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International Choir Festival Cuba, 1-5 November 2023

The International Choir Festival Cuba was established in 1931 and takes place every two years in Santiago de Cuba, the undisputed choral capital of the Caribbean. We are delighted to offer a unique festival accommodation package for the forthcoming event taking place over 5 days at the very start of November 2023.  

This small and exciting festival provides the opportunity to sing in prestigious venues in Santiago de Cuba, and to also be involved in specially organised local community choral activities in outlying areas of the city.  The highlight of the festival is the final evening when all of the choirs sing their way through the streets by torchlight to meet in the main city square for an unforgettable musical finale.

Choirs from all over the world come to Santiago to be involved in this joyous festival and we hope you will come too. Individuals who are not singing but who love music are also welcome.

  • Duration: 8 nights
  • Start date: 30 Oct – 6 Nov 2023
  • Cost (8 nights): to be confirmed

” The festival was an unforgettable experience. The opportunity to hear so many wonderful choirs was truly wonderful. The workshops were great too, made special by the openness and mutual appreciation between the choirs. The homestay accommodation was outstanding. What made it so was the care, attention, friendliness and engagement of our hosts.  They made us feel like part of their family, to the extent of being invited to a family 50th birthday meal. They provided us with great vegetarian food and welcomed other members of the choir who came back to their house with us. Nothing was too much trouble for them”

C.V, Edinburgh, Choir Festival Cuba

The International Choir Festival Cuba takes place in Cuba’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba – widely regarded as the musical heart of the country – every two years. The next Choir Festival is scheduled for 1-5 November 2023.  Alongside the scheduled concerts, choirs are invited to participate in a programme of community workshops. Main festival performance venues will be the well known Sala Dolores and the Santiago Music Conservatory as well as Santiago cathedral, local community venues and El Cobre basilica close to the city.

Caledonia Worldwide is a specialist tour operator focusing on cultural travel with a strong emphasis on responsible tourism. We have been operating in Cuba since 1998, mainly in and around Santiago de Cuba and we love to share our local knowledge to make your trip really special.

We can advise on international and domestic travel to complement the choir festival package, and we also will provide the required visas for your visit as well as anything else needed by festival visitors to make this an exciting and unforgettable experience.

You will have the opportunity to book additional singing, dance or percussion lessons (at extra cost – not included in the main festival package price).  Try your hand at some Afro-Cuban rhythms with top professional local musicians, or learn how to dance salsa Cuban style.

The dates of our choir trip package include 2 nights in Santiago de Cuba before the festival starts to allow time to explore and relax after arriving in the city.

Choir Festival package includes:
– Homestay accommodation: 7 nights in single or shared room with private bathroom
– Meals: 7 breakfasts and 7 evening meals at your homestay
– Excursion: a half day group guided city tour to visit the key sites associated with the Cuban Revolution; Fidel Castro’s grave; Jose Marti mausoleum; Santiago de Cuba rum factory; the Alameda seafront promenade area; the 3 main city squares and Revolution Square
– Choir Festival:  registration allowing full access to all concerts, workshops and presentations (as well as your own choir’s scheduled performances if you are performing);  an invitation to the Civic Reception on the opening night with an official welcome from the head of the city council and the festival organising committee; an official certificate of participation in the festival.

Cost to be confirmed
Single room   
Shared room

Not included:
Please note that the cost does not include any international flights/domestic travel/arrival transfers/Cuban entry visa.

Everyone is welcome:
Anyone who is not singing in the choir festival but loves music is also very welcome!

Extended Itinerary
We can easily organise an extension to the choir festival itinerary, so just let us know your travel plans and we can put together an itinerary to suit.

There is an international airport in Santiago de Cuba, and a few airlines fly direct to this city from other countries.  From the US, American Airlines flies direct from Miami. From Europe, Iberojet flies direct from Madrid.

Other international airlines will fly into Holguin which is a 2.5 hour drive from Santiago de Cuba. From Holguin you will need a private transfer as there is no public transport serving the airport.  If you fly into Havana, at the opposite end of the island,  you will have to travel on to Santiago either on a domestic flight (90 minutes) or by long distance bus (14 hours).

In Santiago de Cuba we have included selected homestay accommodation in the Choir Festival package. Please see below for more details.

Hotel accommodation is also available but is limited during the festival dates.

Homestay accommodation in Santiago de Cuba

Homestay accommodation gives you the perfect opportunity to have an insight into Cuban life. As we have been organising trips to Santiago de Cuba for over 25 years, we know all of our homestays personally and can vouch for the quality and standard of the accommodation. All our homestay accommodation is licenced by the Cuban government and is regularly inspected.   You can be reassured that you will be staying in homes which offer a professional level of service, a high standard of cleanliness as well as a friendly welcome, ensuring you are comfortable and that you feel right at home.

Homestay accommodation is very independent and you can come and go as you please. You will not have your meals with your hosts, but you will always have someone to chat to if you want to practice your Spanish. Another advantage of staying in our selected homestays is that they are all centrally located in the city, within easy reach of the main festival venue.   

We can organise single or double/twin rooms (the latter is only for 2 people booking together). Triple rooms have limited availability. All bedrooms are equipped with air-conditioning and often an electric fan as well, and guests will have their own private bathroom with hot water for showers.   Breakfast is included every morning and a hearty evening meal every night.  

Meals will provide excellent home cooking and special dietary requirements can be catered for without any problem as long as we know in advance. It is not usual for homestays to have any self-catering facilities.

Hotel accommodation

There are  a number of good hotels in Santiago de Cuba and availability is limited during the choir festival period.  Costs vary according to the category of  hotel you would like to book and all rooms have air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms with hot showers. For more information, contact us on info@caledoniaworldwide.com to discuss options.

All visitors to Cuba require a visa to enter the country known as a Tourist Card*. We can issue Cuban tourist cards for a cost of £30 including first class postage to any UK address.  If you live outside of the UK, we can arrange secure delivery by courier for which there are additional costs.

The visa is valid for 90 days from the date you enter Cuba. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from date of entry to Cuba. Some nationalities will have to apply direct to a Cuban consulate for a visa. Please check with us first.

*Anyone (US and non US citizens) flying direct from the US to Cuba must apply for the required visa direct with an authorised US travel company.  We are not able to provide the visa if you are flying from the US direct to Cuba. Ask us for details of where you can book your visa in the US.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2023 CHOIR FESTIVAL : The deadline for applications is usually early June of the same year

To book your choir for this festival,  please contact us and let us know where your choir is based, how many people are planning on coming and what your travel plans are likely to be.  If you would like us to arrange extra travel and accommodation t already included in the one week choir festival package, we will provide options and costs for you to consider. Once you have approved our proposal, we will email you our secure online booking form and then when we have the completed forms, we can start to get your trip organised. Easy!

Spouses, partners, friends and children are all welcome to join you on this musical adventure in Cuba.

Details required for festival registration are:

  • the name of your choir
  • which country you are from
  • your home city
  • full contact postal address
  • contact telephone number(s)
  • email address
  • choir website (if you have one)
  • total number of choir members participating in the festival
  • number of female singers
  • number of male singers
  • proposed repertoire
  • a photo of the choir
  • the usual repertoire of the choir with the category of work, names of individual numbers and their composers
  • video or other audio recording of the choir