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Salsa in Cuba!

Nights: 10 nights

Dates: 30/05/2016 to 09/06/2016

Holiday Code: SAL1685

from 899 GBP

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or, call us now on +44 (0)20 7099 4816


Unique Features

Havana with Club Dance Holidays is a total immersion in the uniquely Cuban culture. Staying in friendly local casas (which are all hand-picked by us) you will discover a world of music and dance that is truly authentic, so often missed by tourists visiting the country. Cuba is changing rapidly and we aim to provide this insight with an authentic as possible trip. See Cuba now before it changes!

There is also an option of staying in the Hotel Sevilla, a supplement will apply.

All of our team on the ground are Cuban or have family in Cuba including Daylin, Rowena, Jimmy, Michel and the rest of the dance team.  

Your stay in Havana will include daily dance classes in our private studio with Daylin and the Cuban dance team, covering all types of Cuban popular dance. 
 
Your time in Havana will include optional nights out to the hottest salsa clubs with our Cuban dancers and the opportunity to immerse yourself in a variety of cultural experiences. Previous holidays have included trips to the world famous ballet at the Grand Theatre, visits to one of Havana's full time performing arts schools (instituto superior del arte), a unique insight into the rehearsal process of one of Havana's famous contemporary companies and a visit to the infamous recording studios EGREM where famous bands such as the Afro Cuban All Stars and musicians such as Compay Segundo have left their mark.
 
You will stay 3 nights in friendly local casa in Santa Clara. There will be options for exciting excursions in this area. Your host Rowena will tell you the details on arrival.

There are lots of Cuba salsa trips on the market but don't forget that with us you're in safe hands - we're fully ATOL bonded and our staff has a combined travel industry experience of over 50 years.
 

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  • A full salsa  syllabus with specialist workshops (fifteen hours - see Classes and Workshops)

  • Optional programme of nights out with our team of Cuban dancers.

  • Unique itinerary elements for example a Cuban house party, watching famous bands rehearse, Afro Cuban Dance performances with Conjunto Folklorico and more

  • Full hosting by Rowena and our team on the ground who are experts in salsa and in Cuba

  • Meet and Greet upon arrival in Havana and return hotel transfers (based on Virgin Atlantic flight times - see Flight & Transfer section for more details)

  • 7 nights' accommodation in local casas staying with Cuban families in Havana - all hand picked by us

  • 3 nights accommodation in local casas in Santa Clara

  • A pick and choose itinerary including parties, soirees, restaurants, nights out dancing and optional extra activities

  • A pre-departure pack containing information on where to eat, where to party, tourist spots and attractions for independent sight-seeing  

  • Option of staying in hotel Seville in Havana ( ask us for the supplement )

Havana, the first grand city built by Europeans in the New World, retains the grandeur and charm of a history that spans nearly 500 years. When New York was still a collection of huts Havana was a cosmopolitan city with palaces and squares, with a high society already famous for its dances.

Admire the famous Cathedral in Old Havana built in 1748. Visit the Palacio de los Capitaines Generales, the residence of the Spanish Captain General who ruled Cuba from 1791-1898 and the Castillo Real de la Fuerza, built between 1558-77, one of the oldest surviving colonial fortresses in the Americas and home to Giralda, the symbol of Cuba, as seen on the label of Havana Club rum.

See the Capitolio Nacional, a huge marble building modelled on the Capitol building in Washington and visit the Museo de la Revolucion, formerly the presidential palace. Wander along El Malecon, the famous waterfront of Havana. Pay a literary pilgrimage to the Hotel Ambos Mundos where Ernest Hemingway wrote the novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls".

When you're cultured out stroll along the Malecon and sample an ice cream from the famous Coppelia ice cream parlour, watch the strutting peacocks in the Hotel Nacional's garden, drink a mojito in La bodeguita and a daiquiri in La Floridita and take a cab ride in a 1950s Cadillac. And, of course, dance salsa. Visit Havana's nightclubs to learn to dance like a Cuban, with uninhibited passion.

As Graham Greene said of Havana "Anything is possible".

