Salsa in the Caribbean

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by SurfSalsa, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. SurfSalsa

    SurfSalsa New Member

    Hi!
    Can anyone recommend a good Caribbean island for salsa?
    (chilling out for a week, salsaing after a salsa cruise... :lol: )

    We do on-1 CBL style... but other influences are welcome!!

    A variety of venues/classes/clubs would be nice - well-aired or smoke-free venues even better!

    It would be great of you could surf there (serious short-board surfing), and French would be a bonus too! (I know one should use such an opportinity to pick up 3 words of Spanish too, but, c'est la vie!)
    Thinking of November time-frame...

    I've read in the threads about Jamaica and Trinidad. Trinidad sounds interersting as we do ballroom latin as well...

    I've been to Guadeloupe (favourite!) and St Martin, but those were before I discovered salsa - anyone been salsaing in Guadeloupe?

    Dreaming of warm tropical sunshine, sandy palm beaches, island rhythms...
  2. pelao

    pelao New Member

    Puerto Rico
  3. volleybgrl

    volleybgrl New Member

    Trinidad is a great place but there is a lot of violence there at the moment. I'd steer clear if I were you.
  4. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    Volleybgrl, are you talking about Trinidad, as in Trinidad & Tobago?

    (I am asking as there is a town called Trinidad in Cuba... I think... )
  5. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Are you going on the "all star salsa cruise" nov 11-14?
  6. SurfSalsa

    SurfSalsa New Member

    Hi Vin,
    No I was referring to a cruise called salsa-n-cruise II (off a UK web site); but it is almost the same timeframe (11 -18 Nov out of Miami)...
    Fire, currently in London, is listed as one of the teachers... I've attended some of his group's classes in London which were really excellent...

    BTW, I see on the events calendar there is a party weekend on in St Maarten that same time frame!! Anyone been there last year?

    Tropical rhythm dreams... :lol:
  7. DancerGirl

    DancerGirl New Member

    I went to the Salsa Escape in St. Martin last year, and had a great time, and I recommend it. If you have any questions, just ask! Actually, it looks like the dates for this year have changed to Oct 31- Nov 7. Just check the website salsaescape.com, I guess that the dates need to be changed in the congresses page...
    I'll be watching this thread though, since I'm looking for the same thing for my next vacation, salsa in the caribbean, right down to the french part, although that's not a requirement since I'm starting to learn spanish too. But I'd rather have something that's not organized, since I've already experienced that and rather take it easy and visit the local clubs. So is there anywhere else other than peurto rico to dance salsa in the caribbean??
  8. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    Thanks DancerGirl. I don't appear to have received an email from the organisers notifying of the date change... or if I did, I missed it. In any case, I have amended the list now.
  9. SurfSalsa

    SurfSalsa New Member

    Hi DancerGirl, thanks for the recommendation!
    Were there good classes and workshops too?

    I have similar thoughts, especially if we do a cruise just before or after the island week... two weeks of organised activity may get a bit much... (or maybe not!!!)

    I'm quite interested why you ask if there are other places other than Peurto Rico?? I chose Guadeloupe for a surfing trip over PR quite a few years ago, and it must have been for a more important reason than the French language... any violence, crime, availability of resorts?
  10. SurfSalsa

    SurfSalsa New Member

    I must add, I was in Jamaica also a few years ago. Wonderful place!! At the time I wasn't mad about Kingston, but it may just have been that I didn't know where to go when...

    We stayed on the southern coast of the island, about halfway down, really in the middle of nowhere... a few miles from there was a little cafe/restaurant right on the beach that had the most amazing parties every night! (wish I can remember their name!) This was before I knew about salsa, but we cha-cha'd, rumba'd, samba'd, jived etc right through the night - in the restaurant, on the veranda, outside on the beach under the stars, it was excellent!! The friendliest people I've come across in a long time!! (Because we danced differently - latin ballroom stuff - we were later treated like royalty and long lost friends combined!) Some of the restaurant staff even came to visit us during the day at our little town a few miles away. Happy times, good memories, tons of fun!! (O, and they had the most amazing fish dishes too...)

