MANANA  Festival 2016, Cuba travel

We were delighted to be appointed as the official travel partner for the MANANA Festival 2016 in Santiago de Cuba, taking place on 4/5/6 May 2016. The festival brought together, for the first time ever, the best exponents of Afro-Cuban music in Cuba and the top international electronic music performers. This exciting 3 day event showcased musicians and DJs in collaborative projects and provided an opportunity to participate in special local community events.

We booked international and domestic travel, accommodation and tourist visas as well as anything else needed by festival visitors to make this an exciting and unforgettable experience. For the US market, round trip charter flights from Miami direct to Santiago de Cuba were available providing legal travel to Cuba.

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 would love to share our local knowledge to make your trip really special.

  • Please keep reading for full details.

“Cuba was the most beautiful experience. Highlights were the people, the music, the buildings, the nature….. I’m in love with Cuba now!”

NS, Edinburgh, March 2015

About MANANA
MANANA is a Cuban/British non-profit organisation that connects the rich heritage of Afro-Cuban Folkloric music to the International Electronic music community. From 4-6th May 2016 the first International Festival of its kind took place in Cuba – open to both Cuban and international visitors.

The concept for the festival was developed in partnership with Cuba’s most influential cultural institutions and musicians, and was been approved by the Cuban Government. It took place in Cuba’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba – widely regarded as the musical heart of the Caribbean.

MANANA 2016 was about community, friendship and connecting with musical peers.  The MANANA team secured a carefully curated line-up of Cuban and international legends, plus breakthrough artists that matched the ethos of the project. Alongside the performances,  artists and technology partners delivered a programme of music workshops, seminars and talks on a range of subjects such as recording, production, promotion and distribution.

Participants and collaborators
Collaborators included the wise heads at No-Nation; tropical music masters Sofrito; and responsible travel to Cuba specialists (that’s us!) Caledonia Worldwide.

The following artistes played and/or ran workshops at the festival:

Chilean-US star Nico Jaar // British electronic icon Quantic // Seminal Warp Records electronica act, Plaid // UK dubstep star Mala // Dub pioneer Adrian Sherwood & former Sugar Hill Gang member Skip McDonald // Puerto Rican electronic rumba act, Grupo ÌFÉ // Tropical UK DJ’s, Sofrito // “Godfather” of Cuban drumming, Galis // Santiago de Cuba rumba masters, Obba Tuke // Cuba’s legendary Compañía Ballet Folklórico de Oriente // British-based independent record label DJ’s, Soundway // Tijuana house duo, Soul of Hex // Mexico City’s folkloric techno duo, Century // US time-travelling multi-instrumentalist producer, Chico Mann // Cuban/Iranian electronic and Afro-Cuban 4-piece Ariwo // Breakthrough UK techno act, Phrased // Santiago own, Rumba Ache

MANANA’s goal
MANANA was about creating a musical legacy that would live on well after the festival finished. The goal was to provide Cubans with the necessary tools and technical knowledge to reconnect with the wider world on their own terms, whilst also giving the electronic music community a chance to learn from Cuban masters who have spent a lifetime refining their artistic skills.

We can organise tailormade itineraries around the festival dates so just let us know where and when you are arriving and what sort of trip you are looking for, and we will draft up a programme to suit.

Sample itineraries are indicated below.

Itinerary 1: Havana - Santiago de Cuba - Havana

May 2 Arrive Havana airport 
Arrive Havana airport. Met by a local representative and group transfer into Havana.  Accommodation in homestay with breakfast x 1 night

May 3 Havana – Santiago de Cuba
Morning guided group walking tour of Old Havana with local guide.
Group transfer to Havana airport for domestic flight from Havana to Santiago. Group transfer on arrival Santiago to homestay accommodation with breakfast and dinner x 4 nights. Festival registration and Afro-Cuban music/dance performance

May 4/5/6 MANANA Festival Programme, Santiago de Cuba

May 7 Santiago de Cuba – Havana
Group transfer to Santiago airport for flight back to Havana. Met on arrival and transfer to homestay accommodation with breakfast x 1 night.

May 8 Depart Havana 
Group transfer to Havana airport for international flight home

Itinerary includes:
Homestay accommodation x 6 nights. In Havana with breakfast and in Santiago with dinner and breakfast
Return scheduled domestic flights Havana – Santiago de Cuba x 2
Shared airport transfers in Santiago on arrival/departure x 2
Shared airport transfers in Havana on arrival/departure x 4
Morning guided walking tour in Havana
Afro-Cuban cultural activity in Santiago de Cuba
Local representative support 24/7
Booking fee

Cost per person:
including Single room accommodation: £545 per person
including Twin/double room accommodation: £485 per person

Alternative itinerary including MANANA private coach transfers
We plan to have a private MANANA Festival coach leaving Havana on the morning of 03 May, arriving into Santiago that same evening. There will be a couple of comfort stops en route and lunch is included. Journey time is around 10-12 hours. A return MANANA Festival coach will leave for Havana from Santiago de Cuba on 07 May.