Casa particular in Havana* (Room only) (Included) 

A wonderful way to experience the "real" Cuba, staying in the home of a Cuban family. We use Cuban homes in convenient locations and of a good standard and we highly recommend this option to really immerse yourself in daily Cuban life. All "Casas"  have clean and comfortable double accommodation with private facilities. 

Sevilla**** (Bed & Breakfast) (Upgrade) 

Hotel Sevilla****  is one of the most famous hotels in Havana. This elegant old colonial hotel, recently refurbished, has been a favourite with gangsters like Al Capone. It has a beautiful swimming pool, and the ninth floor has a spectacular ballroom overlooking the sea, the Capital Building and Old Habana and is now used as the restaurant. Rooms all have en suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, telephone, radio, satellite TV, safe and fridge.

Havana with Club Dance Holidays is a total immersion in the uniquely Cuban culture. Staying in friendly local casas (which are all hand-picked by us) you will discover a world of music and dance that is truly authentic, so often missed by tourists visiting the country. Cuba is changing rapidly and we aim to provide this insight with an authentic as possible trip. See Cuba now before it changes!

There is also an option of staying in the Hotel Sevilla, a supplement will apply.

All of our team on the ground are Cuban or have family in Cuba including Daylin, Rowena, Jimmy, Michel and the rest of the dance team.  

Your stay in Havana will include daily dance classes in our private studio with Daylin and the Cuban dance team, covering all types of Cuban popular dance. 
 
Your time in Havana will include optional nights out to the hottest salsa clubs with our Cuban dancers and the opportunity to immerse yourself in a variety of cultural experiences. Previous holidays have included trips to the world famous ballet at the Grand Theatre, visits to one of Havana's full time performing arts schools (instituto superior del arte), a unique insight into the rehearsal process of one of Havana's famous contemporary companies and a visit to the infamous recording studios EGREM where famous bands such as the Afro Cuban All Stars and musicians such as Compay Segundo have left their mark.
 
You will stay 3 nights in friendly local casa in Santa Clara. There will be options for exciting excursions in this area. Your host Rowena will tell you the details on arrival.

There are lots of Cuba salsa trips on the market but don't forget that with us you're in safe hands - we're fully ATOL bonded and our staff has a combined travel industry experience of over 50 years.
 

"I feel a warning should be given to those looking at the holiday stating they will be very depressed by the end. I had such a good time a week later and I am still not over the fact I have had to return to cold England and work! Desperately want to return".

"Our Salsa in Havana holiday was the best we have had in a very long time! I never expected it to be as wonderful as it was. Rowena was amazing - lively, friendly, fun, knowledgeable of the local customs, and full of interesting plans and smart suggestions. I told her I am going to call this trip "Rowena takes her friends to Havana" because that is what it felt like."

"The dance teachers were great. Talented, professional, friendly, and endlessly patient with beginners like my husband and I. We had a blast in the clubs with them--the head teacher Alexis made sure we had fun memories that will last a long time."

"Our fellow tour-goers were fantastic--a fun, congenial and caring bunch. We enjoyed each other's company even outside the organised classes and clubbing, and now we are keeping in touch on Facebook."

"I had such a good time a week later and I am still not over the fact I have had to return to cold England and work! Desperately want to return".

"We were able to see so many different aspects of Cuba that as a sole tourist we would never have seen! Fantastic!"

"It was a brilliant experience, especially since we had the chance to go out with Cubans".

"Real eye-opening experience on Cuban society and culture."

"I cannot think of a better introduction to Cuban culture, music and dance!"
 

If you love to have a good time and enjoy meeting new people in the setting of a fascinating, friendly country with year-round sunshine then yes!

Everyone should visit Cuba at least once and you haven't danced salsa until you've danced salsa in Havana. Our team of Cuban dancers animate your entire trip and we guarantee that once you visit Cuba with us you'll be hooked. Our salsa in Cuba holidays are about so much more than just dance classes; along with our team we make sure you experience the REAL Cuba and immerse yourself in Havana's rhythm.

Our Cuban salsa holidays are suitable for ALL levels, from complete beginners to advanced dancers. Our expert teachers will ensure you get the most out of your classes and tailor their teaching to you.

