Two things: 1) Go to Cuba while you can and 2) Go with Havana Music Tours. You'll have a wonderful time with Chaz (and Cuban crew) who is hooked into... read more the best of Havana--the best accommodations, music, food and affinity for this fascinating place.
We booked a 6-day tour with Havana Music Tours to attend the Havana Jazz Festival in January 2020. The group went out to listen to music every evening and... read more sometimes pretty late into the night for the festival. Chaz's arrangements for transportation, seating, accommodations and meals were excellent. During the day we did several walking tours, went to a music conservatory where the students played for us, took a salsa ("casino") dance lesson and went to an organic farm where we had a delicious lunch. As a musician himself, Chaz was great in helping us understand more about the music and the Havana music scene, about which he is very knowledgeable. There were only 7 people and it was great to have a small flexible group. And Cuba is a fascinating place for many reasons. I didn't know what to expect, but this was a wonderful experience even more than I had anticipated and I recommend it highly.
My wife and I attended the 2020 Havana Jazz Festival with Chaz Chambers, who operates Havana Music Tours. It was a wonderful experience in every respect. Chaz made arrangements for... read more accommodations and meals, as well as a few touristic activities (walking tour of old Havana, visit to the music conservatory, etc). There were activities from midday until late at night, but tour participants could choose to come along, retreat to their hotel or pension, or set out on adventures of our own choosing. Chaz had anticipated just about every eventuality and all arrangements went off very smoothly.
The tour included passes to hear music afternoons and evenings at a variety of venues in central Havana. Chaz, who himself is a professional drummer, curated the selection of concerts and provided transportation for our group of 7 to and from all the events. The performances, which included both Cuban and foreign musicians were all good and most were excellent. The musical level in Cuba is extraordinarily high. We hear some of these performers on tour in the US and on recordings. But to hear so many of them playing together in a single place in a single week is a privilege.
At present it's much easier than most people imagine for Americans to visit Cuba. You can fly from several US cities to Havana, and you buy a visa at the airport. The US government places restrictions on where you can stay and what you can buy, but these restrictions are easy to work with. Best of all Havana Music Tours looked after all the paperwork, so we never had to give the matter a second thought.
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