Developing an idea
Our story starts in a very Cuban way, with some rum, cigars, and plenty of good music. Chaz Chambers, our director and Tour Leader, had Cuba on his bucket list for a long time. As a professional drummer, nothing was so attractive to him like Cuban music was. So, in 2017, he decided to visit the magic island with the idea of studying drums and instantly fell in love with Cuban music’s many rhythms.
Still, the most impressive thing to him was the fantastic musicians he was able to interact with. Finding such a gem on such a small and isolated island felt unreal. To a working-class musician from the United States like him, Cuba was a huge discovery; he found a musician’s “paradise.” A place where its people can study music For Free from an early age and be recognized as a vital part of society, no matter their level of popularity or social status.
During those first few trips, Chaz began taking drum lessons and developing great relationships inside the music community. But, it wasn’t enough; he felt the need to share this unique and warm culture with the rest of the world; the amazing music and culture he discovered deserved more recognition.
Cuba was the perfect inspiration for an intrepid traveler and social entrepreneur like Chaz, one that brought lots of change to his professional and personal life. As an American, he specifically thought about the need to do something to create a bridge between Cuba and his home country, the United States.
So, what better way to incentive people to travel to Cuba than by curating special tours and showing them the beauty and soul of this fascinating culture?
The first few tours were fun, hard work, and learning experiences. So many things to learn about the people and the specific social dynamics of such a different culture. But it was worth it. And then, not long after, Chaz met his other half, Yami Cabrera.
Yami was part of the community Chaz had the opportunity to meet while in Havana, full of talented and warm musicians who graduated from the famous ISA – Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba’s most prestigious music and art school. She was already working as a professional musicologist at the National Cuban Music Research Center (Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de la Música Cubana, Cidmuc). A job that allowed her to work on relevant music research, lectures, articles, events, etc., making her very knowledgeable about the music industry in Cuba.
Yami was also very passionate about her culture and the need to make it visible to the rest of the world. So, together they created a team to pursue a mutual dream, and that dream is a continued Havana Music Tours.
The social impact
Breaking the cultural and political wall between Cuba and the United States has always been our number one priority; it is a challenging goal, but we believe in it as the solution to the many problems between our countries.
As a socially conscious business, we constantly think about how to help the community that opened their hearts and homes to us, the Cuban people. That’s why we focus on two crucial aspects: support for the Cuban People and connecting Americans with Cuban culture.
We are always trying to find different ways to bring outside support to locals in Cuba, not only with material things but also with meaningful ideas, always being respectful of their beliefs and sovereignty.
All the fellow travelers joining our Tours know the need to bring material and cultural support to our Cuban friends, especially musicians. It has been a tradition to arrange musical donations from our wonderful traveler community, always including a special moment for the cultural exchange. No matter how short that moment or small the donation is, it is always gratifying to experience the bonds that this moment creates between our cultures.
Yes, this is our motive and our passion. We always have the bittersweet feeling that it is never enough, which incentivizes us to keep fighting and creating bridges. That’s why we will never give up, no matter how difficult the journey is.
The Story Finale
Cuba is a place very different from the rest of the world. We have a Cuban friend who always says, “Cuba is an illogical temple, don’t try to understand it, just enjoy it.” It’s true. That’s why we focus on the many things that need to be prepared and organized to help our fellow travelers have the best and most stress-free trip while always allowing them to experience the culture without missing any detail.
After a few years of hard work, we can say Havana Music Tours has become a unique project and community of working-class musicians that keeps growing and growing. So far, even when we still consider ourselves a small niche travel agency, we feel that we have been able to accomplish a lot culturally speaking. We have created a worldwide network of travelers who are enthusiastic about our ideas of supporting Cuban musicians while breaking walls between cultures.
But that’s not all; we figured out that the amazing idea of connecting people through music and culture has no limits. So, during the last couple of years, Chaz and Yami have worked very hard developing music and cultural tours in other countries like Spain, Brazil, Colombia, the US, and more, through our sister agency, Musical Getaways. Check out our upcoming music tours in Spain, Brazil, and Colombia at musicalgetaways.com. There is so much music all over the world that needs to be heard. We can’t wait to show you.
We are in love with Cuba and its culture. Are you? Visiting Cuba with Havana Music Tours will be a positive and life-changing experience. You are welcome to contact us if you have more questions about our tours or Team members.
Wait?… What happened with the rum and cigars at the starting point of this story? Did we forget about that!?… Well, I guess that will be one of the many stories we will share with you in Cuba. Are you ready and preparing for your trip? Contact us!
Why should you travel with us?
If your goal is to enjoy a smooth, authentic, and musical travel experience to Cuba without missing any important bucket list detail we think our Havana Jazz Plaza Tour is your best option. More than the amazing accommodations and exceptional cultural experiences, we really believe that our most valuable thing is our people. We are very proud of our talented team of musicians (unique within the Cuba Travel industry) from Cuba and the United States, excellent professionals who graduated from prestigious music schools like Universidad de Las Artes de Cuba.
Our wonderful musician-only team will ensure you are part of a special Cuba Tour without awkward moments or unfulfilled expectations. We make it possible and easy for you to explore Cuba and its culture through the local community.
But don’t take our word for it… We are grateful for the beautiful and motivating testimonials that our previous clients have shared with us through our Tripadvisor profile, like the following:
“The best thing about Havana Music Tours was the people. Chaz, Yamilka, their assistants Zack and Miguel, tour guides Alejandro and Ernesto, even the bus drivers — everyone was friendly, attentive, knowledgeable and really, really nice. As well, our fellow tourists turned out to be excellent company, with a variety of ages, backgrounds and musical interests.”
Also, we are a U.S.-based tour agency, and this tour fulfills all of the legal OFAC travel rules for United States Travelers. You will be given a legal travel affidavit and a full-time itinerary to confirm your tour is permitted under the OFAC guidelines. For more info about Cuba and your trip preparation, check out our Cuba Travel Checklist.