Cuba is an adventure and with us you're in safe hands; unlike many salsa holiday operators we're fully ATOL bonded with over 50 years' combined travel industry experience amongst our team, almost all of whom have visited Cuba multiple times.

Give us a call if you have any questions on salsa in Cuba - we'll be happy to talk about our favourite subject.

Sample Itinerary
This is a provisional itinerary aiming to give you an idea of what your holiday will look like. There will be some elements which will change: (OP) indicates an optional extra for which a charge will be made in advance.

DAY 1
Arrival and transfer to your Casa for a 7-night stay
Evening - Welcome meeting with Rowena, before a group dinner (payable locally) and the option to hit the clubs, jet lag permitting!


DAY 2
Morning - Overview of the week. First 3 hour salsa session.
Afternoon - Walking tour of Old Havana including a cold chocolate drink at the Museo de Chocolate
Evening - Night out with our team of Cuban dancers


DAY 3
Morning - Salsa lessons at the studios (3 hours)
Afternoon - Visit the Museo de Ron (rum) followed by an afternoon spent browsing at Old Havana's new covered market with its huge art collection and gift stalls
Evening - (OP) Dinner and cabaret at the Parisienne in the Hotel Nacional followed by dancing at one of Old Havana's salsa OR jazz clubs


DAY 4
Morning - Salsa lessons at the studios (3 hours)
Afternoon - take in a ballet performance at Havana's Teatro Nacional (subject to schedule.)
Evening - Night out to watch Toto perform with Clave y Gaganco (subject to schedule)


DAY 5
Morning - Salsa lessons at the studios including a son workshop (3 hours)
Afternoon - Visit the Egrem Studios in Old Havana to watch a son band perform (subject to schedule)
Evening - Cuban house party with food and drink flowing - dance the night away in the home of our Cuban friends


DAY 6
Morning - Salsa lessons at the studios (3 hours)
Afternoon - Trip to watch one of Cuba's dance companies rehearse OR take in a matinee performance at Palenque restaurant (OP)

Evening - Dinner at La Roca restaurant (OP)


DAY 7 
Morning - Visit La Associacion Yoruba in Havana Vieja to watch Afro Cuban dance performances
Evening night out

DAY 8

Transfer to Santa Clara for 3 nights stay

DAY 9 and 10

Excursions (optional extras) 

DAY 11

Transfer to Havan for fly back home
 

Classes and Teachers: Over the course of your holiday you will receive at least fifteen hours of salsa tuition from our team of professional dancers. We look for teachers who are charismatic and entertaining and who will teach you to dance with flair. And as these are much more than just teachers, because they will be accompanying you at night, we also select them for their personality and, quite frankly, physical attractiveness.

Each Cuba holiday offers at least one unique workshop or class and this will be complemented with a visit to a corresponding performance or party. Schedule will be announced soon but may include a Rumba workshop with Toto from Clave y Guaganco followed by an exclusive trip to see the band rehearse or a son workshop followed by a live performance at the Egrem Studios.

Dance Levels: The dance teachers will be able to advise you on the first day of classes and suggest the level that is most appropriate to your ability and experience.

Beginners will learn enough moves to enjoy themselves dancing with the Cubans in local nightclubs. Intermediate and Advanced dancers will receive expert tuition on movement and technique designed to improve their style and will come home with some great new moves and loads of fluid Cuban style.

Syllabus: We have recently completely refreshed the salsa syllabus we teach in order to make it more comprehensive. If this is your second trip to Cuba we are confident that you will find a lot of new material in this syllabus. If it´s your first time you will find this course entirely comprehensive. You will cover:-

Cuban music and how the rhythms are constructed
Rumba
Son
Mambo
Cha Cha cha - slow mambo tempo
Reggaeton (popular music from Puerto Rico - a blend of salsa, meregue and reggae and currently very fashionable
How Cuban salsa differs from LA / New York style which you may have encountered already.
Tembleque and Cuban body movement
Rueda (Cuban Wheel)
Cha Cha Cha 
 

In Havana you will be taught by a team of professional  Cuban instructors. 

Over the course of your holiday you will receive over fifteen hours of salsa tuition taught by our team, who will be a consistent presence throughout the two weeks. We look for teachers who are charismatic and entertaining and who will teach you to dance with flair. And as these are much more than just teachers, because they will be accompanying you at night, we also select them for their personality and, quite frankly, physical attractiveness.

