Cuba Salsa Holiday

Join our Cuba Salsa Holiday in Santiago de Cuba, the undisputed home of traditional Cuban music, for a heady cocktail of Cuban dance classes with one of Cuba’s most famous national dance and music companies, Ballet Folklorico Cutumba. Uniquely, every person on the holiday has their own professional Cuban dance partner to help you learn authentic Cuban style dancing, and we cover not just salsa but also son, merengue, rumba, chachacha, bachata and kizomba.

Nights out to top live bands, cultural visits and excursions and plenty of time to relax and recharge your batteries too, all in a relaxed and tropical Caribbean atmosphere. A holiday you will never forget! Our 2 week dance holidays have been taking place since 1998 in Santiago de Cuba, the ideal place to hear and dance to live music.

  • Duration: 2 weeks (or 1 week on request)

  • Start dates: 13 Mar, 26 Jun, 17 Jul, 9 Oct, 18 Dec 2017 / 12 Mar 2018
  • Cost: £1,475 per person
    Look out for our early bird offers below 

Please keep reading for full details.

“What an incredible experience it was! Our experience in Cuba with Caledonia was absolutely top notch in terms of people, music, dance opportunity, and cultural richness. We would recommend Caledonia enthusiastically to anyone! DP, Dec 2016

Cuba Salsa Holiday, Santiago de Cuba

On this Cuba salsa holiday, you really will learn how to dance, Cuban style, with top professional dance teachers from the Ballet Folklorico Cutumba, providing you with individual tuition and plenty of attention to detail.   Dance lessons focus mainly on salsa and son, but also include merengue, rumba, chachacha, bachata and kizomba so you will have an opportunity to learn a variety of popular Cuban and Caribbean dances.

Santiago de Cuba has a wide range of live music and dance venues which offer different entertainment every night of the week, including the world famous Casa de la Trova in the city centre, so will be able to practise what you have been learning each day on our organised nights out accompanied by your dance teachers.

Daily Cuban dance lessons are organised in small groups but each person has their own professional Cuban dance partner for all lessons. This means that you will have plenty of opportunity to improve your salsa dancing skills and to learn new moves and rhythms too. There are also 2 afternoons of dance styling / percussion / Spanish language workshops to choose from. Classes are given according to level and are suitable for absolute beginners to those with an advanced level.

Accommodation is arranged in carefully selected homestays which will provide you with a real insight into Cuban life, delicious home cooked meals, a chance to practise your Spanish and a home away from home with all the independence you need.  Our homestays are all located within easy walking distance of the venue for the dance lessons and for going out at nights.

Our group dance holidays are all guaranteed to take place so no  minimum numbers required.


2017 Dance Holidays in Cuba

Afro-Cuban Dance Holiday (Festival del Caribe),  26 June – 10 July 2017
If you are interested in our Afro-Cuban dance holiday taking place in June, please visit the following page on our website: http://www.caledoniaworldwide.com/trip/afro-cuban-dance-holiday/

Cuba Salsa holiday (Santiago de Cuba Carnival),  17 – 31 Jul 2017 – Fully booked! 
Enjoy the annual Carnival and expect plenty of lively street parades and parties, decorated floats, open air stages around the city with live bands day and night and a true carnival atmosphere.

Cuba Salsa holiday 9 – 23 October 2017  – Only 7 places left! 

Cuba Salsa holiday (Christmas/New Year), 19 Dec 2017 – 02 Jan 2018 – Only 12 places left! 
Christmas day on the beach, and New Year celebrations Cuban-style, a dream come true!

2018 Dance Holidays in Cuba

Cuba Salsa holiday, 12 – 26 March 2018  
coinciding with the 
annual Festival de la Trova, with Cuban bands and musicians playing every day and night.

*early bird offer* – book a place on our 2 week March 2018 dance holiday by 14 July 2017 to secure the early bird price of £1,425 per person. A deposit of £300 is required to book your place. Please quote CDMAR when booking

Please note: the early bird offer is not valid in conjunction with any other offer, promotion, voucher or discount. The early bird discount is only applicable to those booking the full 2 week dance holiday. 

