Cuba is a rhythm nation. You can feel it in Havana’s music venues, where performers punctuate heavy air with bata and maracas. You can hear it in historic residential neighborhoods, where the blare of trumpet courses through Colonial courtyards. You can see it in the blissful expressions of street buskers, who serenade passersby with soft Spanish guitar.
The island country’s world-famous music scene is one of its biggest draws. That’s why we make sure to take you deep into the groove with our Jazz in Havana Tour. We’ve teamed up with JazzTimes Magazine to offer this rare insider plunge into the thriving Cuban art and jazz scene.
Immerse yourself for five music-soaked days in an inferno of Afro beats, freewheeling jazz and swirling salsa. When you’re not swaying to a toe-tapping performance, your Cuban guide will usher you behind the scenes to discover just where the beats are rooted and to engage in meaningful, memorable dialogue with musicians, music teachers, producers and engineers. It’s a tour that goes well beyond what you’ll find in any guidebook.
Start on a high note in Old Havana, a UNESCO heritage area studded with noteworthy architecture, from Neo-Gothic plazas to classic Moorish courts. Drop by Taller de la Gráfica, an engraving studio where artists regale you with stories about their inspiration and current exhibitions, before heading to La Zorra y El Cuevo jazz club for a meeting with musicians and maybe even a private concert where you are encouraged to join in (we think you’ll like the feeling of the tumbadora, a tall wooden and leather drum, in your hands).
The rest of your tour balances art encounters with musical interludes and a chance to engage with Cuban jazz musicians who open their hearts about how music is shaping the island’s cultural identity. Journey to Matanzas, a nearby northern province, to visit a publishing house specializing in the creation of handmade books; continue on to meet the members of a local folkloric music group, where young musicians share how Afro-Cuban culture has influenced the island’s sounds. Later, meet artist Jose Fuster in the fishing village of Jaimanitas and hear how his community art project is beautifying this tranquil slice of the country.
Whether you are just beginning to foster a love of Cuban jazz or have long been a fan of the country’s rhythm kings, like Chucho Valdés, this tour will leave you inspired, energized and truly in touch with artistry like no other.
One night at the Sofitel Miami Hotel, including breakfast and airport transfer
Private welcome reception and pre-tour briefing
Superior accommodations at the Melia Cohiba in Havana
Insight Cuba exclusive-guided programming, including; unique handpicked people-to-people activities; insider access to Cuba's famous places and those rarely seen; and private visits and lectures with Cuba's renowned experts
Experienced Insight Cuba Tour Leader
Expert Cuban guide
All meals while in Cuba, except for two paladar evening dining experiences on your own
U.S. Department of the Treasury license and Insight Cuba letter of authorization
Small group size (usually 16 or fewer guests; never more than 24)
All entrance fees to scheduled activities and events
Flight package (cost additional) including; round-trip charter air from Miami to Cuba; priority check-in at Miami International Airport; and baggage fee for first checked bag
All in-country ground transportation, and airport transfers
Travel health insurance, emergency medical evacuation, and trip cancellation coverage (up to $1,000)
*Customer end-of-tour gratuities for the Cuban guide, driver, and tour leader are left to the guest’s discretion and should be based on your satisfaction with the level of service received.
*A significant portion of your in-country programming is customized for each group to maximize your cultural experience. Many of the places we visit are not tourist destinations and are thus not always available. Therefore, this program should be considered as a sample only – please keep in mind that your particular tour may vary. Final itineraries are sent to guests one to two weeks prior to departure.
Day 1: Miami
Your trip begins in Miami at the Sofitel Miami Airport hotel, where your small group of traveling companions will gather for an important early evening briefing and cocktail reception.