Cost per person:
including Single room accommodation: £430 per person
including Twin/double room accommodation: £385 per person

Not included: International flights, Cuban tourist card, and tips

Itinerary 2: Holguin - Santiago de Cuba - Bayamo - Turquino National Park - Holguin

May 2 Arrive Holguin airport
Arrive Holguin airport. Met by a local representative and group transfer to Santiago de Cuba.  Accommodation in homestay with breakfast/dinner x 5 nights

May 3 Santiago de Cuba
Morning guided group tour of Santiago with local guide. Festival registration and Afro-Cuban music/dance performance

May 4/5/6 MANANA Festival Programme

May 7 Santiago de Cuba – Bayamo
Group transfer to Bayamo x 2 nights hotel accommodation, breakfast and dinner.

May 8 Turquino National Park
Full day of guided hiking to visit La Comandancia in the Turquino national park, Fidels secret HQ in the Sierra Maestra mountains in the lead up to the Revolution. Return to hotel for dinner and final night musical activity.

May 9 Depart Holguin airport
Group transfer to Holguin airport for return international flight

Itinerary includes:
Homestay accommodation x 5 nights – Santiago de Cuba, breakfast and dinner
Hotel accommodation x 2 nights – Bayamo, breakfast and dinner
Group airport transfers on arrival/departure Holguin (2)
Morning guided tour in Santiago
Afro-Cuban cultural activity in Santiago de Cuba and music activity, Bayamo
Guided hiking to La Comandancia, group coach transfers
All entries and park fees
Local representative support 24/7
Booking fee

Cost per person:
including Single room accommodation: approx. £595 per person
including Twin/double room accommodation: approx. £545 per person

Not included: International flights, Cuban tourist card and tips

Itinerary 3: Havana - Santiago de Cuba - Camaguey - Trinidad - Havana

May 2 Arrive Havana airport
Arrive Havana airport. Met by a local representative and group transfer into Havana.  Accommodation in homestay in Havana with breakfast x 1 night

May 3 Havana
Morning guided walking tour of Old Havana with local guide.
Group transfer to Havana airport for domestic flight from Havana to Santiago. Transfer on arrival Santiago to homestay accommodation with breakfast x 4 nights. Festival registration and Afro-Cuban music/dance performance

May 4/5/6 MANANA Festival Programme

Cost of festival ticket not included

May 7 Santiago de Cuba – Camaguey
Group coach travel with local guide to Camaguey (6 hours), overnight accommodation in local homestay, breakfast. Evening musical activity with local professional musicians/dancers.

May 8 Camaguey – Trinidad
Group coach travel with local guide to Trinidad, UNESCO world heritage colonial city. 2 nights accommodation, homestay, breakfast

May 9 Trinidad
Guided hiking trip in national park along waterfall trail, lunch included
Evening cultural activity with local musicians/dancers

May 10 Trinidad – Havana
Group coach travel to Havana for final night in Cuba, homestay accommodation, breakfast

May 11 Depart Havana
Depart Havana

Itinerary includes:
Homestay accommodation x 9 nights – Havana/Camaguey/Trinidad / Santiago with breakfast
Shared airport transfer in Santiago on arrival (1)
Shared airport transfers in Havana on arrival/departure (2)
Scheduled domestic flight Havana – Santiago de Cuba (1)
MANANA group coach travel with English speaking guide(s)
All entries for visits/activities in the itinerary
Local representative support 24/7
Booking fee

Cost per person:
including Single room accommodation: £675 per person
including Twin/double room accommodation: £610 per person

Alternative itinerary including MANANA private coach transfer to Santiago de Cuba
We plan to have a private MANANA Festival coach leaving Havana on the morning of 03 May, arriving into Santiago that same evening. There will be a couple of comfort stops en route and lunch is included. Journey time is around 10-12 hours.

Cost per person:
including Single room accommodation: £620 per person
including Twin/double room accommodation: £570 per person

Not included: International flights, Cuban tourist card and tips

To book
We are no longer accepting bookings for accommodation during the Manana Festival. If you would like to check if there is any last minute availability, please contact us.

If you prefer to ask us about tailormade itineraries, rather than joining one of our group itineraries just let us know!  Or if you would like to join one of the above group itineraries, but with extra accommodation and cultural activities, please just tell us what you would like to do.

