Havana Jazz Fest

Cuban Roots Music with Roger Glenn

A historical and cultural journey from the rural roots of Cuban music to its marriage with American jazz. Travel cross-country with jazz master Roger Glenn through the sugar plantations and provincial towns that gave birth to traditional Afro-Cuban styles like Són, Guajira, Mambo, Rumba and Cha Cha Cha. Culminate with the Havana Jazz Festival, a six-day feast of spellbinding performances by some of the best musicians in the world.

Option 1: 

Cuban Roots Music with
Roger Glenn (incl Jazz Fest)

Dates: January 14 – 22, 2019 (9 days)
$4,495 (double occupancy)
Itinerary: Varadero / Matanzas / Havana Jazz Festival

Option 2: 
Havana Jazz Fest
Dates: January 16 – 21, 2019 (6 days)
$3,295 (double occupancy)

Itinerary: Havana Jazz Festival only

Join renowned musician Roger Glenn and Cross Cultural Journeys on an exciting people-to-people journey as we explore the vibrant history and culture of Cuban music. Starting in Varadero, three hours east of Havana, we will travel cross-country through the rural landscapes and provincial towns that gave birth to traditional Afro-Cuban styles like Són, Guajira, Mambo, and Bachata. We’ll spend two full days in Matanzas, home of the Rumba and Danzón. Along the way, Roger will educate you with his encyclopedic knowledge of jazz and Cuban music through discussions and live performances with local musicians. Your journey will culminate with the Havana Jazz Festival, a six-day feast of spellbinding performances by some of the best musicians in the world. You’ll fall in love with elegant, exuberant Havana: its friendly residents, contemporary artists, exceptional architecture, music, and colorful outdoor markets. It will surprise you with its richness and depth of culture. Enjoy music and dance everywhere as an expression of the soul of the Cuban people. Mingle with renowned musicians at local performances as you meet people who welcome visitors with friendly smiles, laughter and conversation.

Daily Itinerary:

Day 1 |  Varadero / Matanzas Upon late morning arrival at Varadero airport, meet your local Cuban guide, trip leader Roger Glenn, and trip manager Leif Utne at baggage claim, then drive to a local paladar in Matanzas for your welcome lunch. Then take a scenic drive through Matanzas to the Callejón de las Tradiciones for a proper introduction to the Rumba. On the drive to your hotel, Roger will speak about the musical significance of Matanzas and give an overview of the incredible musical education that lies ahead of you over the coming days. After checkin at your seaside hotel, enjoy a delicious buffet dinner. Optional evening out to hear some of the music that makes Cuba spectacular. Varadero Hotel (L/D)


MATANZAS the capital of the Province of Matanzas, is known as the birthplace of the music and dance traditions of the Danzón and Rumba, which originated in the dockyards of this port city. The city is located on the beautiful Bay of Matanzas, sometimes referred to as the Athens of Cuba, known for its poets, culture and rich Afro-Cuban folklore.


Day 2 | Matanzas After breakfast, on the drive back to Matanzas, Roger will present about the history and significance of Afro-Cuban music, and how its many distinctive threads have cross-pollinated with American jazz over the past century, weaving the rich musical tapestry that we see today. Visit the local school of fine arts to witness the amazing ways Cuba’s education system nurtures musical and artistic talent. After lunch at a local paladar, take scenic tour of Matanzas, including a stop at the historic plaza. Dinner will be at the hotel. Optional evening out to visit a Rumba club. Varadero Hotel (B/L/D)


Day 3 | Matanzas After breakfast at the hotel, we visit the San Severino Castle. Constructed by the Spanish between 1693 and 1762, San Severino was used as a prison from 1821 up until the 1980s. Now a museum, it houses a gallery dedicated to its history and the story of slavery in Cuba. Before lunch we will have a private musical performance with a chance to join in and jam with the musicians. Return to the hotel for lunch, then visit the beautiful natural caverns of Varadero. Optional evening out to enjoy live music in Varadero or Matanzas. Varadero Accommodation (B/L/D)


HAVANA is the bustling capital of Cuba, located on one of the world’s greatest natural harbors. The beauty of its architecture demonstrates what was once a rich, powerful and sophisticated city founded by the Spaniards in the 16th century. Today Havana is a city perfect for strolling in the salt soaked air of the Malecón, listening to music on street corners, or dining in one of Hemingway’s old haunts. Learn why the friendly and outgoing locals are proud of their culture-rich city and happy to share its historic treasures and many hidden gems.


