Carnivals and Festivals
The Caribbean is known for its street parties, and Cuba's festivals are the very best of them. If you are lucky enough to be in Havana, Santiago De Cuba or any of the island's other large cities, around `Carnaval' we can tailor make you an itinerary guaranteed to take in the party of a lifetime. Cuba's festivals are more than just a normal street party - soaked in happiness and with exotic food and joyful dance, the island's many carnivals are definitely a highlight for Cuba's holiday makers.
Here are some of our favourite festivals in Cuba. This list is far from exhaustive, with religious and Cuban jazz festivals taking place throughout the year - for more information on these, please give us a call on 01438 310099.
Havana Jazz Festival - February
The Havana Jazz festival is probably the most renowned of Cuba's Jazz festivals held throughout the year. First started in 1978, the first few Havana jazz festivals attracted big name artists like Chucho Valdes, Dizzy Giullespie and Max Roach. Nowadays, with Valdes as the artistic director, Cuba's main jazz festival has expanded to include all of Havana's main concert halls, but still keeps the impromptu jazz spirit with unexpected street jams along the Malecon.
Havana Carnaval - July
Until 1998, this Cuban festival was annually held in February, but has since been moved to July. Each neighbourhood organises their `comparsa' (performing group), which is to perform in the parade and dance show. Each group practices their talent for months in advance, and the big day is always memorable with colourful costumes, energetic dances, lively music and plenty of fun! A vibrant gift to all the senses, the carnival also provides Cuba holiday makers with authentic culinary treats with roast pork, tamales and chicharritas all readily available to festival goers. Alongside the parade, visitors will also delight in the outdoor concerts, which showcase Cuba's best bands over by the Melecon.
Santiago de Cuba - July
While the partying in Havana is in full swing, holiday makers almost 620 miles away in Santiago de Cuba will also be enjoying the street party of a lifetime. The best days for this most famous of Cuba's festivals are from the 24th to the 26th, where you will find a city that literally never sleeps! People gather in the streets partying all night long, waiting for the exciting annual performance at the Cuartel Moncada. Holiday makers will delight in the colourful and eclectic scenes, as they stroll along the famous Trocha Avenue lined with local food and drinks stance and punctuated by stages for bands to perform. This is one festival in Cuba not to be missed - a truly joyous celebration.
Remedios - December
If you are lucky enough to be spending Christmas in Cuba, be sure to pay this small village outside Santa Clara a visit on the 24th. This is the culmination of the Christmas festival - "Las Parrandas de Remedios", which sees fireworks, a street party and friendly competition between the neighbourhoods of Son Salvador and El Carmen. A lesser known but heart-warming and unique Cuban festival.
London - July
If you can't get away to Cuba in July, you can still enjoy 'The Spirit of Cuba in London' at the 'Carnival de Cuba'. For more information see their website.