Daylin and the Cuban team (who have professional dance training) will introduce you to Cuban Salsa and thus introduce you to life in Cuba – a life which pulsates with energy, wildness and sensuality. 
 

     

Please remember that Cuba is a poor country. Sometimes the food is plain and simple, and there is a limited selection of dishes by European standards. This is just one of the unavoidable aspects of being in Cuba. Although Cuban food can sometimes be uninspiring we think that you will usually be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food you get. We shall naturally do our best to ensure that the restaurants we take you to serve food of an acceptable quality.

The quality of the food may vary but the food is generally cheap and wholesome, with lots of rice and beans, fried fish and plantains. A typical Cuban menu might include Frijoles (a kind of stew with beans and ham), rice and black beans (moros y cristianos), cucumbers and tomatoes, cassava or malanga (local root vegetables), roast pork, fried chicken, plantains, corn fritters, bread, fried fish, pizza, followed by coconut pudding or ice cream.

Vegetarians: Vegetarianism is not understood in Cuba, where meat is a rare treat. So please be patient with locals who do not understand your needs. Please be aware that vegetarian choices can sometimes be very limited. On the other hand the staple diet of Cubans includes a lot of beans, rice and plantains, all suitable for vegetarians.

 

In addition to your holiday we also offer you a variety of optional extras to make your holiday even richer and add some local colour. You can buy your optional extras at the welcome meeting at the beginning of your Holiday.

These are the optional extras that we anticipate running from Havana – actual details and prices will be confirmed on arrival. Some may require minimum numbers
 
 

 


 

On Arrival: You will receive a detailed itinerary and any other important information, including an overview of the local sights, recommended restaurants and other helpful tips.

Club Dance Holidays Host:  Your holiday tour host is there to make your holiday as enjoyable as possible. Club Dance Holidays Tour Hosts are a cut above your typical Holiday Rep with a lightness of touch that enables you to get the best out of your holiday without being in the least bit interfering. We make sure you get the best out of the destination even though you are there for a relatively short time and we do this through our local knowledge and our knowledge of dance.

Club Dance Holidays Tour Hosts normally offer much more of themselves than you would expect including making sure your nights are sociable and fun often well into the small hours if that is your whim. During the daytime the level of participation and presence of Club Dance Holidays tour hosts varies according to the nature of each holiday and its destination. Your Tour Host for this holiday is Rowena.

Overview of the Week and Welcome Drink: At the beginning of your holiday there is an Overview of the Week where  Rowena will tell you about all details of your holiday and answer any questions you might have. At the Overview of the Week you can buy your optional extras.

A few tips for the new traveller to Cuba.

The Cuba Factor: Be aware that Cuba is a place where things do not always go according to plan. Sometimes the most carefully constructed plans just don’t happen. At other times new and exciting opportunities arise to, for instance, see a famous Cuban band playing live, or to experience some exciting aspect of life in Cuba that no one could have possibly predicted. Turn every problem into an opportunity and you will experience the best of Cuba.

Making friends with the locals and people not on the holiday: Cuba is a great place to make friends with the locals, and should you do so and would like them to come along to the activities organised by us, then just ask your Tour Host and except for the dance classes and provided you pay their way there should not be a problem. However, we discourage Non-Cubans who have not paid for the holiday from coming out with us more than once or from joining in activities arranged specially for the group. We would be grateful for your assistance and cooperation is this respect.

Buying drinks and meals for Cubans: Often Cubans will ask you to buy them a drink or food. They are often unable to afford to buy their own. At your own discretion you may wish to occasionally buy drinks and or a meal for the Cuban friends that you make. This is usually only a matter of a few dollars and is another feature of the peculiar circumstances that prevail in Cuba.

Attention in public places: Visitors from the West should be aware that they are likely to get a much higher level of physical attention in Cuba than they are used to back home. This applies to men as well as women! In nightclubs, Cubans dance close and often in a very sensual way. Sometimes they may try to push their luck. This is always done with a smile, is usually just playful and can be great fun. You should exercise common sense and, if you find that you are feeling hassled you should be firm and disengage from your partner with a polite and friendly smile. One of the team will normally be on hand to provide moral support, or escape, should you need it!

