Salsa > Going to Cuba - has anyone been?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Claire_Brummell, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Sorry for the delay in responding - it's been mad since I've been back!!

    Well what can I say – it was absolutely fabulous!

    The atmosphere, the people, the music, the dancing, the food – I had a fantastic time and simply cannot wait to go back!

    Something that was quite strange for me was that there isn’t the amount of salsa dancing that I expected to find – the best way to dance out there is to either go with people who’ve been before or to make friends with the locals and get them to take you out and dance with them – it was still amazing and absolutely something I would recommend doing – but having good Cuban contacts makes the experience much more enjoyable.

    One thing that absolutely blew me away was the response to our dancing over there – I have to say I was a little intimidated going over there being that salsa originated in Cuba and we were mere tourists. But much to my surprise and sheer amazement not only was the response from EVERYWHERE we went overwhelmingly positive (Cubans were constantly coming up to us and praising our dancing) but we were being asked by everyone to teach them our style (staggeringly - I was completely stunned....) Now I know that although I am a good dancer and I can more than hold my own on the dance floor – but we weren't going out there to prove anything at all or 'show what we can do' - we were just enjoying the music, and the atmosphere and enjoying dancing together - and I think it was this as well as the difference in styles that people were responding to. I was delighted with their desire to share their style and learn and take on ours too - mostly it was great fun - which to be honest - is the whole point of salsa in the first place!!

    We are in the process of arranging the details for the holiday we’re running out there next year (April / May) and as soon as they are finalised I’ll post them here for anyone who would like to go – I certainly can’t wait to get back there! You can’t explain it really – it’s a feeling and an atmosphere that has to be experienced – I could have sat there and soaked it up for months – it was so chilled, yet passionate, the people were vibrant and friendly and I can’t wait to be back among them again.

    For anyone going here’s some information that you might find useful:

    This is a good website for recommendations on places to eat - every recommendation we had from here was spot on – I would avoid eating in the hotels / government restaurants – paladares are the only way to do it and if you get the right ones the food / surroundings / atmosphere is incredible:

    I would recommend taking a tour when you first get there in order to get your bearings round Havana and find the main points of interest.

    The main one (and the one we did) is:
    Havana City Tour: This tour is organized by the company Cubanacán. There are two departure points to choose from, one in Old Havana and the other from the hotels. It is a complete tour, with visits to the main tourist sites in the city, including the Museo de los Capitanes Generales, a tobacco factory, the Casa del Café y del Ron. Disabled access is available. Calle 5 e/ Avenida y 68, Miramar, La Habana, +53 7 33 2047 (Information) +53 7 33 2715.

    Places of interest worth seeing in Havana are:
    Capitolio Nacional - if you do the inside of this - it's worth getting a guide as you get to enter the rooms and see bits that you otherwise wouldn't.
    Central Park
    El Malecón
    Plaza de Armas
    Plaza de la Catedral
    Botanical Gardens - lovely but quite a way out of the city so only do if you have the time and probably worth getting the taxi to wait as it's hard to get on from out there!
    Cemetery de Colon – Go here to see the Milagrosa (Miracle Lady) and the statue of the faithful dog.

    There's a lovely market not far from the Plaza de Armas and Plaza de la Catedral - opposite the where the Statue of Christ looks over the harbour - this is a good place to get souvenirs and there are also Horse and Carriage rides from this area which are a great way to see old Havana.

    If people are interested in good Cuban music / dancing then Cafe Cantante on Revolutionary Square and the Casa de la Musica in Havana are good places (can vary on the amount of people/dancing depending on the band) - but I would absolutely recommend making friends with some of the cuban people and getting them to take them to places to dance - apparently the roof of the Ingletterra hotel is good for dancing - but again we didn't make it on this last trip.