    I'm sure you could have salsa'd on a lot of the music, and the dj would have played it if you asked him - he was very open to requests.

    To end a long story, if you can discover a little gem like that, Jamaica is very very highly recommended!! From JamaicanSpice's thread one can pick up a few nice places to salsa already...
  11. salsavidaman

    salsavidaman New Member

    hi there you may want to try Barbados there is a club here called SalsaVida and we have a salsa party each and every Friday night at a club called McBrides in St. Lawarance Gap on the south coast of the island and there is also a Saturdaynight latin party in the gap. You can contact Ms Maj Britt Waagenes @ salsita11@hotmail.com for details or i can fill you in on the activaties here.
    you can also get in some surfing here as well.
    oh i was in Jamacia 2 years ago ang i found a salsa club there its at the Hilton hotel in Kingstown on thursday night.

    i am new to this site so i look foward to hearing from all you salsa lovers out there


  12. DancerGirl

    DancerGirl New Member

    Hi Surfsalsa, yes there where good classes and workshops for the salsa escape! Some very cool classes like one with Frankie Martinez doing african movement workshop to the sounds of 2 musicains from spanish harlem orchestra, so that was cool! In addition to salsa there were even hustle and argentine tango workshops. It was kind of like a mini-congress, with classes, parties and a show.

    I didn't mean to sound like I wasn't interested in going to Peurto Rico, I am! but since it's already been named, I was looking for more suggestions.
    Was Guadeloupe safe?

    Pacion, I think the official dates for the salsa escape are Nov 1 - Nov 7, (Pre-party oct 31) so you may want to change the calendar for it to be in November. [/b]
  13. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    Hi DancerGirl

    Thanks. As a guide, I generally include the pre-party date in case for travel arrangements dancers get there the day before.

    (In my experience, promoters eventually change it to include the night before :?)
  14. SurfSalsa

    SurfSalsa New Member

    Sounds very good!! (Sounds like a good warm-up before a cruise! At least there are 4 days break between the escape and the cruise I'm looking at...)

    Where I was - extremely safe! I drove and walked all over the place. I stayed in a little village called St Anne. Beautiful beaches, good watersports, not much night-life that I could recall, but I went there on chill-out holidays (before I could spell salsa) and spent all my day-time on high energy watersports - I was so surfed-out that I normally crashed at 8 or 9 after supper... The one time they had a drum festival on, lots of interesting local music!

    Anyone else been salsa-ing there?
  15. DEFINITELY Puerto Rico! La isla del encanto!

    This is always the ultimate salsa place for me! Where can you find more salsa elegance and better salsa live concerts?

    Check out http://www.abailarsalsa.tk/ and click on Actividades. It is all in Spanish, but you mention that you speak French. So you should be able to figure out the important information (I hope).

    Puerto Rico has the greatest salsa concerts and events!
    Here a taste what is going on right now:
    April 22: Roberto Roena in San Juan Chateau (disco in San Juan)
    April 29: El Gran Combo, La Sonora Ponceña, Willy Rosario at the Wyndham El San Juan Hotel in Isla Verde (San Juan)
    April 30: Eddie Palmieri - 50 anniversario, Coliseo Rubén Rodríguez in Bayamón (near San Juan).
    May 5 and 6: Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz (Bellas Artes, concert hall in San Juan)
    May 13: Gilberto Santa Rosa (Bellas Artes)

    Do you want more? Go to the web site above.

    I cannot guarantee that there is that much in November, but usually there is something.

    Puerto Rico es salsa! (says the sticker on our car)

    Marita (who would like to go to Puerto Rico NOW!)
  16. SurfSalsa

    SurfSalsa New Member

    Thanks for the good reference Salsera Alemana! I like the words 'salsa elegance'! It seems I'll have to raise PR to the top of my priority list!! (Not only does it seem excellent for salsa, but it has good surfing too!! My other passion...)

    Two questions:
    1) What style of salsa is prominent in PR? (the on1 on2 thing...)
    2) Are there nice clubs to go to too in addition to the concerts?

