KJazz Trip to Cuba

Back by popular demand! Join KJazz Public Radio and fellow jazz lovers for their annual jazz adventure to Havana, Cuba!

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KJazz Trip to Cuba


35th International Jazz Festival of Havana!
January 12 – 19, 2020

Back by popular demand! Join KJazz Public Radio and fellow jazz lovers for their annual jazz adventure to Havana, Cuba! Sponsored by famed Cuban musician Chucho Valdes and the Cuban Institute of Music, the International Jazz Festival of Havana showcases some of the biggest names in jazz, along with talented new artists. Enjoy the rhythm of Latin jazz in venues scattered throughout Havana. In addition to the festival, we'll visit the National Museum of Fine Arts, Hemingway's haunts, and attend a special jazz workshop with Cuban musicians. Stroll the famous Malecón, wander in the picturesque historic center of Havana, lounge in a doorway in your fedora and ride in a classic convertible, all to the sultry sounds of Cuban jazz!

Trip at a glance

7 Nights Havana: *****Hotel Melia Cohiba Habana

It's Included

  • With KJazz host Jose Rizo
  • An expert bilingual Cuban guide
  • A four night pass to the Havana Jazz Festival!
  • A jazz workshop directed by respected Cuban jazz artists
  • A rumba session
  • Accommodations as listed in itinerary
  • Multi-course traditional meals highlighting Cuban cuisine in Havana’s hottest paladars!
  • Bottled water daily and national drinks (local beers and mojitos)
  • Transport by private motor coach while in Cuba
  • All entrances as listed in your itinerary
  • Airport transfers while in Cuba
  • Special insider “Support of the Cuban People” experiences
  • Earthbound Expeditions makes an annual contribution to Carbonfund
  • A tax deductible donation to KJazz
  • Gratuities for your driver and guides

Trip Facts

8 Days/7 Nights
$4,150 per person double occupancy land
$775 Single Supplement (waived if you are willing to share & a roommate is found)
Trip begins: January 12, 2020 in Havana, Cuba
Trip ends: January 19, 2020 in Havana, Cuba

Optional Group Air: $945 per person from Los Angeles to Havana with American Airlines
Note: This flight departs January 11th on a red-eye to Havana.
Includes: Cuban government emergency medical insurance plan up to $1,000

KJazz and Earthbound travel alumni save $100
Pay your final balance by check and save $100
Reserve by August 31st and save $50

Cuba visa fee
Travel Insurance above the included $1,000 mandatory medical
Extra baggage fees
Passport fees (a passport is required)
Items not mentioned in your itinerary

Legal Cuba travel operated under the general license, Support for the Cuban People. OFAC has amended this general license to require that each traveler utilizing this authorization engage in a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people's independence from Cuban authorities and that result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba. The traveler's schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.574.

Your KJazz Jazz Adventure Begins!

Day 1: Sunday, January 12 - Arrive in Historic Havana
Earlythis morning depart for the airport to check in for the flight to Havana, Cuba.

After clearing Cuban immigrations and customs, you are welcomed by your Cuban National guide outside the terminal, who will assist with a private transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a stroll on the waterfront or relax by the pool with a mojito before meeting your guide and host for a welcome dinner at one of Havana's best known, privately owned paladars.
Sleep in Havana at the Melia Cohiba Hotel (D)

Melia Cohiba Hotel Habana
Set 1 block from the waterfront, this upscale hotel is in the modern Vedado district. Modern rooms with spectacular views of the ocean, city and majestic Malecon ocean drive. Choose from 4 restaurants on-site including buffet, Italian, gourmet and grill.Habana Café with memorabilia evoking the 1950`s. Lobby bar open 24 hrs, piano bar, bar with live music and a Cuban cigar and rum sampling bar for connoisseurs. Hotel amenities include an outdoor pool, as well as a fitness room, a sauna and a beauty salon.

Day 2: Monday, January 13 - Cuba's National Art Schools
This morning we visit the Plaza de la Revolución, the Cemetery of Christopher Columbus, and the Miramar area before continuing on to Cuba's National Art Schools (Instituto Superior de Arte). These structures are considered by historians to be among the most outstanding architectural achievements of the Cuban Revolution. These innovative, organic Catalan-vaulted brick and terra-cotta buildings were built on the site of a former country club in the far western Havana suburb of Cubanacán, which used to be Havana's "Beverly Hills" and was then mainly reserved for Communist Party officials. The schools were conceived and founded by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in 1961, and they reflect the utopian optimism and revolutionary exuberance of the early years of the Cuban Revolution. Over their years of active use, the schools served as the primary incubator for Cuba's artists, musicians, actors, and dancers. The schools' design fell out of favor by 1965 and wasnearly completely decommissioned until preservation efforts were mounted in force in the 1990s. Now tentatively on the list of World Heritage sites, they are in use, though still in various states of disrepair.

