared with seasonal vegetables, 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. Transportation included.

Day 5 – Thursday :: Fusterlandia + Festival events

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • This morning is for you to explore the city on your own with your tourmates and new Cuban friends.
  • Seafood lunch at the private wonderland of acclaimed Cuban muralist and ceramist José Fúster known as the Picasso of the Caribbean. Meet Fúster and talk with his team about art in Cuba.
  • We’ll visit Havana’s most famous jazz club La Zorra y el Cuervo and talk with its staff about the social impact of music in Cuba and the United States.
  • Return to your boutique accommodations to freshen up.
  • Dinner not included – an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries.
  • Havana Jazz Festival Performances. Choose among events taking place at several different venues. Transportation not included.

Day 6 – Friday :: Urban farm, Hemingway + Festival events

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Visit the UBPC Vivero Organopónico Alamar, 9 miles east of Havana. It’s an urban organic farm operated by an independent collective with over 400 members.
  • Lunch at Ajiaco paladar considered one of the best private eateries in the country.
  • A brief visit to the village of Cojímar, a small fishing community and discuss the influence of Hemingway on the local population.
  • Visit Ernest Hemingway’s Finca Vigía home and meet the docents and curators who maintain his vast library, manuscripts, and personal belongings.
  • Return to your boutique accommodations to freshen up.
  • Dinner not included – an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries.
  • Havana Jazz Festival Performances. Choose among events taking place at several different venues. Transportation not included.

Day 7 – Saturday :: Havana discovery day + Festival events 

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Morning and afternoon: Explore the city with your tourmates and new Cuban friends.
  • Lunch not included – an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries.
  • Return to your boutique accommodations to freshen up.
  • Dinner not included – an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries.
  • Havana Jazz Festival Performances. Choose among events taking place at several different venues. Transportation not included.

Day 8 – Sunday :: Afrocuban rhythims + Festival Closing Finale

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Visit the Afrocuban influenced Callejón de Hamel to discuss cultural and religious beliefs.
  • Lunch not included – an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries.
  • Return to your boutique accommodations to freshen up.
  • Afternoon exploration time. Wander the city with your tourmates and new Cuban friends.
  • Farewell group dinner at the private paladar El Atelier where the Obama family dined in 2016.
  • Havana Jazz Festival Closing Finale. Transportation included.

Day 9 – Monday :: Say goodbye to Cuba – for now

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast at your boutique accommodations.
  • Transfer to Havana’s José Martí International (HAV) airport for flights home.
While in Cuba, our attentive island team ensures your trip is magical and memorable.
Tour date Cost Comments Availability
Jan 17 to Jan 25, 2021 $ 2649
Hotel Nacional
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Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
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Breakfast
Lunch
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  • VIP all-access jazz passes for Jazz Festival events
  • Cuban Tourist Visa and delivery, up to a $100 value
  • Certificate of Legal Cuba Travel in compliance with US Cuba regulations
  • Knowledgeable, fun, attentive Cuban guides from arrival to departure
  • Quality accommodations as listed in this itinerary
  • Air-conditioned transport, professional chauffeur, and bottled water daily
  • Airport-accommodation transfers on tour start and end days
  • All activities and fees listed unless noted as optional or suggested
  • Emergency telephone and internet access from Cuba to America
  • Cash advances for participants caught short of funds in Cuba
  • Ongoing support from our US and Cuban staff before, during and after travel
  • Participants become Club Cubano alumni and receive future tour discounts