    In explanation of question 2) - I'm a very bad spectator. I'd much rather dance to a DJ than sit, stand, sway or jump up-and-down on one spot! Can't keep those feet still! Especially to vibey salsa music!! It would be like jail... gimme space... gotta move!! :p

    OK now my list is: PR, ST Martin Escape, other.... unless convinced otherwise...
  17. SurfSalsa,

    Don't be afraid that you don't get to dance at concerts. In PR you can dance everywhere if you like. What I call concert, is a dance by Puerto Rican standards, except in Bellas Artes.

    For Puerto Ricans, all those famous salsa bands are to dance to! So when you go to a dance with El Gran Combo and Willy Rosario, for example, you go to a dance with a live band. For them it is something normal that they have almost all the time, for us it is something extraordinary. Especially in places like the Wyndham El San Juan Hotel or alike. Those hotels have nice ballrooms and the setting is a bit more elegant. Most places, however, have become very casual, like the rest of the salsa world.

    Yes, of course there are dance clubs, too. The Havana (which city does not have a Havana??? Even San Juan has one) is a normal salsa disco. It is a very casual place and could be anywhere in Europe, too. It is very frequented by salsa "tourists", only about half of the people there are Puerto Ricans and I had the impression last September that the good dancers do not go there anymore. It is being renovated at the moment and is closed temporarily.
    There is Shot's Bar and Grill on Thursdays, which is a nice dance venue. Also very casual but very Latin! Very good ambiente, live bands (local ones, no famous ones). For more, check the web site www.abailarsalsa.tk.

    Also check El Nuevo Día on Fridays: http://www.endi.com/. This is one of the newspapers and it has most of the fiestas and events for the weekends on Fridays. Scroll the Home page all the way down to the end, there should be a link to "weekend" or something like that (only on the weekend you find that link). And listen to the radio (Zeta 93), there they always announce fiestas.

    And don't forget to check the fiestas patronales, the best place for that is also www.abailarsalsa.tk. There you find which fiestas are going on and who plays when and where. Here you find the general dates when the fiestas start in which town: http://www.nyboricua.com/prdates.htm. The date changes slightly from year to year though, generally by 1-3 days. The fiestas last from 3 to 10 days, 10 becomes more and more unusual, for money reasons probably. There, you have live bands for free playing every night at the town square or another location in town (salsa and merengue bands). When I say live bands, I mean famous bands that you might have on CD at home: José Alberto "El Canario", La Sonora Ponceña, El Gran Combo, Domingo Quiñones, Tommy Olivencia etc. etc.
    And of course you can dance there, too. Those fiestas are always outside, so wear shorts or jeans and comfortable tennis shoes to dance on the pavement.

    You ask about well-aired and smoke free places: yes. Take a jacket, most places are very chilly, cold for my standard (I always have to take a warm jacket!). I am a non smoker and suffer a great deal in salsa places here in Germany, not in PR, though.

    In PR many people dance on the 2, but there are still many people who dance on the 1. You find both.

    I could go on and on because PR is my favorite salsa place!

    And all the better if you can do good surfing there.
  18. SurfSalsa

    SurfSalsa New Member

    Hi Salsera Alemana! I can defintely read you love PR!!! I like your description of Wyndham El San Juan Hotel - the type of place that would appeal to my wife! You're a good ambassador for PR! (They should give you a free PR salsa holiday just for that :D)

    More questions if you don't mind:

    1) Are most of the salsa places in San Juan? I gather so from your post...
    What about places like Aquadilla and Arecibo?

    Ideally I would like to go a bit out of the crowded areas for nice surfing, but be close enough to the salsa venues. Most of the good surfing is on the North coast. NW and East coasts are OK too... Or maybe I must split it up - few days on the coast, few days in San Juan?

    2) Are the San Juan salsa venues better in the week of better over the week-end?

    3) Is it safe there? Many of the surf reports warn against theft and even violence, angry locals??

    The nyboricua web site has such nice PR photos - I want to go immediately! Actually, November is very good surf season... I'll be dead tired surf all day, dance all night!

    4) What times roughly are the salsa events - early evening, before midnight or after midnight only?