    I wouldn't recommend the Cubanacan tour to Varadero as the hotel and food were awful - but the beach was beautiful so would be worth finding a way of visiting a beach if you don’t do this as part of your trip – one of our Cuban friends took us to one that was half hour away from Havana (not 2 hours as Varadero was!) which was just as beautiful and no problems with the food / surroundings.

    I've got tons of information if there's anything in particular people want to know or any area I've missed then let me know - I've probably got some info on it somewhere!!

    Thank you so much for all your help – I’ll keep you posted on next year’s holiday :D


    Claire xx
  2. hopelessly_addicted

    hopelessly_addicted New Member

    OMG Claire! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and info! Please continue to post on DF... I enjoy reading your posts and you sound like a great salsera! :D

    Although I have no imidiate plan to visit cuba (due to monetary and time limitation), it just sounds great! Everyone seems to be heading to Cuba... I would be the last one to visit it feels like it! :( And anyone who's been there say they will go back there in the near future...
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I agree. What a great post! Thanks. :D
  4. Rosa

    Rosa New Member

    Claire, I've already read your post on Salsa Forums and I've responded to you there. Glad you had such an awesome time! 8) :D

    Rosa :)
  5. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    Sounds like a great trip, Claire! Glad you enjoyed yourself! And thanks for all the good info! 8)
  6. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Thankyou for your very sweet comments - I will of course continue to post here - I think you guys are great!!

    One other thing I actually meant to mention here (thanks for the reminder seeing your location actually prompted me!!) is that if there are any Salseras / Salseros round the world that have recommendations on different locations for us to run holidays we're always up for ideas and suggestions - for example I'm really interested in running one to Australia in the next couple of years. I always prefer to run holidays in locations where I have friends as people are always so helpful with helping us learn about the local salsa scene and general area - plus it means I get to meet and dance with my salsa friends across the globe!! So if anyone has any suggestions let me know and we'll bear them in mind when organising future holidays!

    Thanks so much to you all for making me feel so welcome - I'm in danger of becoming a regular round here!! :wink:


    Claire xx
  7. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    No salsa clubs in my city but if I'm having a salsa party there will be dancing, big-time. I can introduce you to some great sushi, too! 8)
  8. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Fabulous! As I said, I'll let you know when I'm heading over your way!! :D
  9. hopelessly_addicted

    hopelessly_addicted New Member

    The second sticky thread under Salsa basically have a very comprehensive information on the salsa scenes around the globe :arrow:

    For Melbourne, Australia, specifically, see the below thread, especially written by Salsachinita. What's written in the post is up-to-date.

    You could PM myself when you make your way down to Melbourne as well :)

    Hope this helped.
  10. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    That's great - thanks for this info - and if we're heading your way rest assured I will definately let you know!!

    Thanks again,

    Claire xx
  11. IsabellaCruella

    IsabellaCruella New Member

    So you are going back again Claire? It sounds fabulous and I loved your post. Do you know of any traveling groups that go to Cuba together. I would love to go- but not alone. What about studying abroad there? If anyone has any info on that, I would welcome it. :D
  12. Rosa

    Rosa New Member

    I'd be interested in going in a group. Your holidays sound good, Claire.

    Rosa :)
  13. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    Do a search on it- there are dozens of sites listing travel groups, tours, accomodation & info on Cuba!
  14. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Hey - Yes I'm going back!! - I co-run a salsa holidays company and we are going to Cuba next year - check out the website in my profile and feel free to PM me if you would like any info on it :D

    Thanks Rosa - the key to it is that we want to have fun and we want the people who come with us to have fun too - we aim to give other people the sort of holiday that we would want to have... :D
  15. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Hey Everyone

    Sorry I've been a little absent recently but when you read my post it will all become clear. As promised now that the details are available for our Cuban holiday in April I'm letting you all know. They are up and waiting for you on our website (see my WWW link) as well as the details for our long weekend in Prague in October.

    If anyone has any questions just shout - would be great to see some of you there! :D

    Hugs to all - it's good to be back!

    Claire :D

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