Day 4 | Matanzas / Cojimar / Havana After breakfast and hotel check-out, we board our bus for the two-hour drive to Cojimar, just east of Havana, where Ernest Hemingway moored his famous fishing boat Pilar. After lunch on your own at your choice of local eateries, visit the El Morro Fort, which guards the entrance Havana Harbor, to take photos of the panoramic views of the city. Drive along the iconic Malecón waterfront and pass through the Plaza de la Revolución, where Castro gave some of his most important speeches. Check in and freshen up at your Havana hotel, where we will be joined by new tour mates arriving for the Havana Jazz Festival only. Enjoy a delicious dinner at one of our favorite paladares in Havana, followed by the Havana Jazz Festival OPENING GALA (transportation INCLUDED). Havana Accommodation (B/D)

Day 5 | Havana  FOR TRAVELERS JOINING US FOR THE JAZZ FESTIVAL ONLY Arrive midday at Jose Marti International Airport. Meet by Cross Cultural Journeys Cuban guide outside of baggage claim. Drive along the iconic Malecón waterfront and pass through the Plaza de la Revolución, where Castro gave some of his most important speeches. Join the other tour mates arriving from Matanzas. Enjoy a delicious dinner at one of our favorite paladares in Havana, followed by the Havana Jazz Festival OPENING GALA (transportation INCLUDED). Havana Accommodation (B/D)


Day 5 |  Havana Experience a talk on the history of the city’s fascinating past and uncertain future by an expert architect and city planner. Explore Old Havana on a guided walking tour of the main Cathedral and surrounding squares. Enjoy lunch at one of Old Havana’s classic eateries. Visit the beautiful Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes contemporary section where your guide will explain the history of Cuba through its art. Meet with a traditional cigar roller who will teach you the art and science behind what makes Cuban cigars the best in the world. Dinner on your own. Evening Jazz Festival activities (transportation NOT INCLUDED). Havana Hotel (B/L)


Day 6 |  Havana Meet with a renowned music historian for a lively exchange on the history of Cuban music. Meet with photographer Roberto Salas, whose photographs of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are legendary. Visit with bandleader Bobby Carcassés, considered a national treasure, whose innovative music blends Latin Jazz and Blues. Dinner on your own. Evening Jazz Fest activities (transportation NOT INCLUDED). Havana Hotel (B/L)


Day 7 | Havana Explore Finca Vigía, the estate where author Ernest Hemingway lived for over 20 years. Visit the urban Organipónico Farm Alamar and talk to the owners about Cuba’s widespread adoption of organic farming practices. Next head to the Museum of the Revolution. Dinner on your own. Evening Jazz Fest activities (transportation NOT INCLUDED). Havana Accommodation (B/L)


Day 8 | Havana Visit the Callejón de Hamel (Hamel’s Alley) to see local musicians, dancers and artists influenced by the Afro-Cuban Santeria religion and enjoy a presentation by the organizer of this inspiring community art project. Take the local ferry to the neighborhood of Regla, where we visit the Church of the Seafarers with the Black Madonna, their patron saint. Lunch on your own in Old Havana. Free time to explore the vast artisan’s market. Enjoy a delicious farewell dinner before heading out to the Havana Jazz Festival CLOSING FINALE (transportation INCLUDED). Havana Accommodation (B,D)


Day 9 | Havana / Home  Before your departure home, the morning is free for any last-minute adventures before we bid Cuba farewell. Transfer to airport for flight to Miami, then onward flights home. (B)


Journey Notes:

Donations: Musical instruments and art supplies are hard to come by in Cuba. We encourage our travelers to bring easily transportable supplies to give to Cuban artists and students who you may meet on this journey -- i.e. guitar strings, reeds, woodwind pads, paint brushes, drawing pads, etc. A portion of your trip fee will go to the Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation to provide much-needed support to the people and communities we visit.


NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment when we are in Cuba; to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, or to accommodate circumstances beyond our control. Restaurants or hotels may change in similar category.


INCLUDED: In-country transportation per itinerary; Havana Jazz Festival Pass ($250 value); first-class accommodations in Havana and best available in the provinces (double occupancy); full breakfast buffet daily at the hotel plus 6 lunches and 5 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary) JAZZ FESTIVAL ONLY (3 lunches and 2 dinners); Cuban English speaking local guide; Journey Host Roger Glenn and Cross Cultural Journeys trip manager, all entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; tips for bellman and hotel staff, included meals on itinerary and bottled water on the bus.


NOT INCLUDED: International airfare, Cuban visa, departure tax and medical insurance while in Cuba; meals not on itinerary, 3 lunches and 5 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary) JAZZ FESTIVAL ONLY (2 lunches and 3 dinners); alcoholic drinks; excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); travel cancellation and evacuation insurance (strongly recommended, info will be sent upon registration).


TRAVEL PROTECTION: Cross Cultural Journeys recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

Contact Cross Cultural Journeys at (800) 353-2276 to learn more about how to help protect you and your trip investment.

Please Note: To be eligible for the waiver of pre-existing medical condition exclusion, the protection plan must be purchased within15 days (Travel Basic) or 21 days (Travel Select) from the time you make your initial trip deposit. However, the plan can be purchased any time prior to departure.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries and may be changed without notice. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. If you have questions about coverage available under our plans, please review the policy or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800.228.9792 or email customersolutions@travelexinsurance.com. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (formerly known as Stonewall Insurance Company), 1314 Douglas Street, Suite 1400, Omaha, NE 68102. 11.17 E7N

Journey Host:

Roger GlennWS

Roger Glenn: Second-generation jazz master Roger Glenn is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and entertainer on the flute, sax, clarinet and vibraphone. He is the son of the late Tyree Glenn, one of 57 notable jazz musicians pictured in the historic photo “A Great Day in Harlem,” and who worked with jazz icons including Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong.


Roger has performed, toured and recorded with jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaria, Rosemary Clooney, Herbie Mann and Pete Escovedo. His flute playing is featured on the Grammy-award winning album “La Onda Va Bien” with Cal Tjader, as well as many notable recordings by Donald Byrd, Peaches and Herb, ConFunkShun, and Bobby Hutcherson.


In addition to his own Roger Glenn Latin Jazz Ensemble and The San Francisco Jazz Quartet, he most recently has been touring as a special guest with Taj Mahal, Kurt Elling, and The Count Basie Orchestra.

Trip Manager:


Leif Utne: Co-owner of Cross Cultural Journeys and Chair of the CCJ Foundation, Leif is a musician, technologist, journalist and entrepreneur. By day, he helps us keep the numbers straight, directs our marketing efforts, and leads the occasional trip. By moonlight, he can be found playing jazz flute, coaching soccer, facilitating conferences, and promoting the sharing economy. Leif has led marketing and sales for a variety of online technology and media startups, and spent eight years as online editor at Utne Reader magazine.

Option 1: 
Cuban Musical Odyssey (including Havana International Jazz Festival)
Dates: January 14 – 22, 2018 (9 days)
Cost: $4,495 (double occupancy)
Add: $450 (single supplement)

Itinerary: Varadero / Matanzas / Havana Jazz Festival

Option 2: 
Havana International Jazz Festival Only
Dates: January 16-21, 2019 (6 days)
Cost: $3,295 (double occupancy)

Add: $450 (single supplement)

Itinerary: Havana Jazz Festival

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Call: (800) 353-2276