"JAZZ PLAZA CUBA" INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
INCLUDED in your program:
- Accommodations: 5 nights as indicated in program
- Local guide and driver for duration of itinerary
- Group Transfer (IN & OUT)
- Meals: Daily breakfast, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners
- Activities: As mentioned in itinerary
- Standard Access to Jazz Festival Credentials
NOT INCLUDED in your program:
- Gratuities and donations
- Tour Director services
- Any other services not listed in the program
Day 1: ARRIVAL DAY (Wednesday January 17, 2018)
Welcome to Cuba! Upon arrival to the Havana international airport, independently go through Customs and gather your luggage. Your bilingual local guide will meet you as you enter the Arrivals hall, and from here, begin your 5 night “Jazz Plaza Cuba” international festival experience! Your first taste of Cuba will be by way of a panoramic bus tour (about 40 minutes) through some of the most iconic sections of the city and see a wide mixture of architectural styles and the testimony of Cuba throughout different eras: Spanish, British and American. Arrive at a locally owned private restaurant, also known as a “paladar,” for your first taste of Cuban cuisine, full of international fusion and traditional flavors. Your guide will then take you to the community project La Lucecita for an insightful exchange with the students and teachers. Learn about their different musical endeavors and goals stemming from vocal and instrumental talents. Transfer to the hotel in mid-afternoon and be assisted with check in and time to rest and relax after a long morning of travel. Tonight’s welcome dinner will be at another delicious and proven local restaurant which blends classic and modern Cuban flavors at once. About 8:00 PM will be the “Jazz Plaza Cuba” International Festival’s Opening Gala where you will have the opportunity to gather with fellow jazz aficionados and interact with prominent and talented musicians from around the world.
Day 2: HAVANA (Thursday January 18, 2018)
Have a delightful international breakfast at your hotel this morning before setting out on a full day of sightseeing. Before it gets too hot in this Caribbean isle, your local guide and driver will take you deep into Old Havana which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. Over 2 hours, be introduced to the restoration and preservation process of its most elaborate buildings, along with old ties and new hopes around every corner. Discover the history of Havana through 4 of its principal squares: Plaza Vieja, Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco, and Plaza de la Catedral. Then, get your dancing shoes on for a 1 hour salsa lesson with a set of passionate dance instructors. You may even get the itch to try some Cha Cha Cha or rumba rhythms! Sit down for a refreshing meal at a local paladar, then step back outdoors and visit the San Jose Craft Market along the seaside of Old Havana which is a large warehouse transformed into a bazaar with over 100 privately-owned artisan and handicraft stalls, making this a fantastic place to purchase souvenirs for those back home. Communicate with the local entrepreneurs to learn about this burgeoning sector of private enterprise. If you take a break from the shopping, simply step out the door and you will have wide views of Havana Port and Regla district skyline beyond the waves. Nearby we will enjoy in a visit to Morro Castle, considered one of the oldest stone forts in the Americas and which offers an unparalleled bird’s eye panoramic view of Old Havana and Havana Harbor. Be dropped back off at your hotel in the early evening, and have dinner on your own. Tonight will be the 2nd night of the “Jazz Plaza Cuba” International Festival, with a full schedule of concerts and performances to indulge in!
Day 3: HAVANA (Friday January 19, 2018)
Replenish on breakfast this morning at the hotel for another day of fulfilling Havana excursions. Arrive at the Higher Institute of Arts (ISA), one of the most prestigious art academies in Cuba, for an exchange with the students and professors. Here the talented pupils work on developing their musical, visual, and performing skills. Next up is a stop at the studio of the Habana Compas Dance Company in the busy Marianao district. The teenage and youthful performers have rediscovered and revived the soul of Afro-Cuban beats as performed using everyday percussion items such as sticks and chairs among more delicate and dedicated instruments. They pair the music with lively, rhythmic contemporary dance, and you will not be surprised that they have been featured and toured around the world. Go for lunch at a nearby paladar, then prepare your eyes and cameras for Fusterlandia. This community project was spearheaded by Jose Fuster, “the Picasso of the Caribbean,” who has transformed his neighborhood into a colorful mosaic and artistic mecca. See the various sculptures and details completed together with members of the community. Return to the hotel to freshen up, then tonight will be the 3rd night of “Jazz Plaza Cuba” International Festival events!
Day 4: HAVANA (Saturday January 20, 2018)
Start your day starting with a full breakfast at your hotel, then drive off to Finca Vigia, also known as the old Ernest Hemingway house. Here is where the famed author of “A Farewell to Arms” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” spent 20 years when living in Havana beginning in mid-1939. Have about 1 hour to explore the property which has been restored as a living museum where you can peer into the windows and see items just as Hemingway left them, including more than 8,000 books, personal relics, and collections; his precious boat Pilar and the legendary swimming pool where he hosted some of the biggest cultural icons of the times. Complete tracing Hemingway’s footsteps by journeying to the fishing village of Cojimar where he docked his dear Pilar and the place which inspired him to pen “The Old Man and the Sea.” Take in a lunch at a restaurant in the area, then head towards Old Havana to visit the Havana Club Rum Museum to learn more about Cuba’s most famous beverage and sample a refreshing Mojito or Cuba Libre cocktail. Return to the hotel by mid-afternoon for some time on your own. In the early evening, you will hear the rumble of vintage American cars picking you up from the hotel for a twilight drive past some of your favorite sites in Havana seen over the last few days. After the 1-hour ride, you will enjoy the last organized dinner of the program. The 4th night of “Jazz Plaza Cuba” International Festival jams and festivities continue!
Day 5: HAVANA (Sunday January 21, 2018)
Start the day with another fine breakfast at your hotel, then venture back to Old Havana to the Fine Arts Museum to see some of the best examples of recent and modern Cuban art collections in the world. Walk through the various galleries organized chronologically mainly dating from the 20th century created both before and after the Cuban Revolution. Then venture to the Callejon de Hamel to exchange with the local community members and children who have dedicated their efforts towards honoring the Santeria religion. The saint-based beliefs are Caribbean at heart, here fused with African slave traditions and the Cuban lifestyle. See the colorful murals and multidisciplinary art pieces that line this small but intricate alleyway, and dip into the handful of galleries and projects tucked to the side. Have a fusion-style lunch at a local restaurant, then return to the hotel for the afternoon to rest and relax as you wish. Conclude the rest of the evening enjoying the “Jazz Plaza Cuba” International Festival’s Closing Ceremony!
Day 6: DEPARTURE DAY (Monday January 22, 2018)
Have breakfast at the hotel, then at a convenient time, your guide and driver will take you by bus to the Havana airport for your international flight home. Be assisted with check in, then have a short flight back to the USA. Thank you for exploring Cuba with us!
Hotel Habana Libre
Hotel Melia Cohiba
Hotel Iberostar Parque Central
Jan 17-21, 2018
Jan 17-21, 2018
Jan 17-21, 2018
Jan 17-21, 2018
Jan 17-21, 2018
STD = Standard Room
Minimum 5 pax per group to guarantee departure