Lunch today is in the elegant Miramar section of Havana.In the afternoon we'll have a jazz workshop led by some of Cuba's most respected jazz artists.
Sleep in Havanaat the Melia Cohiba Hotel(B, L)

Day 3: Tuesday, January 14 - The History of Dance and Conservatorio Guillermo Tomas
Early birds may wish to soak up the sun and walk along the Malecón before breakfast. Then we set off to the Havana Country Club to learn about the history of music and dance in Cuba. Multiple instructors will explain how this small island became a major powerhouse when it comes to both. The Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Salsa and Merenguéall come from Cuba. After a thorough demonstration you'll be invited to learn some of the dances with the instructors.

This afternoon we'll visit the Conservatorio Guillermo Tomas. There are 500 students ranging in age from 8 to 19. The 40 students that graduate every year go on to join the best symphony, chamber and popular orchestras, or become music professors for new students.

Enjoy lunch together and a free afternoon in Havana.
Sleep in Havanaat the Melia Cohiba Hotel(B, L)

Day 4: Wednesday, January 15 - A Day with Hemingway and the Museum of Fine Arts
This morning we're off to visit Finca Vigía (Lookout Farm) where North America's literary giant, Ernest Hemingway, spent twenty-one of his most important and productive years penning building blocks of English literature. Claimed by both the United States and Cuba as their son, it was Hemingway himself who declared the island his true home. Before returning to Havana we stop by the quaint fishing village of Cojimar which served as the setting for The Old Man and the Sea.

After lunch, we will visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts), known for its internationaland Cuban art. The comprehensive Colección de Arte Cubano comprises three floors of art, spanning works from the 16th to the 20th centuries by prominent Cuban artists concentrating mostly on pieces from the 20th century.

Across the street from the Fine Arts Museumis the impressive Museum of the Revolution. Sitting outside you'll find theAmerican Jeeps and planes used during the failed Bay of Pigs landing. The yacht named Granma that was used to transport 82 Cuban fighters and Fidel Castro to the shores of Cuba from Mexico in 1956 is also on display.

The Havana Jazz Fest kicks off tonight and we have tickets to attend!
Sleep in Havanaat the Melia Cohiba Hotel(B, L, D)

Day 5: Thursday, January 16 - Architecture Walk and Sacred Marriage Ceremony
One of Havana's many charms is the "elegant decay" of the buildings. Enjoy a stroll today that focuses on the splendid architecture of this city, unlike anywhere in the world.Have lunch together and, if available, tour a cigar factory or attend a cigar rolling demonstration. Then, you are invited to partake in a very special marriage ceremony...of rum and cigars! One can't come to Cuba without appreciating these two fixtures of Cuban culture. After dinner, head out to another show or check out the Havana arts scene with a visit to La Fábrica de Arte Cubano or FAC, an old oil factory that is now a thriving arts space in Vedado, one of Havana's residential districts.

After dinner we'll head out for another night at the Havana Jazz Fest!
Sleep in Havanaat the Melia Cohiba Hotel(B, L, D)

Day 6: Friday, January 17 - An Excursion west to Las Terrazas and Fusterlandia
This morning we leave for Las Terrazas. En-route we'll travel through the lush countryside planted with sugar cane, corn, rice, and taro. With few vestiges of modernization, the region seems set back in time with farming communities still harvesting by hand and using horse and carts to transport goods to free markets. (The horse carts date back to the 15th century when the Spaniards used them to haul sugar cane to the factories). Las Terrazas in Pinar del Rio province is now part of UNESCO's Biosphere Reserve, much of it reforested coffee plantation.We'll have a delicious traditional lunch at a local farm.

Upon our return to Havana we stop at the private home and studio of famed Cuban artist, José Fuster who is known as the Picasso of the Caribbean. Mr. Fuster is a ceramicist and painter whose work has contributed to the upgrading of his entire community. When you drive through the neighborhood which is known as "Fusterlandia," you see ceramic tiled walls in fanciful designs. As you learn about his work, you may be able to purchase his art directly if desired.

