Getting Your Groove on in Havana

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Having just returned from my second trip to Havana, I can certainly attest to its beauty from Havana Vieja (pictured in this post) to its 1950’s cars to its culture and people. On each of my travels,  I try to experience a culture through its food while still keeping active by walking the city or better yet dancing off the calories. On my recent visit to Cuba, I enjoyed the sounds of Eliades Ochoa, Compay Segundo, VanVan, Bamboleo, y más. In preparation for my trip, I asked a peer and travel writer, Lelo, to share her favorite dance clubs in Havana. As they say in Spanish, llévatelo (Take it away)!

Havana is full of old world charm and flavor. With its cobblestone streets, old vintage cars and romantic Spanish architecture, it is like stepping back in time. Tall palms sway in the tropical Caribbean breezes as tourists wander about taking in the colorful local culture.

Cuba is the Caribbean’s largest island, and has long been a favourite tourist destination. No trip to Cuba can be complete without a visit to Havana, one of the world’s most famous cities. The lack of modern infrastructure only adds to the charm of the city.

While in Havana, wander into the outdoor markets and admire the beautiful local art work at great prices. Enjoy lunch on a rooftop terrace and admire the view of the harbour while dining on spicy Cuban creole food. Sip on a Mojito and day dream about the gangsters and starlets that loved to take gambling vacations here in the roaring twenties.

If you are a beach lover, you can even take a shuttle bus from the Hotel Inglaterra to the sea side for an afternoon by the sparkling Caribbean. But once the stars come out, it is time to hit the clubs and learn the Latin dances.

Latin dances, like the Cha Cha, Salsa, Rumba and Samba are fast-paced and sensuous with lots of hip action. They are entertaining to watch and even more fun to participate in. In fact, they also make fantastic exercise moves. Many personal trainers use them in their routines to help their clients trim down and tone up.

While in Havana, be sure to check out one, two or more of the many dance clubs. Take the steps you learn back home with you. Dancing in Havana will teach you an exciting new way to have fun while staying fit. Following are six great clubs for enjoying the nightlife and dancing in Havana.

Club Salseando Chevere

Club Salseando Chevere is one of the newest clubs for the Salsa scene in Havana. Here you can just watch the professionals or join in on the fun with their interactive show. They have instructors that will teach you the Salsa in no time. They have great music, both live and via a D.J. Enjoy food and drinks here as well. They serve sangria, mojitos, Cuban libre, beer and more.

La Casa Del Son

La Casa Del Son is located in the heart of Havana in a lovingly renovated colonial house that dates back to 1715. They specialize in teaching tourists to learn all the traditional Latin dances. Learn the Son, Salsa, Rumba and Folklore. They have great music, great food, and they are said to have the best mojitos in town made from the freshest ingredients.

Tropicana

Book a night at Havana’s famous Tropicana club for an unforgettable experience. Get inspired to dance the night away by first watching the fabulous cabaret show. Then slip into the adjoining Acros de Crital and practice the dance steps you have learned from the performers.

Cafe Hotel Del Florida

The lobby of the Hotel Del Florida is a cozy venue to mix with the locals and tourists. The locals love to teach their craft of Latin dance to visitors. The music here is practically nonstop as the DJ cranks out music with a good dancing tempo between the sets of a local Salsa group. There is usually more action here between Thursdays and Saturdays.

La Cecelia

A beautiful, tropical outdoor setting makes La Cecilia a special dance venue. Recently remodelled, the club has hosted many premier salsa groups like Manolito Simonet, Paulito FG and Pupi. The roomy dance floor is never over-crowed, giving plenty of room to sashay with the Salsa, Rumba and Samba. There will be locals and employees ready and willing to help you learn how.

Salon Rojo

The Salon Rojo likely has the biggest variety of entertainment of all the clubs. Reopening in 2003, they have been featuring cabaret, comedy, disco and live music since then. Los Van Van has appeared here several times. It is a good place to see a big name group in an intimate atmosphere. Dance the night away all the way into four o’clock in the morning.

Latin dances are probably the world’s favourite dance form. Don’t miss the chance to go dancing in Havana on your Cuban vacation and if you need somewhere to stay check out Hostelbookers.com.

**Guest post provided by Lela,  a travel writer for Hostelbookers, which provides chic and affordable hotels in Havana, Cuba. Photo Credits: DarkRoomIllusions.

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