Keeping your valuables safe: Although crime rates in Cuba are very low, it is a poor country and you represent to them a rich foreign tourist whose pockets are stuffed with unimaginable wealth. So please be careful. Our advice is to leave expensive jewellery and unnecessary valuables at home. It is best not to put temptation in peoples’ way.  Do not leave your luggage unattended at any time and ensure that there is some way of locking or padlocking your suitcase or travel bag. When travelling we suggest that you keep your passport, travellers cheques, money and other important valuables about your person, in secure money belts or pockets. 

 

The Cuban dance scene: Dance and music penetrates much of Cuba life. Cubans are surrounded in their daily life by an eclectic mix music of Son, Rumba, Afrocuban, Danzon, Cha Cha Cha, Dancehall, Rap and Hip Hop. The dance scene is fantastic fun, playful and provocative. Partners dance close and the style is creative and carefree. The latest dance craze is 'Tembleke' which is a rapid, sassy body movement involving the shoulders, chest, torso and hips danced solo at your partner.

Clubs and venues in Havana: Using the inside information from Rowena and our Cuban teaching team, we will take you to the most happening venues. These may include concerts of world famous Salsa bands (such as Los Van Van), exclusive performances by some of our famous Cuban friends, a real Cuban house party, Salsa-ing by the sea just across from the Malecon, a Salsa Matinee (hot salsa and lots of Rueda between 4.30pm and 10pm! - the Cubans come here after work), traditional 'Casas de las Trovas' where you can dance on the balcony and hot late night venues (from 2.30am onwards) where you will find the DJs mixing Salsa with Hip Hop and rap. 

Drinks at Clubs vary in price depending on which club you go to and the time of day you attend. For example, Casa De La Musica bar prices are cheaper at Matinee shows and more expensive in the evening.

Average club drink prices

Cocktails 3 - 4 CUCs
Soft drinks and beer 1 - 3 CUCs
Bottle of rum 12 - 20 CUCs

Evening meals

Budget restaurant 8 - 12 CUC
More upmarket restaurant 12 - 20 CUC



 

Over the course of your holiday you will receive over fifteen hours of salsa tuition from our team of professional dancers. This will include specialist workshops which will be complemented by evening and afternoon activities so that you not only learn new skills, you understand the origin and meaning surrounding the music and dance.

The dance teachers will be able to advise you on the first day of classes and suggest the level that is most appropriate to your ability and experience.

Beginners will learn enough moves to enjoy themselves dancing with the Cubans in local nightclubs. Intermediate and advanced dancers will receive expert tuition on movement and technique designed to improve their style and will come home with some great new moves and loads of fluid Cuban style.

 

Transfers:  We include meet and greet and an airport transfer for everyone arriving on the standard holiday date, based on Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick. 

Virgin Atlantic flight arrives in Havana at 16:55 on Monday 30th May and departs at 17:45 on Thursday 09th June.

 

***Please note that this holiday is without flights. You would need to book your own flight to Havana. The Virgin Atlantic flight times are purely informative for transfers between the airport to your accommodation***

Making your own way there: For those whose flights don't coincide with our Airport coach transfer, you can make your own way to Havana. The distance between the José Martí International Airport and the city of Havana is approximately 20 km (12 miles).

There are no public buses that pass by the airport en route to Havana, so you must either take a personal taxi or tourist bus. Taxis charge approximately 25 CUC, and the tourist bus charges approximately 15 CUC. Journey time: approx 30 minutes.

Books on Cuba Of the books we have read about Cuba or set in Cuba these are the ones we would recommend:

"Enduring Cuba" by Zoe Bran - Honest and inquisitive look into Cuban life. “Land of Miracles” by Stephen Smith – An excellent recent travel book written about Cuba, witty clever and informative. Strongly recommended. “Waking up in Cuba” by Steven Foehr – An honest, entertaining account of what you can expect to find in Cuba. Especially informative about the music and cultural history. “Cuba” - The Lonely Planet Guide by David Stanley - One of the most detailed guide books on Cuba.