  • Monday

    Arrive Santiago de Cuba and dinner at homestay accommodation
    Free evening

  • Tuesday

    Introduction to dance company and dance classes 0930-1300
    Briefing meeting followed by orientation walking tour of the city centre
    Welcome cocktail in evening after dinner

  • Wednesday

    Dance classes 0930-1230
    Half day excursion to place of local interest
    Night out with dancers

  • Thursday

    Dance classes 0930-1230
    Dance Styling/Percussion x 1.5 hours (1st of 2 sessions)
    Free evening

  • Friday

    Dance classes 0930-1230
    Free afternoon
    Night out with dancers

  • Saturday

    Full day excursion outside the city
    Free evening

  • Sunday

    Free day to relax and explore

  • Monday

    Dance classes 0930-1230
    Dance Styling/Percussion x 1.5 hours (2nd of 2 sessions)
    Night out with dancers

  • Tuesday

    Dance classes 0930-1230
    Free afternoon
    Free evening

  • Wednesday

    Dance classes 0930-1230
    Half day excursion to place of local interest
    Free evening

  • Thursday

    Dance classes 0930-1230
    Free afternoon
    Night out with dancers

  • Friday

    Dance classes 0930-1230
    Free afternoon
    Free evening

  • Saturday

    Group activity with dancers
    Free evening

  • Sunday

    Free day to relax and explore
    Final night out with dancers

  • Monday

    Depart Santiago late morning

The trip costs £1,475 per person and includes:

Homestay accommodation:
single room including breakfast & dinner x 14 nights. All rooms have air conditioning, ensuite bathrooms and use of a fridge

Dance classes:
27 group Cuban dance lessons with your own professional dance partner(s)
+ 2 group dance styling/percussion / Spanish language workshops

Excursions  / Activities:
1 full day + 2 half day excursions including transport, bilingual Spanish/English speaking guide, entries, and tips for the driver/guide.

Nights out:
accompanied nights out with dance teachers to live music venues

Tour leader:
bilingual Spanish/English Caledonia tour leader


Please note the following are not included:

  • Flights*
  • Tourist card (the required visa)*
  • Airport transfers*
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches
  • Entries and drinks on nights out

 

These can be arranged by us on request

Travel

Are flights included in the cost of the dance holiday?
The dance holiday is a ground package. You can either book your flights independently or book them through us. Càlédöñiâ can book your flights for an admin fee of £42 per booking (not per person), and booking your flights through Càlédöñiâ mean that your entire package will be covered by our ATOL licence if you are departing from the UK or if you are a British national.

Transfers

For those arriving at Santiago airport or the Viazul bus station in Santiago we can arrange local transfers.

For those arriving at Holguin airport, we can arrange transfers to Santiago de Cuba which is approximately a 2.5 hour journey. As we often have people travelling on the same flights, we organise shared transfers which shares the cost of the transfer.

For anyone flying into Havana airport, we can book domestic flights to Santiago de Cuba (a 1.5hr flight), or book bus journeys which is a cheaper option of travel and which will take 12 – 14 hrs each way.

Accommodation

What type of accommodation is included in the trip?
Single rooms in homestay accommodation are included in the cost. For those travelling with others, we can arrange double/twin room accommodation as required.

What is homestay accommodation like?
Homestay accommodation provides a real insight into the everyday lives of Cubans, and offer a safe, friendly and welcoming place to stay. All our homestay accommodation is licensed by the Cuban state and guarantees a good standard of cleanliness and decent facilities as well as daily contact with truly wonderful welcoming hosts. Your room will have air conditioning and an ensuite toilet facilities with a shower. You will also have access to a fridge in the house.

Where are the homestays located?
All of our homestays are located right in the city centre, close to the main square, the venue for dance lessons and all of the venues on the nights out.

