It is a good idea to print this information, and bring it with you on the trip.
Most people from Europe choose to travel with Air France via Paris, or KLM via Amsterdam, as it often is the cheapest. Aeroflot is also ok and cheap, but there is a lot of transit time in Moscow.
Remember that the authorities are strict and don’t allow you to bring liquids, tooth paste, deodorants and a like, in your carry on. If you need it for your flight, you can buy it in the tax-free shop. Please notice, there is a long way from one end to another in the airport, if you travel through Paris.
It is a long travel to Cuba, and you have to be prepared to maybe wait a few hours, to get your luggage in Havana. Be aware that it may take a long time, to get through the passport control in Havana as well. The Cubans are not known for their quickness. Bring some weather from the plain. There will be some waiting for your luggage to arrive.
You have to pay around 30 CUC for a taxi to the hotel. The participants at the course usually share the expense, if they are on the same flight.
You have to exchange to CUC in the airport, but make sure it is only for the first few days, as the exchange rate is not very good at the airport.
Make sure to have your papers with travel insurance ready if the ask, when you arrive, after you have get thru the passport control.
Everyone gets single rooms, unless you ask for a double room, and have someone to share with. The rooms are being assigned when you arrive, however the hotel needs your passport to check you in. All the rooms have a safety box.
The first night you can get dinner, it is part of your reservation, a room plus breakfast and dinner.
The buffet is served between 19.00 and 22.00, every night and Breakfast is served from 7.00 to 10.00 in the restaurant.
Our guide will ready in the lobby, to help you: Sunday morning at 10.30 and Monday morning at 8.30, if anyone need help to change rooms or anything else. This is also, when you need to pay the extra 100 euro fee for the activities.
The hotel is located in a quite area. It is about 10 minutes by car to old Havana and only 5 minutes in car from a small beach by the hotel Comodor. Bring your bathing suit, as there is a pool at the hotel, and we usually take a trip to the big Santa Maria beach, in the weekends.
You are allowed to bring friends to the hotel. Cubans are only allowed at the hotel, if they have an errand (to visit you). Cubans are not allowed in the rooms, unless they are checked in to a room at the hotel.
Laundry can be delivered to the staff in bags, and they will wash it for you, you have to pay for it however. There is internet at the hotel, which works, although it is slow. It costs 1 CUC an hour, and you can by internet cards in the reception.
Welcome and info meeting, will be Monday morning. Everyone meets in the café of the hotel at 9.00.
• 1 CUC = ca. 7 DKK (0,9 euros)
You can’t exchange to Cuban dollars convertibles CUC (also known as pesos convertibles from your country). Make sure not to confuse CUC, with the local pesos, which the Cubans use in the rationing stores, but foreigners can’t use it for a lot, only to by some fruits and stuff from the local marked. The Cuban dollar (CUC) is following the rate of the American Dollar. Anywhere there is referenced to dollars, it is CUC. You can exchange few CUC in to pesos Cubanos and use the local currency to buy fruit, pizza, water and alike, in local shops around the city.
At http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/, you can see the exchange rate of both the local pesos and CUC.
We encourage everybody to bring euros from their home country. Euros is not usable in Cuba, but can be exchanged to CUC. You can exchange in the airport at the arrival hall, but do only change a bit, because the bank, where they have this small exchange houses, is 5 minutes of walk from the hotel. DO NOT try at exchange on the streets!
You can use a VISA card to withdraw in ATMs, but remember, you pay a fee each time. However you can only withdraw approximately 200 CUC daily, depending on the rate. It is an advantage to bring euros from home. You cannot use, American express and MasterCard in Cuba.
It is difficult to determine, how much you will need for pocket money. We estimate approximately 4000 DKK (550 euros). Before traveling, we recommend you exchange your pocket money into euros. But there is not much to buy in Cuba, except for CDs, rum, cigars and art. However, there is always something happening, and if you want to go out to a music event, you will have to pay an entrance fee.
Vaccinations and mosquitos
It is a god idea to be vaccinated against tetanus and hepatitis A. Most people traveling a lot, already is vaccinated for this. A good idea is also to bring some mosquito repellent form home. It is hard to find in Cuba, and there can be mosquito in the late morning, and in the afternoon. There is no mosquito net in the rooms. Remember your medicine, if you use anything special, as it can be very expensive in Cuba.