This evening we head out to enjoy the Havana Jazz Festival!
Sleep in Havanaat the Melia Cohiba Hotel(B, L)

Day 7: Saturday, January 18 - Santeria and the Museum of Rum
After breakfast, we'll have the chance to visit a private Santeria house. The Santeria religion is a system of beliefs that merges the Yoruba religion (which was brought to the New World by enslaved West Africans sent to the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations) with Roman Catholic and Native American traditions. These Africans carried with them various religious customs, including a trance for communicating with their ancestors and deities, animal sacrifice and sacred drumming and dance.

After lunch together we will head to the Museum of Rum and learn about how real Cuban rum is made. We will also enjoy a tasting (or two). Our farewell dinner this evening will be served at a local paladar, and then we'll head out for one last night at the Havana Jazz Festival!
Sleep in Havanaat the Melia Cohiba(B, L, D)

Day 8: Sunday, January 19 - Depart Cuba for the US
We transfer to Havana's Jose Marti Airport where we check in for our flights to the States.
Buen Viaje! (B)

**Please Note: The Cuban National Tourist Agency, a department of the Republic of Cuba, has the ability to make changes to lodging arrangements and individual tour activities at any time. It is an uncommon practice, but such itinerary changes are sometimes a reality for groups traveling in this communist country. Earthbound has been leading successful trips to Cuba since 2012 and we will do our best to ensure a quality experience for you on this journey. Nevertheless, to enjoy Cuba, it is essential to have a sense of adventure, a high degree of flexibility, a spirit of adventure, and a sense of humor.


Cuba is a developing country and still lacks many modern conveniences. It's not unusual to experience short power black-outs or to find that your hot water, internet, TV or phone in your hotel room does not work properly (or at all). Further, the Cuban government and incoming Havana agency has the right to change the itinerary without notice (and often does). We'll be travelling under a "Support of the Cuban People" license, which means that our days will be filled with independent activities intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba.Your day will begin around 8:30am and end around 5:00pm. This is not a trip for those looking for a leisurely, five star beach holiday or a deluxe resort experience. Travelers who arrive in Havana with a sense of humor, an open mind, and are ready to be flexible, will absolutely fall in love with the people and culture of Cuba.


Reservations and Deposits: Early reservations are essential to guarantee space on the date you wish to travel. A per person deposit of $500 is needed to confirm your space on most journeys.An additional deposit of $200 is required to confirm a seat on the group flight. Once the deposit is processed, a deposit packet is sent with pertinent journey details.

Final Payment: You will be sent an invoice approximately 75 days prior to departure. A non-refundable final payment, payable by money order, check or credit card is due 60 days before departure. It is the responsibility of each passenger to make a timely payment. A final packet of information will be sent approximately three weeks before departure. Mail checks to: Earthbound Expeditions PO Box 11305, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, USA.

Cancellations: All cancellations must be made in writing and are effective upon receipt in our office. Deposits are fully refundable for 60 days from the processing date or 90 days prior to departure, whichever comes first. Deposits made 90 days prior to a trip departing are not refundable. A $75 per person processing fee applies to all cancellations.

No refunds are made for cancellations after the non-refundable deposit date. It is for this reason we strongly encourage the purchase of travel insurance at the same time you reserve your journey with us. Please refer to your specific journey details, especially private and hosted journeys, as policies may differ.

Concert and Events: If a planned concert or event is cancelled for any reason, another concert or event will be included in its place. This will not be cause for refund.

Hosted Journeys: If a host or special guest is unable to attend as planned, Earthbound Expeditions will do its utmost to find another host who has similar interests, talents and expertise. The inability of a host to participate in a tour is not grounds for a full or partial refund.


Jose Rizo was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in Oxnard, California. He played trumpet in high school, but it was not until he was a student at U.C. Santa Barbara that he developed his passion for jazz. In the late 70s, Jose was the founder of "Radio Chicano", a student and community broadcasting organization based on the Santa Barbara campus at KCSB,where he served as program director for two years. Rizo began hosting "Jazz on the Latin Side" on KLON (now KJazz) in early 1990. He was intricately involved on KLON's "Latin Jazz Club Caravans" and served as a member of the Grammy's Screening committee for Latin Jazz. He has been the artistic director of the Luckman Fine Arts Latin Jazz Concert Series and involved in the "Central Avenue Jazz Festival" since its inception.


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