The Dual Economy: Cuba’s economy has been distorted by the American blockade and by the withdrawal of subsidies by the former Soviet Union.  There are two economies running side by side in Cuba. One is in Cuban pesos and is for Cubans. The other is in CUC, Convertible Cuban Pesos and is for tourists.  The dual economy is to cater for the difference between the average Cuban wage and the wage that a visiting tourist will earn back home. It’s worth bearing in mind that the average monthly wage of a Cuban is $12 - $15.   In a nightclub a tourist might be asked to pay between $5 - $20.  A Cuban will pay 30 pesos which is about 600 times less. The concept of a dual economy may seem strange to you but to Cubans it is as natural as your economy is to you.  

Budgeting for your holiday: Here are some guidelines on prices, to help you do your own calculations.

Drinks at Clubs vary in price depending on which club you go to and the time of day you attend. For example, Casa De La Musica bar prices are cheaper at Matinee shows and more expensive in the evening.

Average club drink prices

Cocktails 3 - 4 CUCs
Soft drinks and beer 1 - 3 CUCs
Bottle of rum 12 - 20 CUCs

Evening meals

Budget restaurant 8 - 12 CUC
More upmarket restaurant 12 - 20 CUC

Tipping per day 3 - 4 CUCs


Gifts for Cubans: Cuba is without many of the essential things that we take for granted. Things that are particularly difficult to get hold in Cuba include toiletries (shampoo, moisturiser, razors, soap, toothpaste, etc), perfumes and aftershaves, pens and paper, books in English or Spanish, clothes, and shoes. In the past some visitors have taken small gifts to give to the Cubans they meet or have left some of their own things behind them when they travel back to the UK.

Passports: These must be valid for at least six months beyond the length of stay. Please check your passport now.

Tourist Visa Card:  You require a Tourist Visa Card to enter Cuba. We as a tour operator can issue Tourist Visa Cards to our clients who come from Britain, Australia, Canada, USA, other EU countries and Japan.  (If you live in another part of the world, please arrange your own visa to enter Cuba).  Cuban Tourist Visa Cards are valid for one single trip of up to 30 days, although the stay can be extended in Cuba. The card must be bought in the country where the trip has been arranged (through us!). All passengers must hold tickets and other documentation required for their onward or return journey unless holding special annotation issued by a Cuban Consulate. You will be sent your Cuban Tourist Visa Card with your tickets a few days before you go.  You will need to keep your Tourist Visa Card safe as you will need it to get in to Cuba and to get back out of the country.  So look after it carefully during your trip.

Health and Fitness: There are no particular health requirements for a dance holiday. However you should be able to dance for at least two hours a day in order to be able to enjoy the dance classes. Please inform us if you have any medical conditions that we need to be aware of.

Luggage Labels and Lost Luggage: We strongly recommend that you secure your luggage before flying by all means possible – tape and locks. You should attach large and clear labels to your luggage with your name, flight number and destination. Do not put travellers cheques, jewellery or money in your suitcase. In the unlikely event that your luggage is lost during the journey you need to independently take the matter up directly with the airline at the airport in Havana.

Vaccinations: We are informed by the Cuban Embassy that no special vaccinations are required for travel to Cuba. However, the following vaccinations are recommended by NHS Direct: tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A, polio, diphtheria, BCG and hepatitis B. Please consult your own GP in respect of which vaccinations you should have.

Insurance: This is a condition of booking please refer to the information supplement for details.  

Travel Documents: You receive these (which include a detailed Information Pack and your Cuban Tourist Visa Card) about 10 days before the Holiday.We also confirm the address and phone number of the hotel and the emergency contact numbers.

Weather: The Cuban climate is mild subtropical. East to west oriented the island receives plenty of sunshine, warm temperatures and refreshing sea breezes.

No wonder that Columbus thought that he had discovered the earthly paradise!  Don't forget that humidity is relatively high - in august it can be at 80%

Average Temperatures:        

Jan         16/25

Feb        16/26

March   17/27

April      19/29

May       21/30

June       22/31

July        22/31

Aug       22/31

Sept       22/30    

Oct        17/27

Nov       17/27

Dec        17/27