HAVANA JAZZ FESTIVAL 2019 (Dates Coming Soon!)

Viva Cuba Tour…offers you the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a week of Afro-Cuban music and culture, from the classic sounds of the Mambo and the Cha-cha-chá and the deep-roots tradition of Rumba, to the modern-day sounds of Timba and more. This trip culminates with our visit to the 34th annual Havana Jazz Festival!

Considered forbidden fruit for the American traveler, our Caribbean neighbor is now closer than ever. The extraordinary history, incredible architecture, musical camaraderie, and the genuine warmth of its people, make this visit to the island a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about Cuban music as you’ve never experienced before.

Our trip begins in Cienfuegos; home of Cuba’s most beloved singer, Beny Moré. We will take in the unique Franco-style flavored architecture, with stuccoed buildings and spacious boulevards that create the distinct look and feel of Cienfuegos. The 19th century Colonial town of Trinidad, a UNESCO site,  we will walk along cobblestoned streets, learn about its fascinating history and how preservation of the architectural heritage has been  achieved. Traveling onward to Havana, where 1950’s cars line the streets and pass by 16th century fortifications, we will enjoy the 33rd annual Jazz Festival.  Cuba’s best musicians will be heard in intimate settings and descargas. Our trip to the Conservatory, where a special event is planned, is one of many cultural highlights that makes this trip so unique. We will take you to the ultra hip  Fábrica de Arte Cubano, where a former oil factory has been converted into a cultural center for the people; showcasing art, music, live performances and nightclub under one very large roof. Our last destination is Santa Clara, the site of  the largest and most important battle of the Revolution, where we will visit the Parque Vidal town square;  where the immaculate 19th century Teatro La Caridad remains in operation today, and the Ché Guevara monument, which holds his remains and boasts a 22 foot tall bronze statue.

This year, the 34th International Jazz Festival of Havana, organized by the internationally renowned Cuban pianist, Chucho Valdés  and sponsored by the Cuban Institute of Music (ICM).


The Havana International Jazz Festival first took place in 1979. Over the years it has become one of the most important dates in jazz–lovers’ diaries.

The most extraordinary leaps of musical telepathy seem to occur in smoky, rum–soaked Vedado hangouts like La Zorra y el Cuervo and the Jazz Café.

Jazz in Cuba dates back further than most people realize. Slavery was abolished on the island in 1886 and many freed black Cubans immigrated to New Orleans, a port of call for many Cuban sailors since the 18th century, whilst the American intervention of 1898 in the Cuban independence wars heralded the start of a prolonged US presence in Cuba.

Conditions were thus perfect for mutual musical exchange. The musicians that had moved to New Orleans took with them the rhythms and style that were already considered Cuban and incorporated them into the nascent jazz form, as did musicians returning to the States from Cuban holidays or sailors that had visited the island.

The high point of this musical evolution was the spark which ignited between Cuban drummer Luciano (Chano) Pozo – who was eventually shot in a bar in Harlem – and American jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

Their sound was the first appearance of what later came to be known as “Latin jazz” – and that was just the beginning. Now Cuban musicians are foremost amongst the world’s jazz performers.

During the Havana International Jazz Festival , fans flock to major concerts at the Amadeo Roldan, Nacional and Mella Theaters, but it’s the intimate events, like descargas, jam sessions,  in Havana’s clubs that really get the juices flowing.

Recommended reading in preparation for this adventure, in no order:

  1. Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba by Tom Gjelten
  2. Havana Nocturne by T.J. English
  3. Cecilia Valdés by Cirilo Villaverde
  4. Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo by Ned Sublette
  5. Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana by Marc Frank
  6. The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba by Julia Cooke
  7. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson
  8. Three Trapped Tigers by Guillermo Cabrera Infante
  9. Unseen Cuba by Marius Jovaisa
  10. Autobiography of a Runaway Slave by Esteban Montejo
  11. Musica! by Sue Steward


 Ground package:

  • Double Occupancy: $4,700 per person

  • Single Occupancy: $5,100 per person

 Air package:

  • Round trip airfare MIA – SNU, HAV-MIA: $350



  • 8 night accommodations in Cuba
  • Roundtrip Airfare to and from MIA – SNU, HAV-MIA
  • Access to all concerts at the Jazz Festival, except after-hours concerts, which require separate entry fee
  • Daily breakfast
  • Full time, professional, bilingual guide
  • All local ground transportation
  • Pre-trip departure information
  • Cuban Insurance (health and evacuation)
  • Cuban Visa
  • Compliance with U.S. Treasury Department regulations
  • Speaker fees
  • Admission to all museums and public buildings listed in itinerary
  • Coordination of all listed activities



  • Airline baggage fees
  • Meals or activities other than listed on itinerary
  • Individual house/hotel expenses (mini bar, room service, laundry fees, etc.)
  • Tips for local guides: Recommended tips for guides and drivers range from $10 to $20 per person per day depending on group size.




  • A deposit of $1,650 per person is due at signing in order to reserve a space. Early deposits are encouraged to lock in your spot.
  • A signed copy of the Memorandum of Understanding should be turned in with the deposit, along with a copy of your passport (pages 1-2 only)
  • Deposit of $1,650 will be due  150 days before.
  • Full payment will be due 30 days prior to departure: 90 days before.
  • Please inquire if you are interested in purchasing trip insurance from a certified, third party. Payment can be made with a check, cashier’s check, or money order. Credit cards are not accepted for final payment. Checks should be made out to Viva Cuba Tour Ltd. and mailed to:
    • Viva Cuba Tour Ltd.  
    • Attn:  JAZZ in Havana
    • 450 Taraval St. #143
    • San Francisco,  CA 94116



  • The sale is final.
  • Cancellations made before 120 days prior to the trip eligible for a full refund. Must be written.
  • Cancellations made 119-91 days to trip departure are eligible for a 50 percent refund.
  • Cancellations made within 90 days of trip departure are not eligible for a refund.
  • In some instances, time permitting, a different traveler can take the place of a scheduled participant for a processing fee of $350. UNUSED SERVICES & REFUNDS:No refund or adjustment can be made for any portion of the services not used such as voluntary non-usage of hotel accommodations, scheduled meals or any planned activity described in your itinerary.



  • All travelers are required to carry a valid passport and a Cuban visa. The visa will be completed by a Viva Cuba Tour representative and given to participants at check-in at San Francisco International airport OR sent to the trip leader beforehand.IMPORTANT: Those without a valid passport will not be allowed to enter. Passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after departure date. Passports must be U.S. issued. Foreign passports allowed only in conjunction with a valid U.S. Resident Alien card (Green Card). Viva Cuba Tour is not responsible for lost or stolen passports in Cuba.