Havana: A Festival Waiting To Happen

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Every year Havana hosts many music, dance, art and film festivals that bring people from around the globe together with celebrating islanders in what festivals that are best described as joyful celebrations of the arts. These festivals are part of Havana’s undeniable charm and help to keep the timeless culture embedded in its people.

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One such annual festival is the Festival of the Caribbean Culture where influences from Cuba’s early Indian natives mingle with influences from imported African cultures and from other Central American and South American people. The Festival of the Caribbean Culture is an intriguing blend of music, dance and art all wrapped in colorful, traditional garb. The pulsating beat keeps pounding during this amazingly vibrant event.

This festival recently ended and our reporter in Havana couldn’t wait to send these images along for your enjoyment. If you have the opportunity to plan your People-to-People Cuba tour to coincide with one of the many Havana festivals, you will not be disappointed. Contact Info@travelguidecuba.com for festival dates and details.

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As these photos clearly demonstrate, the good people of Havana and Cuba know how to enjoy themselves, their music and dance. But, bigger and longer festivals like Havana’s International Jazz Festival are more widely celebrated.

The Jazz festival was founded by renowned musicians like Bobby Carcasses. The first Havana Jazz Festival was hosted in the Casa de La Cultura Plaza in the middle of downtown Havana. The plaza still serves as the focal point of the festival which seems to expand every year. Jazz musicians from around the globe play to huge audiences at night and perform more intimate jam sessions during the day as Havana’s streets fill with music.

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The International Havana Ballet Festival is dedicated to dance. This festival was first celebrated in 1960 as a combined effort between the famed Ballet Nacional de Cuba and the Instituto Nacional de la Industria Turistica. The Ballet Festival is held every other year and remains one of the oldest, continuous dance festivals in the world.

The Havana International Film Festival is another prominent festival that is also known as the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema. The first film festival was held on December 3, 1979 as a tribute to Spanish-language filmmakers.

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This annual event takes place in December with presentations divided into categories for fiction, short films, medium length films, first time productions, animated films and posters. During this film festival, Havana is transformed into a beehive of actors, actresses, directors and producers all celebrating their art.

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Not surprisingly, one of the most popular festivals in Havana is the annual Habanos Cigar Festival, attended by men and women who are passionate about Cuban cigars. The five day event includes tours of Havana’s most famous cigar factories, numerous seminars about all aspects of the cigar industry, cigar tasting sessions and presentations by Cuban distributors. This is a prized event for cigar collectors, smoker clubs and amateur cigar smokers seeking to learn more about the art of cigar manufacture and enjoyment.

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Other Havana Festivals include:  

  • The Havana International Book Fair
  • International Percussion Festival
  • Cuba Pista Cycling Cup
  • May Theatre
  • Havana International Guitar Festival and Competition
  • International Ernest Hemingway White Marlin Fishing Tournament
  • International Boleros de Oro Festival
  • The Havana Carnival
  • The Havana International Theatre Festival
  • The Havana Festival of Contemporary Music
  • Havana International Festival of University Theatre

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Travelguidecuba.com is not a licensed People-to-People tour provider but works closely with International Expeditions, a licensed provider. This International Expedition People-to-People tour is licensed (CT-2013-299822-1)by the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to engage, organize and conduct authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba that engages participants in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.

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  1. Max O on November 18, 2014

    I can’t wait to go to Cuba in a week. It is my first time and have mapped out a great itinerary based on your articles.


  2. Jeff Segar on January 19, 2015

    Hi – been wanting to visit and photograph Cuba for several years. The trip would be for my wife and I and I would hope we could get some nice accommodations. Were very flexible with the only problem of losing my passport. Seems they can express or overnight it if you have a departure date. Let me know. Jeff Segar