If you have any clothes, teddy bears, toys etc., which you do not need anymore, and you have room for in your suitcase, please bring it with you to Cuba. The Cubans will be thrilled to take it. Anything can be used in Cuba.
The Cuban are very thankful people, and have limited access to buy stuff like pens, lighters, perfume and clothes. Therefore, we recommend bringing such stuff, as gifts.
This is what it is all about. The classes take place at the hotel. You will be divided into two or three groups, and the levels will be, beginners, intermediate, and advanced. One of the groups will dance indoor, while the other group will dance outside under the rouge. The first day the instructors use 30 min. to figuring out which level you will dance with, and making sure you will get into the right group.
Everyone gets their own Cuban dance partner, but the classes will be in groups, which are run by two instructors. There will be an English dancer and translator with every group, who will translate from Spanish to English, when needed, but almost all the instructors, speaks some English. Don’t be surprised if your dance partner does not talk good English. Our instructors and assistant instructors are good at showing the moves slowly, but they might not be as pedagogical, as you are used to from your country. They have a different way of educating, but it works. As we say, you will learn a lot and get value for money.
All our dancers are very nice and talented dancers.
If the chemistry between a participant and their dance partner is very bad, we will find a new dance partner, but you have to let the guide know the first day. Please be prepared, try to understand, and you will get a cultural experience and get to know the local mentality and energy, which is very exciting. We always make sure to get tall male dance partners for the tall women. Men must expect their dance partner, to be a bit shorter than themselves because in Cuba most of the female dancers are not tall.
Every day starts with an info meeting, at 9.15 AM sharp, which EVERYONE has to be part of.
At 9.30 the warm up class starts, that include other dance styles, as Son and Rumba. Following will be two hours of Salsa and Rueda de Casino, with a 20 minutes break in between, so you can get something to eat. It is a long time to dance, so it will be a good idea to bring soft shoes, like dance sneakers. The floor you will be dancing on, is a little hard. You will be sweating a lot doing the classes, so you will need a lot of shirts. We have no rules against dancing in shorts or long pants. Workout clothes are recommended.
Trips and nightlife
On the first day of the course, we will take you on a trip to Havana Vieja, which is the old Havana that is included in the activity fee.
On the second day in the afternoon, we go to casa de la musica a nice music place, and tougher with all the Cubans dancers, we will enjoy a Salsa concert and dance.
We often go out in the late afternoon and not in the evening, with a lot of great bands often playing.
You will have possibilities for other trips, after your wishes, as well. This way, you will not be as tired, when the dance starts next morning. If you want to go to a dance show or cabaret show (beautiful feather covered headdress and costumes), be aware, it will not be cheap. It will be approximately 40 CUC. at Cabaret Paricien and 80 CUC at Tropicana.
We usually go to Rumba and folklorist places in the weekends. In the weekends, we will perhaps also go and watch some of the best groups play at night. In Cuba, there is a tradition to dress nice, when you go out at night.
On Sundays afternoon, we usually go and enjoy the day at the fantastic Santa Maria beach, which is 30 minutes from Havana.
You decide yourself, if you want to be part of these activities.
As most know, Cubans do not have a lot of money. When you bring them on a night/afternoon out, you will have to pay for them. It is up to you how often you want to invite them out, but it is usually a very good idea, because you will have someone to dance with, who you feel safe with. Usually you will agree to meet them in front of the venue, where you will pay the entrance fee. It is pretty cheap to go out, but the price depends on which band is playing. The entrance fee is between 5-20 CUC for you and from 2-10 CUC for them.
Remember, you will have to pay all expenses related to your dance partner, when you go out (entrance fee and drinks, plus a taxi 10 CUC). Cuban get their salary paid in local pesos from the school, approximately 20 CUC a month. This means they do not have a lot to live for.
The Cubans, as mention before, do not get a lot of money from the school, to be dance partners for 14 days at the course. Therefore, we have a rule, for the participants of the course paying tips to their dance partner, when the course ends. The tips for your dance partner must be paid on the last day of classes (Friday). The amount is 200 euros for two weeks. We as the management, pay the instructors and translators. For multiple reasons, we have elected not to make this amount a part of the price for the course, as it has a different psychological effect, when the participant, pays the tips to their own dance partner.