We have a range of tailormade itineraries for individuals, families or groups of friends including Spanish, dance, percussion and music lessons, hiking/trekking/walking in national parks and guided cultural tours in the main towns and cities. For details check our Cuban holidays pages.

We  can arrange both international flights to Cuba and domestic flights for your trip. We have an ATOL licence  (ATOL 6387) which offers people booking flights or package holidays extra protection in the event that an airline is unable to provide travel.  This covers those who are resident in the UK or anyone departing on an international flight from the UK. For full information please have a look at this website: www.caa.co.uk/atol.

Please click on one of the options below for more details:

International travel

We can book international flights to Cuba for you from pretty much anywhere in the world. All you have to do is tell us where you want to fly from and when, and we will give you flight options. Almost all international airlines flying from Europe and North America fly into and out of Havana, and this often entails an overnight stay in Havana city before you can travel on to Santiago de Cuba at the other end of the island (we can book accommodation for you if this is required).  See below for details of domestic travel options from Havana to Santiago de Cuba.

There are also direct flights from Canada (Toronto/Montreal), Germany (Frankfurt) and the UK (Manchester and London Gatwick) direct to Holguin in the south east of Cuba, just 2 hours drive from Santiago. These flights are usually just once a week.

Domestic travel

Most international flights will arrive into Havana from Europe and North America.  We can organise your onward travel from Havana to Santiago by plane, bus or a special MANANA festival coach which will offer a service from Havana to Santiago de Cuba before and after the festival.

Plane
There are 2-3 daily scheduled flights between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, costing approx. £110 – £125 one way. The flight is 1 hour 20 minutes.

Bus
There are daily scheduled departures between Havana and Santiago de Cuba on the national bus service, in air-conditioned comfortable coaches. Journey time is 12-16 hours depending on which service you book (daytime and overnight options). The cost is approx. £55 one way.

Manana Festival Private Coach Transfers
We plan to have a private MANANA Festival coach leaving Havana on the morning of 03 May, arriving into Santiago that same evening. There will be a couple of comfort stops en route and lunch is included. Journey time is around 10-12 hours.  A return MANANA Festival coach will leave for Havana from Santiago de Cuba on 07 May.

Transfers
We can arrange transfers to Santiago from either Holguin or Santiago airport or the Viazul bus station in Santiago:

Santiago de Cuba Airport / Viazul bus station – Santiago city centre: £15 for 1-3 persons
Holguin Airport – Santiago city centre: £95 for 1 person / £55 each for 2 persons/ £50 each for 3 persons/£40 per person for 4+ persons

In Santiago de Cuba we can arrange either homestay or hotel accommodation. Please see below for options and prices.

DEADLINE FOR MANANA ACCOMMODATION BOOKINGS: FRIDAY 8 APRIL 2016

Homestay accommodation in Santiago de Cuba

Homestay accommodation gives you the perfect opportunity to have an insight into Cuban life. We know most 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 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 for 2 people booking together. Triple rooms are only available where the third person is a child under 12 years old. Bedrooms are equipped with air-conditioning and often an electric fan as well, and guests will have their own private bathroom. In some homestays, two guest rooms may share the same bathroom but this is not common. Breakfast is included, and if you would like to have additional meals you can arrange this direct with your homestay hosts.  These types of 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 self catering facilities.

 Single roomDouble/Twin room
per night £27 £17 per person

Please note prices are per person and include breakfast.  For evening meals, you should expect to pay around £5-£7 per person for a good two course meal.

Hotel accommodation

We have pre-booked rooms in the main 2*, 3* and 4* hotels in Santiago, and have also block-booked the whole of the 3* Hotel Rex, the 2* Hotel Libertad and additional rooms  in other hotels around the city.  Costs vary according to the category of  hotel you would like to book but all hotel rooms have air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms with showers. Single room prices vary from £30 with breakfast in a 2* hotel, £36 per night in a 3* hotel or £65 per night in a 4*  hotel.  For a twin/double room with breakfast  in a 2* hotel, the cost is around £24 per person, £30-£35 for a 3* hotel per person or £47 per person in a 4*hotel.   For more information, contact us on info@caledoniaworldwide.com or call us on +44 (0)131 621 7721.

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 £25 (£20 + £5 admin fee). 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 30 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.

BOOKING DEADLINE FOR MANANA ACCOMMODATION IS FRIDAY 8 APRIL 2016

We are no longer accepting bookings for accommodation during the Manana Festival. If you would like to check if there is any last minute availability, please contact us.

For a tailormade trip, if you would like us to organise your travel, accommodation and Cuban tourist card, all you have to do is contact us and we will send you our booking form, which you can fill in and email to us. We will then get in touch with options and costs for you to consider. Easy!