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.
- First-class accommodations
- Full schedule of guided people-to-people activities
- All meals while in Cuba
- U.S. Treasury Department License and Letter of Authorization
- Insight Cuba Tour Leader
- Cuban Guide
- Small group size of no more than 24 guests
- All entrance fees to scheduled activities and events
- All in-country ground transportation, and airport transfers
- Guaranteed flights from Miami to Cuba and priority handling (flight cost is additional)
- Travel health insurance, emergency medical evacuation, and trip cancellation coverage (up to $1,000)
- Insight Cuba Travel Guidebook
- 24 hour emergency customer service hotline
*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/Havana
Welcome to Havana! After clearing immigrations and customs, your Cuban guide will accompany you to your hotel in the heart of the country’s capital. Knock at the doors of the distinguished Cuban artist Jose Fuster in the fishing village of Jaimanitas. “Fusterlandia,” as it’s called, is a community project dedicated to beautifying the neighborhood; and you’ll discuss its impact during an intimate chat with Fuster. Get your feet wet with an afternoon program orientation. Later that evening, celebrate your arrival with a welcome dinner at the hotel, and then have the unique opportunity to meet with Havana’s jazz musicians in an intimate setting to learn more about their craft through a live demonstration.
Day 2: Havana
Walk the streets of Old Havana, a famous UNESCO heritage area, on your way to meet with local artists with the help of your Cuban guide. Later that morning, meet with artists at Taller de la Gráfica to hear about current exhibitions and to interact with engraving artists at work. Later, get up-close with Cuban musicians at the jazz club La Zorra y El Cuevo for their perspective on the beats that drive the country wild. There is a private concert and everyone is invited to pick up an instrument and join in. In the afternoon, get to know a Cuban papier-mâché artist and the children that participate in his unique, self-created after-school art project. In the evening, prepare for another encounter with some of Havana’s finest jazz players.
Day 3: Havana
This morning we depart for Matanzas, where your first stop is Ediciones Vigia, a publishing house specializing in the creation of handmade books. Its staff eagerly discusses the history of the organization and the process they employ to fashion the limited-edition tomes. Afterward, learn about the “Reparadores de Sueño” (‘Dream catchers’) project, a local initiative fostering cultural development among youth, put together by the Abraham Lincoln Cultural Center. Top off your day with a discussion and a performance focusing on traditional dance with the members of the Afrocuba de Matanzas, a Cuban music group. Later in the evening, you’ll be joined by an expert in Cuban jazz who will engage you and prominent jazz players to learn about the sounds of Havana through a music demonstration.
Day 4: Havana
Visit Havana’s Literacy Museum and chat with the director about how the island’s youth have mobilized to teach the rural population how to read. Wrap up the morning alongside Cuban dancers from the Santa Amalia Community Jazz Project. In the afternoon, meet local artists who shed light on how artists make a living in Cuba today. Later this afternoon, meet with a renowned jazz musician, and personal friend of Insight Cuba, for an afternoon of discussion and live playing at his home. After dinner, your encounter with jazz musicians will continue as you experience more intimate live demonstrations and have the opportunity to get to know the people behind the music.
Day 5: Havana/Miami
After breakfast, bid farewell to Cuba as you board your flight home.
Tour Dates & Prices
Jazz in Havana Tour
|Date||Double Occupancy (per person)||Status|
|Jul 3, 2013 – Jul 7, 2013||$2,795||Save $600 for Two. Call for Details.||Sold Out|
|Aug 7, 2013 – Aug 11, 2013||$2,695||Only 4 spots left!||Save $600 for Two. Call for Details.||Book Now!|
|Sep 25, 2013 – Sep 29, 2013||$2,695||Book Now!|
|Oct 30, 2013 – Nov 3, 2013||$2,695||Book Now!|
|Nov 20, 2013 – Nov 24, 2013||$2,795||Book Now!|
|Dec 11, 2013 – Dec 15, 2013||$2,795||Book Now!|
|Dec 18, 2013 – Dec 22, 2013||$2,895||Book Now!|
|Dec 28, 2013 – Jan 1, 2014||$3,095||Book Now!|
|Jan 15, 2014 – Jan 19, 2014||$2,795||Book Now!|
|Feb 12, 2014 – Feb 16, 2014||$2,795||Book Now!|
|Mar 19, 2014 – Mar 23, 2014||$2,795||Book Now!|
|Apr 16, 2014 – Apr 20, 2014||$2,795||Book Now!|
|May 14, 2014 – May 18, 2014||$2,795||Book Now!|
|Jun 18, 2014 – Jun 22, 2014||$2,795||Book Now!|
Single Supplement: For single-occupancy pricing, add $350.
All departures after September 30, 2013 are pending license approval.