    5) If you don't mind me exploiting your PR nkowledge, can you recommend good clean more upmarket places to stay?

    Thanks for all the info so far!!
  19. SurfSalsa,

    Thanks! You are right, I would deserve some commission for that :D
    I am like your wife, I love the more elegant places where people dress up a little and you can see good and elegant dancing.

    That will be your best bet. The good dances are all in San Juan and the metropolotan area, as well as the dance places and discotheques. However, PR is not that big. It is no problem to go back and forth. From San Juan to Arecibo it takes you a good hour. During the week there is not that much salsa and dancing going on, so if I were you I would do my surfing during the week and go back to SJ for the weekend. Just see what is going on the weekend and make your plans according to that. There is close to no salsa in Aguadilla and Arecibo, more Merengue and Reggaeton.

    However, check the fiestas patronales in the area where you will be, maybe you can see a good life band at night close by during the week, wouldn't that be the "icing on the cake" after a nice surfing day? I see that the only fiestas patronales on the whole island in November are in Aguadilla! There you go!

    The surfing in that area is probably on Crashboat Beach, in Rincón and those places. We have a friend in Arecibo who is a diving instructor and has a diving shop. She knows all the divers and probably also the surfers in the country. She also speaks English. If you want more info on that, I could put you in contact with her.

    As I said, over the weekend. Check the links that I gave you. You can subscribe to the newsletter at www.abailarsalsa.tk, then you get it automatically and you know what is going on before you go on your trip. But when in Puerto Rico, you have to check the other sources because a lot of things are announced at very short notice, 1 week or only a few days ahead (listen to Zeta 93, a good salsa station).

    Angry locals? I find the locals friendly and helpful like in all Latin American countries. I haven't met any angry locals that I can remember, I have been to PR six times. On the dance floor be polite and do not step on everybody, maintain your dance space, normal dance etiquette. That is a thing that eventually could get them angry. I say that without knowing how rude or polite people in the salsa scene are in your country. Here in Germany they can be pretty rude and they could get into problems when behaving the same way in PR. On the beach watch your stuff, lock your car, don't leave valuables in the car or lock them out of sight. I assume you have to do the same thing in your country. It can be dangerous from what I hear sometimes, similar to the US, more dangerous than Europe. But we have never had any bad incidents. When you drive around at night, lock your car doors. There was an unwritten law that you should not stop at red lights during the night in San Juan because of assaults and robberies (you had to watch traffic and then could drive on) but they suspended that law last year, now you have to stop. Like everywhere, you have to watch out.

    They start early. When there are live bands and they say the doors open at 7:00 or 8:00, it is best to be there then to get a table. The normal disco places start around 9:00 or 10:00.

    For hotels and accomodations check http://escape.topuertorico.com/tour/lodmain.shtml and www.gotopuertorico.com/, click on "Visiting Puerto Rico". I cannot give you any recommendations since we always stay with relatives, my husband is from PR.

    If you go to La Parguera (south west coast), the Parador Villa Parguera is very nice, see http://www.villaparguera.net/. We went there for a wedding last September.

    Hope this helps.

    Marita
  20. SurfSalsa

    SurfSalsa New Member

    Hi Marita - salsera alemana suprema and honarary ambassador for Puerto Rico!

    You are a wonderful source of information - much appreciated!!
    (Even your surf spot knowledge is good - I've read about Rincon and Crash Boats - that's the area I'm looking at, yes!!)

    I like your suggestion to surf the week (with the fiestas patronales in Aguadilla if it's in the same time-frame :lol: ) and then elegant salsa-ing in San Juan the week-end!

    Oops, another question, very important for planning: by week-end do you mean Friday & Saturday, or something like Thursday to Sunday? (Like in SW France, we found the best party nights were on Sunday nights...)

    I will definitely get your diving friend's name closer to the time; if we do PR before the cruise I would want to sell my surf stuff there before I go, so I don't have to drag it with; and on all the islands I've been there's generally a need for equipment... so she could put me in touch with some locals (who may also show me the "secret spots"!)

    Martin

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