Day 1 Sun
Today we check into our Havana hotel, meet our Songlines Music Travel Leader and talk through our musical plans.
Day 2 Mon
This morning we transfer to the airport and fly south to the small airport at Holguin. From here we drive to Baracoa. The town lies at the far eastern end of Cuba, a long way from the bustle of Havana. Here there is time to unwind and sample the local beaches and music scene.
Day 3 Tues
Today we start our exploration of the area with our travel leader, perhaps relaxing on the beach or hanging out in the town with the locals.
Days 4 Wed
Today we start our journey west across the island, driving first to Guantánamo Bay (Cuba’s most famous song ‘Guantanamera’, is about a woman from Guantanamo – not dressed in an orange jump suit) and then to Santiago de Cuba, our first major stop. Our hotel is in the centre of town and we are well-placed to wander out into the streets of town for an initial exploration. This evening we will probably visit the Casa de la Trova, one of the best music venues in Cuba.
Days 5-6 Thurs-Fri
The next three days are spent in this musical heart of the island. We have arranged a walking tour of the old city, and there are optional excursions including a boat trip; but our reason for being here is of course the music. Son developed here and it was where BVSC’s Compay Segundo and Ibrahim Ferrer started their musical careers. The wonderful Eliades Ochoa is still based here.
Day 7 Sat
Today we continue westwards across the island. Too many visitors to Cuba only visit the major cities and see little of the life of the rural communities that dot the island. Our drive today will correct that as we drive to Camagüey for the night.
Day 8 Sun
We continue west, along country roads towards the sleepy town of Trinidad. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this historic Cuban town has a laid-back feel that belies its vibrant music scene. We stay a few streets from the main square and the old part of town. In the evening we can listen to music in the square or dance until the early hours close to our hotel.
Days 9 & 10 Mon-Tues
Two days to get to know Trinidad. We have arranged a walking tour of the old town, and will be able to explore rumba, the much more African side of Cuban music, thanks to the Palenque de Congos Reales. You may want also to visit the beaches just out of town to catch the sun.
Day 11 Wed
Today we drive west again, at first on narrow country roads and then joining the main highway to Havana. With a stop in Cienfuegos en route we should reach Havana in the late afternoon.
Days 12 & 13 Thurs-Fri
Two full days in this musically vibrant city. We have arranged a city tour but there is also time to delve into the music of the capital, as we pick up on the mix of son, salsa, hip-hop and reggaeton that drives the city’s music scene. As well as visits to learn about the recording scene here, we will visit several major music haunts during our evenings.
Day 14 Sat
A last day free, for shopping, wandering or just chilling out in the city’s bars and cafés.
Day 15 Sun
After breakfast in the hotel our tour ends.
For more information go to: Songlines Cuban Music Holidays and Havana Tours