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JazzArts Trip to Cuba

JazzArts Charlotte offers an exclusive cultural and musical
experience to Cuba and the 40th Annual Havana Jazz Plaza.
January 20-28, 2025

 

                   

Journey to Cuba

Held annually since 1979, the Havana Jazz Festival is a six-day feast of spellbinding performances by some of the best musicians in the world.
You will meet with local musicians and artists as you take in the historical and cultural wonders of Havana, Cuba’s gritty, bustling
capital, Matanzas – the birthplace of Rumba, and Trinidad and Cienfuegos on Cuba’s Southern, Caribbean coast.
The journey will be administered under the general OFAC travel category “Support for
the Cuban People”, in partnership with Cross Cultural Journeys. As such will also include a visit to music schools
and programs that will benefit from outside support and donations in form of musical instruments, music
related goods and products, and/or exchanges and teaching/learning opportunities and
musical exchanges / performances. Additional cultural activities during the trip will include
the amazing array of local art, music, history, food and dance.


Day-by-Day Itinerary (subject to change!)

Day 1: Monday, January 20 | Havana
Arrive at Jose Martí International Airport. Your CCJ Cuba guide will meet you outside of baggage claim.
After checking in at your hotel in Havana (and a brief rest break), enjoy a delicious welcome dinner
and music at one of our favorite paladares.
Sleep: Hotel Grand Aston, Havana (D)

Day 2: Tuesday, January 21 | Havana
After breakfast, we will have a talk on the history of the city’s fascinating past and uncertain future by
an expert architect. Depart for Amadeo Roldán Music Conservatory for a spectacular private
performance by Cuban youth music students. (If you are bringing instruments or other music and
school supplies, this is a good place to donate them!) Enjoy lunch at one of Old Havana’s classic eateries.
Continue your day with a walking tour of the city venturing out into the streets and seeing the four
plazas that make up Habana Vieja (Old Havana). Later in the afternoon, visit Museo de Bellas Artes –
Museum of Fine Arts. Dinner on your own. Evening Jazz Fest activities.
Sleep: Hotel Grand Aston, Havana (B/L)

Day 3: Wednesday, January 22 | Havana
After breakfast, we will enjoy a presentation about Santeria, one of the oldest spiritual practices and
rituals traditional in the Afro-Cuban culture. Short break before we drive to visit a local community
garden and Cafe Ajiaco for a Cuban cooking experience (lunch included here!). After lunch, we drive
to visit Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemingway’s primary residence from 1939 to 1960 for a guided tour. This
is where Hemingway penned much of his classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. Top off the visit with a
“Hemingway Happy Hour”, featuring one of his favorite cocktails! Dinner on your own. Evening Jazz
Fest activities. Late night optional visit to Zorra y el Cuervo Jazz Club.
Sleep: Hotel Grand Aston, Havana (B/L)

Day 4: Thursday, January 23 | Havana > Cienfuegos > Trinidad
After breakfast, early departure for the historic French colonial town of Cienfuegos, also known as The
Pearl of the Caribbean. After arrival at the main square, we will enjoy a private performance by the
Cienfuegos choir, followed by a quick lunch in town on your own. In the afternoon we continue with
our walking tour of Cienfuegos, visiting the main plazas and the Thomas Terry theater, while learning
from our guide about the city’s history with France and Louisiana. In the late afternoon, we continue
our journey and head to our oceanfront all-inclusive resort at Playa Ancon, just outside the UNESCO
heritage town of Trinidad on the Caribbean coast. Dinner at the resort. Optional night out in Trinidad
for music and/or dancing. (Bus will be available).
Sleep: Melia Trinidad Peninsula Resort (B/D)

Day 5: Friday, January 24 | Trinidad
After breakfast, our bus will take us into colonial Trinidad for a walking tour of the historic area with
a local guide, including a guided tour of Museo Romantico of Decorative Arts. Visit the gallery of Judith
Vidal and learn about her women’s embroidery co-op. Lunch on your own in town. For those
interested, the bus will return to the resort to enjoy the pools and the beach. Alternatively, explore the
artisans’ street for crafts, pottery, and the artist galleries. For those in town bus will take you back to
the resort for a rest break. Dinner with musical performance at a local paladar in Trinidad. Optional
night out in Trinidad for music and/or dancing. (Bus will be available).
Sleep: Melia Trinidad Peninsula Resort (B/D)

Day 6: Saturday, January 25 | Trinidad >> Havana
Following breakfast and a lazy morning on the beach, we will depart to return to Havana. Stop at a
roadside spot for lunch on your own. After arriving in Havana, we will stop at Revolution Square for a
tour and a chance to take photos. Dinner on your own before a performance at the Havana Jazz Festival.
Optional late-night outing to Fabrica de Arte Cubano (FAC).
Sleep: Hotel Grand Aston, Havana (B)

Day 7: Sunday, January 26 | Havana
After breakfast we will depart by bus to meet with world-renowned photographer Roberto Salas in his
Miramar home. Salas’s photographs of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are legendary. Together with his
Cuban-born father, Osvaldo, he met Castro in 1955 and in 1959, following Castro’s rise to power, they
were invited by Castro himself to work for the government newspaper Revolución. Enjoy this in
home visit and hear about Havana through his eyes, followed by lunch on your own in Havana
Vieja. Afternoon visit to 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. Dinner is on your own. Evening Jazz Fest activities or optional
performance at the Parisien or other venue.
Sleep: Hotel Grand Aston, Havana (B)

Day 8: Monday, January 27 | Havana
After breakfast, we continue our journey to the west of Havana, for a visit to the Finca Tungasuk for a
tour of this privately-run organic farm, followed by a several course home-cooked late lunch, served
by well-renowned Nicaraguan chef Annabelle Cantarero. Afternoon free time to explore the vast
artisan’s market, OR, for those interested in cigars, we go to meet with a traditional cigar roller who
will teach you the art and science behind what makes Cuban cigars the best in the world. Late afternoon
Happy Hour and tour of Hotel Nacional. Rest break at the hotel, before our farewell dinner at a local
paladar. Closing Night of the Jazz Festival.
Sleep: Hotel Grand Aston, Havana (B/L/D)

Day 9: Tuesday, January 28 | Havana > Home
After breakfast, it is time to bid Cuba farewell. Check out of your hotel, and transfer to Jose Martí
Airport for our flights back home.
(B)

 


 

 


Trip Cost

Double occupancy (per person): $3,795

Included:  Airport transfers, in-country transportation as per itinerary, general Access Jazz Festival passes (one per traveler), accommodations in double occupancy in 3-4 star hotel, meals (daily breakfast at the hotel, 5 dinners and 3 lunches), site visits and cultural activities per itinerary, potable water on the bus while touring (to avoid plastic garbage from our visit, we recommend travelers bring a refillable water bottle, to refill from larger bottles of bottled water).

Not included: Airfare to and from Havana, Cuba Entry Card/Visa (information how to obtain entry visa will be sent upon registration), alcoholic beverages, tips to Cuban guide and driver (optional, yet customary – tipping suggestions included in CCJ Cuba Destination Guide), tips for meals (optional, yet customary), events and visit to venues not on the itinerary, meals not on itinerary, travel protection insurance (recommended: information will be sent upon registration.

 

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