Meals | Enjoy dinner on your own and at your leisure
Day 2: Miami / Havana
Following breakfast at the hotel, you’ll board our charter flight to Havana. After clearing immigration and customs, you’ll be accompanied to lunch by your Cuban guide and Insight Cuba tour leader. Then, you’ll take a short drive to the small town of Jaimanitas to meet renowned artist Jose Fuster. Known as the Picasso of the Caribbean, he has turned his home and community into a living art gallery that has transformed old facades into colorful murals. Following an afternoon program orientation, celebrate your arrival with a welcome dinner at the hotel.Read More
Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Havana
After breakfast, you’ll begin with a walking tour of Old Havana, a famous UNESCO heritage area, en route to the Abdala recording studio, where famous musicians, including Nat King Cole and the Buena Vista Social Club, recorded some of their best music.
Later, you’ll visit a renowned artist in his studio. After lunch, you’ll join Cuban musicians at the famous jazz club La Zorra y El Cuervo for a private gathering. Next, you’ll have a very special visit with a friend and self-taught Cuban artist who opens his home to teach neighborhood children the art of papier mâché. Tonight, you’ll dine on your own at a paladar, a private, family-owned restaurant. Your Insight Cuba tour leader, who is an expert in the dining scene, will make the best recommendations. After dinner, visit a jazz or music club at your leisure. (Your tour leader can also recommend the best clubs.)
Meals | Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4: Havana / Matanzas
This morning, you’ll depart for Matanzas, where your first stop is a unique book publisher that makes handmade paper and hand-bound books. Signed copies of books can be purchased for a small fee. After lunch, you’ll visit a dance-and-performing-arts center to meet with the performers and learn about rhumba and other folkloric dance forms.
The beat goes on during a special visit with AfroCuba de Matanzas, one of Cuba's most-respected folklore groups, performing traditional African dances, percussion, and songs. After, you’ll take a leisurely journey back to Havana on the northern coast.
Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Havana
This morning, you’ll meet with one of Cuba’s most-respected jazz musicians and professors to learn about Cuban jazz and its history. Later in the morning, you’re in for a special visit to a cultural center, where our friends will introduce you to some real Cuban hospitality, song and dance.
For lunch, you’ll will dine at El Aljibe, made famous by Anthony Bourdain during his visit to Cuba. After lunch, you’ll visit two artists in their studio. Later, you’ll meet a renowned jazz musician (and personal friend of Insight Cuba) for an afternoon of listening, learning, some discussion, and live playing. You’ll wrap up the day with a farewell dinner at a local paladar, a privately owned restaurant in a Cuban home.
Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Havana / Miami ¡Adios, Cuba!
Following breakfast and hotel checkout, you’ll meet with an art specialist for an incredible tour of Havana’s Museum of Fine Arts. Then, you’ll enjoy lunch before heading to the airport for your return flight to Miami.
Meals | Breakfast
Tour Dates & Prices
Jazz in Havana Tour
|Date||Double Occupancy (per person)||Status|
|Oct 30, 2013 – Nov 3, 2013||$2,695||Sold Out|
|Nov 20, 2013 – Nov 24, 2013||$2,795||Sold Out|
|Dec 11, 2013 – Dec 15, 2013||$2,795||Sold Out|
|Dec 18, 2013 – Dec 22, 2013||$2,895||Sold Out|
|Dec 28, 2013 – Jan 1, 2014||$3,095||CALL NOW|
|Feb 12, 2014 – Feb 16, 2014||$3,495||CALL NOW|
|Mar 19, 2014 – Mar 23, 2014||$3,495||Sold Out|
|Apr 15, 2014 – Apr 20, 2014||$3,495||Book Now!|
|May 13, 2014 – May 18, 2014||$3,295||Book Now!|
|Jun 17, 2014 – Jun 22, 2014||$3,295||Book Now!|
|Jul 8, 2014 – Jul 13, 2014||$3,295||Book Now!|
|Aug 5, 2014 – Aug 10, 2014||$3,295||Book Now!|
|Oct 7, 2014 – Oct 12, 2014||$3,195||Book Now!|
|Nov 25, 2014 – Nov 30, 2014||$3,495||Book Now!|
|Dec 22, 2014 – Dec 27, 2014||$3,495||Book Now!|
Single Supplement: For single-occupancy pricing, add $400.