Cuba is a country of rich culture and traditions. Throughout the year there are festivals or events you can participate in to see firsthand how Cubans preserve and celebrate their heritage. Take a look, and consider yourself invited!
Jazz Plaza. This year's headliner is Chucho Valdés, an internationally recognized jazz musician from the island, who will kick off the event in Havana. Usually other important jazz musicians also come to perform.
from January 16 to 21, Havana and Santiago de Cuba
Festival Habano. One of the most glamorous and exclusive events in Havana. At the Habano Festival you will see collectors from all over the world bidding for unique pieces, such as luxury humidors. Usually the new lines of the most famous Premium cigars in the world are also announced.
from February 25 to March 2, Havana
International Book Fair. The largest event dedicated to books and readers in the country. In Cuba, it is relatively cheap, compared to other countries, to buy books. It’s good opportunity for you to purchase some volumes. Publishers also attend from many parts of the world.
from February 8 to 18, Havana
Meeting of Cuban “Harlistas.” In Cuba there are devotees with impressive motorcycles that go out on the weekends to celebrate life, and enjoy their hobby. This Harley Davidson party is in the resort town of Varadero (where else?). However, the organizers clarify that the Harley party is for all motorcycle enthusiasts, not just Harley fans.
February 8, 9, 10 and 11, Varadero
Cycling Tour of Cuba. An event that brings together cyclists from various countries to travel stretches of the Cuban archipelago up to 1000 kilometers, divided into several sections. A real feat of strength that only the toughest can complete.
International Video Art Festival of Camagüey. This event has its own personality. Despite taking place a significant distance from Havana, this event has achieved considerable renown and prestige. Emerging Cuban artists get their names here. Digital cinema, video performance, electro acoustic music, new mediums in urban spaces, mapping... A little of everything (but expertly curated, don’t worry).
Festival Internacional Romerías de Mayo.
Romerías is a meeting between generations of artists, intellectuals,
and cultural promoters from dozens of countries. These festivities
transform Holguín, a city of parks and the capital of young art, and in
the open spaces of the city there are concerts and meetings, which
become important moments for social reflection and cultural enjoyment.
from May 2 to 8, Holguin
International Ernest Hemingway Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament.
Contrary to what you might think at first glance, this tournament
actually advocates the preservation of the species. Points are achieved
by marking the animals, and not by hunting them. The chosen fishing
area stretches from Mariel to Santa Cruz del Norte. Within the
international nautical community, this is one of the most long-standing
Festivities of San Juan. While the most famous of all these festivities takes place in Camagüey, in the center of the island, in Oriente there is also the tradition of celebrating starting on Saint John's Day from June 24 and culminating on the 29th, Saint Peter's Day. It is tradition to burn a stuffed doll in the plaza and celebrate all night with music and dancing.
Carnival of Santiago de Cuba. Every
summer the streets of Santiago are filled with guaracheros and music
groups who go up and down Trocha during the days of the festival. This
event is considered the most extensive in the country. The carnival is
not confined to a specific area, but instead takes over the entire city.
The "conga santiaguera" is the soundtrack of the city during these
days. Wear good shoes and comfortable clothes because this party gets
from July 18 to 27, Santiago de Cuba
Caribbean Festival. Fiesta del fuego. Annually,
the santiaguero festival is dedicated to one country in the region, as a
show of cultural comradery. This Cuban festival has the largest
consolidation and diversity of popular cultures and the traditions of
the peoples of the region. If you are interested in folklore and
miscegenation of the island, you will get to dive into these ideas here.
from JUly 3 to 9, Santiago de Cuba
Partagás Week. It is not exactly an official event, but a meeting for people who love this brand of cigars. The faithful followers of Casa del Habano Partagás meet to smoke cigars, as well as visit factories and specialized stores. It is a perfect time to buy top quality cigars.
International Nature Tourism Event: TURNAT. Annual event designed for tour operators, travel agencies, and others interested in ecotourism. Each year they focus on an area of interest for this sector of the industry and work to showcase the benefits of Cuba as a destination for nature tourism.
Ballet enthusiasts tend to be the most faithful followers of this
event. Each year the National Ballet of Cuba has a special line up for
the days of the event and it is rare to find an empty seat. If you are
in Havana during this festival, take advantage because generally the
company is on tour or rehearsing.
from October 26 to November 2, Havana
Festival of the Ibero-American Culture.
This is an event that restores and promotes the Hispanic roots and
background of the Cuban nation. The streets and parks of Holguín serve
as the stage for an extensive program of concerts, exhibitions,
workshops and popular festivals, with shows from of well-known soloists,
creators, local groups and guests from all over Ibero-America.
from October 24 to 30, Holguin
Fiesta of the Cubanía. Bayamo is one of the most beautiful cities of Cuba, offering a mixture of history, culture, and tradition. All this is highlighted in this Fiesta, an event that every year focuses its attention on enhancing the cultural tradition and reverence for the history of the nation. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to drive around Bayamo, as advised by the famous song by Adalberto Álvarez.
This is an event for everyone: runners, walkers, professional athletes,
and the disabled. Its message is that we can all overcome our
challenges, regardless of our physicality. It offers a healthy life
lesson for future generations.
November 18, Havana
International Fair of Havana (FIHAV). One of the most comprehensive executive meetings in the country. The main Cuban companies, as well as invited foreign companies, show their products and establish agreements. It is probably the most important business meeting in Cuba. Its annual headquarters is Expocuba in the outskirts of the capital.
International Festival of New Latin American Cinema. This is probably the only of year that Cubans go in mass to the cinemas, since almost all national premieres take place during this festival. Nonetheless, these films lead the way in the best Latin American and European cinema. In Cuba, main floor seats are very cheap, so getting into the dark room may be an option. If you’re a fan of film, check out Esperanza bar. In this bar, you might get a chance to see an actor you just saw on the big screen.
Parrandas Remedios. Year after year the people of Remedios celebrate one of the most renowned carnivals in Cuba: parrandas. Months are spent preparing the event, which is complete with flares, fireworks and all kinds of manufactured devices to surprise loyal fans who come from all parts of the country. This is one of the best pretexts to travel to Cuba in December.
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