As a traveler in Cuba, please notice, it is expected you will pay tips. The tips should be approximately 2-5 % at restaurants, for guides etc.
Cuba is famous for a lot of exotic stuff, but not for their food. You will get decent food, with fruit, vegetables, meat and fish at the hotel, but there is no real variety. It is a good idea to bring yogurt pills, to keep your stomach balanced. But as long as you do not drink the water or eat fish and seafood from the street, you will be safe.
Shopping and pocket money:
You can buy cigars, rum, and CDs with local musicians.
Beside those things, there is not much worth buying in Cuba, and the stuff is generally expensive due to the transfer embargo. The embargo makes the few countries dealing with Cuba, have a lot of power, almost as a monopoly. Expect to use approximately 4000 DKK (550 euros) during the entire stay.
In Cuba, they use 110 Volt. In every room, there is one power outlet with 220 Volt, that is the one the air condition is using. If you need to use anything electric, you have to bring devices using 110 Volt, or bring a transformer, which can transform 110 Volt to a 220 Volt device, as the devices in Europe is normally using. You can also use the 110 Volt, but then it is just slower.
Water and toilet paper
The water from the tap is not drinkable, and we recommend you buy large amounts of water, as water in the supermarkets can be sold out, and the next store can be far away. There is a little shop at the hotel, and there is a larger supermarket about 5 minutes by foot, from the hotel. The humidity is high in Cuba, and you have to drink lots of water.
It is rare to find toilet paper at public restrooms in Cuba. Therefore, it is a good idea, to always bring a little toilet paper in your bag, when you are out. Generally, the restrooms are primitively compared to Danish standards.
It is very important not to toss toilet paper in the bowl, it has to go in the trash bin next to the toilet. This is also applicable at the hotel.
The weather in Cuba in generally very nice all year. But when it rains, it pours! It is a good idea to bring an umbrella, and some shoes, which can withstand water. Go online to check the live weather forecast.
You need a visa to travel to Cuba. Read about how to get a tourist visa under Salsa Courses in Cuba.
Extra traveling advice
• Phone usage: There is coverage at Cuba, but it is expensive to send and receive texts. Calls are even more expensive. Check with your phone operator before traveling.
• ’Via Azul’ – a cheap traveling agency, if you want to travel around in Cuba.
• We can make an arrangement with the hotel, to get breakfast and lunch, instead of breakfast and dinner (with is part of the price). You just have to mention at breakfast, if you want lunch instead.
• Salsa and music venues in Havana can be found online at: http://promociones.egrem.co.cu/
• Bring a sandwich for your dance partner, from the breakfast buffet, it will like to make them very happy, as a lot of them goes to work on an empty stomach.
• Exchange currency in the airport, but only for the first few days (maybe 100 euros). Do not exchange in the reception at hotels, as the rate is bad.
• Buy a lot of water in the supermarket, which is close to the hotel.
• Order a massage at the hotel. It is amazing, and is only 15 CUC.
• You can only export 1 liter of rum, and two boxes of cigar back.
• There is a shopping center at Hotel Comodoro. 5-10 minutes by taxi.
• At the harbor in old Havana, there is a market, where you can find art and other nice stuff.
• Saturday and Sunday, there is a possibility to order a dolphin-tour, which is recommendable (approximately 120 CUC). Ask for it in the reception of the hotel. The also offers one day trips to Pinar del Rio for only 70 CUC.
• If you want a Cuban to stay overnight, you have to pay to CUC in the reception, it covers accommodation and breakfast.
• 1830 is one of the most popular dancing venues, but it is only open Thursday and Sunday night.
• Taxi from the city to the Hotel, is not more than 10-15 CUC, look for Pan Taxies. Or go to 41 street and take a bus taxi for only 2 CUC
• It is a good idea to bring protein bars, or what you might like, from home, as it can’t be bought in Cuba.
• Be careful with eating fish and seafood (not at the hotel, but other places).
• Bring your book of vaccinations.
• Breakfast is served form 7.00 till 9.45. The classes start at 9.30 sharp.
• Everyone meets in the reception at 9.15 on the first day.
• At the hotel, we are registered under ADAS-travel
• You can ask for a list of the rooms of the other participants, so you can call each other at the hotel.
• Remember to bring water with you, when you leave the plane, as the waiting at the customs can be up to 2 hours.
• When you are going home, you have to check in at least 2 hours prior.