We normally don't take tours... as we prefer to explore places on our own. However in the case of Cuba and the Havana music scene in particular, if you want... read more to visit for a relatively short time (i.e. can't stay for a month+) and be able to pack in a whole lot of unique
December 1, 2018
Our visit to the 2022 Havana Jazz Festival with Havana Music Tours was a wonderful experience. Tour director Chaz Chambers and his Cuban wife, Yamilka, looked after all arrangements in... read more a professional and proactive way. They curated an outstanding selection of concerts, informal performances, and visits to musical institutions. Before and after the festival, when no performances were scheduled, they arranged private performances by musicians of their acquaintance, for example an afternoon tour of the "Afro-Cuban Religious Experience" through shrines scattered around Central Havana and a visit to a recording studio to hear a local band rehearse.
Because US government rules do not allow Americans to stay in Cuban hotels, Chaz found housing for us in a series private homes, essentially BnBs, all of them clean and comfortable with ample breakfasts. Most of our other meals were included in the tour: they turned into festive occasions at some of Havana's best restaurants. We traveled around Havana and the nearby countryside in comfortable buses with tourism guides provided by a Cuban government agency.
Chaz and Yami also looked after airport arrivals and departures, Covid testing, money exchange, and record keeping for the US government. Almost everything went smoothly, and when inevitable problems arose (e.g. a delay in Covid testing at the airport), Chaz and Yamilka dealt with them quickly and successfully.
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.
We look forward to the next Havana Jazz Festival.
February 3, 2022
I went to Cuba with Chaz Chambers and his company Havana Music Tours, from the beginning I was immersed in the Cuban culture it was wonderful! We stayed at a... read more lovely casa with breakfast made every morning, we got to explore old Havana, it was filled with the most delicious food! Everyday was filled with afrocuban and jazz music, the Cuban people are some of the realest and nicest people I have met, I never felt unsafe and Chaz was a great tour guide throughout our trip, he took to the beautiful beaches and the grand music venues all around Havana. Chaz is definitely the way to go when booking your music tour he knows how to get around, and takes you to the best places to experience all the culture and music, I recommend his company if you are looking for an authentic experience! More
July 19, 2019
I felt taken care of, totally, in all aspects of this tour (Jazz Plaza 2022). Chaz and Yami are wonderful "hosts". The evening jazz performances, incredible restaurants, salsa lessons, visit... read more to a music school, really nice accommodations and fantastic transportation. A big shout out to the local tour guides. Would love to go again.!
January 1, 2022
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