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Havana, Cuba Jazz Festival 2018

Is anyone going this year, or considering going? Being fans of the New Orleans Jazz Fest and attending quite a few times, we are intrigued by going to this music festival and experiencing music we love. We would appreciate information that would assist us in making a decision about whether or not to attend. Impacting this decision for us is the current political climate, finding a reputable guide and/or tour operator, and finding a tour that allows us to see and learn about Cuban culture beyond the obvious tourist cliches.

While Rick's posts have been helpful in general, I haven't found a lot of current information on the Forum about Cuba or the Havana Jazz Festival. The new Trump regs require booking a trip through a US-based tour operator. We're not opposed to small group tours, but are leery of winding up on a bus watching the scenery whiz by. I wouldn't consider us well-seasoned travelers, but we have planned and traveled via public transportation and rental cars in Europe on our own in the past.

So, I'd love to hear from others who may be planning a trip this year - your thoughts and recommendations. Thank you.

Posted by
7196 posts

Unfortunately Trump rolled back the restrictions lifted by Obama.
You will have to do one of the bougie elite (to me they are expensive for the average Joe when it is just a fifty minute flight from Miami to Havanna) people to people tours where all your activities are set and monitored meaning you can not go to the beach or just go off on your own. But this might not be so bad since it would be music focused
This company is one licensed by the government and offers the Havanna Jazz Fest tour https://www.insightcuba.com/cuba-tours/speciality/havana-jazz-festival
You should check Lonely Planet Travel Forum also which covers travel to Latin America more extensively than "Rick Steve's Europe."

Or just forget it and go to Umbria Jazz Fest in Orvieto, Italy in December. (I went here last two years)
Or Punta de L'este Jazz Fest in Uruguay also in late December early January
Or Panama City Jazz Fest first week in January

Posted by
7196 posts

Yeah. I just got back from my third annual summer jazz fests in Europe tour. San Sebastian, Spain, Umbria (the summer edition in Perugia), and Juan-les-Pins in France; all excellent. All have New York club level talent and all of them have been going on longer than New Orleans.

Posted by
19 posts

I agree with jazz+travels, Europe has some of the best Jazz Festivals that you should definitely attend at least once if you are a Jazz fan, I'm sure that one time will make you a regular visitor, it is fascinating!