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Best Time to Go, Events & Public Holidays


If you’re thinking of visiting Cuba, here’s a year-round calendar of happening events:


· Liberation Day [Public Holiday]: 1 January;

· Birth of Jose Matri: although not a sanctioned public holiday in Cuba, this important day is still remember throughout much of the island;February

· Jornadas de la Cultura Camagneyana: usually happens in the first or second week of February each year;

· International Book Fair: a gathering of (mainly) Spanish authors, publishers and distributors, held in the second week of February;

· Habanos Festival: Run by the state cigar company, after whom it is named, Habanos, S.A., a festival celebrating all that’s good about cigar smoking. The festival includes factory visits, lectures and tastings and is held in Havana in late February each year;

· Havana International Jazz Festival: happens once every other year;

· Havana Carnival: happens in the last week of February or first week of March. Features parades over the weekend, starting Friday nights in front of the Capitolio and ending on Sunday evenings;

· Anniversary of the beginning of the 1895 War of Independence: 24 February;March

· International Women’s Day: 8 March;

· International Festival of “La Trova” Pepe Sanchez: a festival of traditional Cuban folk music – usually held in the second week of March;

· Classic Car Celebration Festival: just because America has imposed a boycott of Cuba, doesn’t mean that Cuba cannot enjoy all things American! This festival, held in the second or third week of March, is the perfect example. A celebration of all things great about American cars can be had here;April

· Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs victory: 19 April

· Semana de la Cultura: a cultural festival held in Baracoa each April;

· Electroacoustic Musical Festival: as the name suggests, a musical festival held in Varadero during April each year;

· PERCUBA: held during this second or third week in April, this is an internationally recognized percussion instrument festival held each year in Havana;May

· Labor Day [Public Holiday]: I May – includes all of the traditional May day parades you come to expect from a communist state. The day culminates with the Fidel Castro’s annual speech to the nation;

· Romeria de Mayo: a festival held in Holguin during the first week of May;June

· Fiestas Sanjunaeras: a festival held at the end of June each year in Trinidad;

· Festival of Caribbean Culture: usually held during the last week of June or first week of July;July

· Fiesta del Fuego: a celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture held between July 3 and 9;

· Celebration of the National Rebellion / Revolution Day [Public Holiday]: 25 –27 July;

· Carnival: held all over Cuba, this ten day long traditional holiday is celebrated from 26 July till the second week of August. Traditionally an important time in the Cuban calendar as it signifies the end of the sugar harvest;

· Day of the Martyrs of the Revolution: 30 July;August

· Matanzas Carnival: held later than elsewhere in Cuba, Matanzas, a strong Afro-Cuban town, holds its Carnival during the third week of August;September

· International Blue Marlin Tournament: a big-game fishing tournament held late September at the Marina Hemingway;October

· Day of Cuban Culture / Anniversary of the 1868 War of Independence [Public Holiday]: 10 October;

· Havana Festival of Contemporary Music: a 10 day celebration of music with the highlight being the public holiday celebrating Cuban culture;

· Anniversary of the death of Camilo Cienfuegos: 28 October;November

· Semana de la Cultura Trinitaria: annual festival held in Trinidad in late November;December

· Christmas Day [Public Holiday]: 25 December. A recent addition to Cuba’s public holiday list, this holiday has only been a government sanctioned since the Pope’s visit to the island in 1997;

· The International Festival of Latin American Film: an annual film festival held in late December in Havana;

· Las Parrandas: a selection of public carnivals featuring fireworks, floats and fancy costumes, with the main event taking place on Christmas Eve (December 24).

Other Stuff:

High Season

High season in Cuba coincides with its dry-season [November – April]. Although tourism in Cuba is continuing to grow all year round, tourist traditionally start to arrive in December and leave towards the end of March (completely coincidentally, these also happen to be the cold winter months of the northern hemisphere!).


Rainy Season:

May through October

Dry Season:

November through April

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