Are meals included?
Both breakfast and evening meals are included at your homestay, for the entire dance holiday, providing good home cooking using delicious local, seasonal produce. You don’t eat your meals with your hosts at all. Breakfast usually consists of coffee, juice, bread, eggs, fresh fruit. Dinner varies each night and is normally a typical Cuban dish which can be rice, beans, vegetables, salad, and meat/fish/seafood.

I have a dietary requirement, can this be catered for?
Yes, our homestays often have guests with dietary requirements and they are happy to cater to your needs as much as possible.

Santiago de Cuba

What is the city like?
Santiago de Cuba is a vibrant city, full of life, yet has a very relaxed Caribbean atmosphere. It is the second biggest city in Cuba and has a compact centre, making it very easy to get around on foot.

The Dance Holiday – General questions

How many participants are there on the dance holiday?
We tend to take smaller groups of up to about 16 persons to keep the group intimate – it helps people get to know each other better, both Cubans and participants, but also to make things more manageable from an organising point of view. Going out at night with 16 visitors + 16 Cubans is quite a big group as you can imagine.

Dance classes

Will I have a dance partner?
Yes, each participant will have their own professional Cuban dance partner/tutor for group lessons.

Afternoon sessions
Two 90 minute afternoon sessions are included in the dance holiday, and you can choose from the following group sessions:

Dance styling focuses on body movement and posture and aims to help non-Cuban dancers to achieve a more Cuban and fluid style of dancing. Ladies are taught in a group by a female teacher, and men by a male teacher.

Percussion lessons are also taught in a group using different Cuban instruments such as congas, cowbells, clave, guiro are intended to focus on the basic rhythyms you would hear in Cuban music. People often comment that it is really useful to be able to recognise the rhythms that you hear in Cuban music.

Survival Spanish lessons are useful for beginners who have no or little prior knowledge of Spanish. Basic phrases and useful vocabulary are usually what are covered. In just 2 x 90 minute sessions, there is a limit on what one can learn.

Cost of the trip

Is there a single supplement?
No, the cost of the trip includes single room accommodation.

Visas

Is a visa required to enter Cuba?
Yes, all persons visiting Cuba must have a valid tourist card to enter the country. The tourist card is valid for up to 30 days from the date of your arrival in Cuba, and is the required visa for those travelling for tourism purposes. Càlédöñiâ are authorised by the Cuban Consulate to issue tourist cards, so please contact us if you require one.

“I loved the [Santiago de Cuba]. It felt like a being inside a vibrant beating heart. It felt safe and it was so easy to walk everywhere…the homestay locations were ideal. I loved all the music venues and the cultural things to see. [My homestay hosts] were amazing. My room was perfect. I didn’t need anything more. The food was amazing and most of all – the hosts were so warm and kind. I can’t say enough about how they made us feel like family and how kind they were. The dance school and team were fantastic. The nights out are such a good idea – it is awesome to roll up to the dance floor with your professional dance partners and actually get the experience of dancing outside of the studio. The dancers were good at making us get up and dance because I could be a bit shy at times. Our [tour leader] was fantastic. I immediately felt comfortable and cared for with her. She speaks perfect English and was our Cuba mom 🙂 She was patient with everyone’s requests and questions and really went out of her way to make our time there memorable. The tours she took us on were great. My favourite [excursions] were visiting Granjita Simone, the church (I can’t remember the name) and also the drive around Santiago. The history of Cuba is very fascinating to me and I loved hearing about it. Our last night out we went to Casa Tradicionales…a little venue that felt like stepping back in time. By now we all knew each other quite well and the dancing just seemed to flow with everyone. I could see the improvement in all of us. It was so cool to see that. We also had a chance to see the National Ballet….Wow! Other than those particular experiences I really enjoyed the people…the Cuban people and the others on the trip. I’m very happy to have met them.”

