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Havana Jazz Plaza Festival

Are you a jazz enthusiast looking to immerse yourself in the vibrant Cuban music scene? Look no further than the Havana Jazz Plaza Festival. This annual event brings together some of the world’s most talented jazz musicians for unforgettable performances in the heart of Havana. In this post, we’ll provide a complete guide to the festival, packed with insider tips and must-see attractions to help you make the most of your visit.

The Havana Jazz Plaza Festival 

The Havana Jazz Plaza Festival, also known as the International Jazz Plaza Festival, celebrates Cuban jazz’s rich history and culture. Held annually for over 35 years, the festival features an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary jazz styles, showcasing both Cuban and international musicians.

But what exactly can you expect from the festival? Here are some additional details to help you plan your trip:

Dates: The Havana Jazz Plaza Festival typically takes place in January, but exact dates can vary yearly. We recommend checking with a Havana Music Tours team member to confirm the dates before booking your travel. More info here!

Venues: The festival takes place across various venues in Havana, including theaters, clubs, and outdoor stages. Some popular venues include Teatro Mella, Teatro Nacional de Cuba, and Casa de la Cultura de Plaza. Check the festival schedule for a complete list of venues and performances, usually released one to two weeks before the festival.

Tickets: Due to the high demand, getting access to the festival can be challenging if you’re on your own. We recommend booking a curated festival tour with a well-crafted itinerary and concert selection by musicians and musicologists. Havana Music Tours provides an excellent selection of tours and tickets for the festival. For more information, visit havanamusictours.com.

Festival Highlights: The festival is packed with diverse performances, workshops, and jam sessions. Some of the festival’s must-see attractions include the national theater concerts, the Late Night Music at Casa de la Cultura, and the rumba shows in Jardines del Mella.

International Jazz Colloquium: In addition to the music performances, the festival also hosts an international jazz colloquium where scholars, musicians, and fans can gather to discuss jazz music and its impact on society.

Traveler Tips 

Navigating Havana can be overwhelming for first-time visitors. To help make your trip as smooth as possible, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Accommodations: Since the festival takes place across various venues in Havana, staying in the city center (Vedado, Centro Habana, or Habana Vieja) is recommended to be closer to the action. Havana has plenty of hotels and guesthouses, but book in advance as the festival is a popular event. Havana Music Tours provides an excellent selection of accommodations. To find out more, email us at [email protected].

Getting Around: Havana is a bustling city with plenty of transportation options. Taxis and buses are readily available, but you can rent a classic car or bike to explore the city if you’re feeling adventurous. Make sure to check prices first with your local guide or host. You can download an offline map like Maps.me to help walk around the city. 

Other Jazz Spots in Havana: While the Jazz Plaza Festival is the main attraction, Havana is home to many other jazz spots worth checking out. Some popular ones include La Zorra y el Cuervo, a well-known jazz club that hosts nightly performances, and Café Miramar, a restaurant featuring live jazz music on weekends. Other new venues include Bar H, El Antonia, Fangio Habana, and El Ecléctico.

Here are some additional Cuba travel tips to make your trip to the Havana Jazz Plaza Festival even more enjoyable:

  1. Try the local food: Cuba is known for its delicious cuisine, and Havana is no exception. Make sure to try some of the local dishes, such as ropa vieja, arroz con pollo, and tostones. Street vendors also sell delicious snacks like churros and empanadas.
  2. Learn some Spanish: While many people in Havana speak English, knowing some Spanish will make your trip much more enjoyable. Not only will it help you communicate with locals, but it will also allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture fully.
  3. Explore Havana: While the festival is a highlight of any trip to Havana, there is so much more to see and do in the city. Take some time to explore Havana’s historic Old Town, visit the famous Malecon seafront, or take a tour of the city in a classic car. 
  4. Bring cash: While some places in Havana might accept credit cards, most don’t. Make sure to bring plenty of cash with you. We encourage you to consult with your local guide or host for more up-to-date information about money and currency exchanges in Cuba.

By following these tips and making the most of your time in Havana, you can fully experience the Havana Jazz Plaza Festival and everything else this vibrant city offers.

In conclusion, the Havana Jazz Plaza Festival is a must-visit event for any jazz lover or music enthusiast. With its talented performers, diverse venues, and lively atmosphere, the festival offers an unforgettable experience for visitors worldwide. By planning your trip in advance, taking advantage of local resources, and immersing yourself in the local culture, you can make the most of your trip to Havana and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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