FL, USA, Jul 2015

“I liked Santiago very much because it is quite small and it was easy to get around. Our homestay hosts were charming and helpful and not intrusive. The laundry service was invaluable because we had three changes of clothes every day.  The accommodation was lovely. The [dance] classes were excellent. Having different partners for different dances was good and the opportunity to dance with all the dancers was very helpful. I loved the teachers and by the end began to feel very comfortable with them and I think they felt the same about us. I loved their energy and style and professionalism and their joy. I enjoyed them all [cultural visits/excursions]. I think climbing up the big rock was my highlight. The view was amazing and the coolness after the city was so refreshing. I absolutely loved dancing with all the dancers and getting to know them. The dancing itself was my highlight. I liked the fact that so many people in the community knew each other. The ballet Gisell was beautiful and to see Cutumba in their show was amazing. I am remembering more as I write. I don’t think I can highlight anything actually. Everything together worked to make my holiday wonderful.”

SA, London, Jul 2015

“Next time I visit Santiago de Cuba, I would definitely like to stay with [homestay hosts], and I think that says it all. Throughout I felt like a member of their family, like a cherished friend, not as a guest…Lovely lovely people. The way they took care of us! Will never forget the sunsets on the roof of their house overlooking Santiago de Cuba…The room was comfortable, food delicious, always considering the special needs and eating habits. [Dance classes] Love those young passionate enthusiastic teachers and amazing dancers! I enjoyed everything, but most of all the dance classes.”

AT, Qatar, Jul 2015

“I loooove Santiago. It was my 3rd time there. I love the atmosphere…lots of life in the streets and still laid back and relaxed. Small enough for you to be able to walk to most places, like dance clubs etc. easily. Feels very safe. People are lovely and you have got to love the climate! Good beaches near by. We went to Bueycabon and it was really nice. Oh, and the music! It’s everywhere and for a son lover like me, it’s great to go out dancing in a city, where so many know how to dance it. Great location of the casa. Nice and helpful host family.”

MK, London, Mar 2015

“I had a really wonderful time in Cuba and came away with lots of happy memories. I was with a really lovely group of people and it was such a privilege to be able to dance every day with [dance partner]. Santiago de Cuba is a great city. Music playing everywhere you go and lots of nice, open spaces to sit and soak up the atmosphere. [Homestay hosts] Wonderful hosts, great opportunity to improve Spanish language skills through conversation with them. They graciously tolerated us coming home late at night, answering the door to us with a smile! Very clean and comfortable room, enough space and privacy. The house is very close to the city centre, everything is within walking distance. The meals were excellent, plenty of good food and variety. I really enjoyed the dance lessons. I liked the way we had the opportunity to do things as a group, but also had plenty of time to practice with our partners. I liked the way the dance routines were built up on a daily basis, with opportunities to recap what we’d learned so far and learn new phrases each day. I enjoyed the afternoon percussion sessions and having the opportunity to learn more about the different rhythms. Our teacher was very attentive and patient, especially when we struggled with a particularly difficult sequence. The nights out were great, really well organised and we had good seats reserved for us near to the bands. We were able to see quite a lot of the Trova festival, outside of the organised evenings, too.”

GR, Amsterdam, Mar 2015

“I had a really wonderful time in Cuba and came away with lots of happy memories. I was with a really lovely group of people and it was such a privilege to be able to dance every day with [dance partner]. Santiago de Cuba is a great city. Music playing everywhere you go and lots of nice, open spaces to sit and soak up the atmosphere. [Homestay hosts] Wonderful hosts, great opportunity to improve Spanish language skills through conversation with them. They graciously tolerated us coming home late at night, answering the door to us with a smile! Very clean and comfortable room, enough space and privacy. The house is very close to the city centre, everything is within walking distance. The meals were excellent, plenty of good food and variety. I really enjoyed the dance lessons. I liked the way we had the opportunity to do things as a group, but also had plenty of time to practice with our partners. I liked the way the dance routines were built up on a daily basis, with opportunities to recap what we’d learned so far and learn new phrases each day. I enjoyed the afternoon percussion sessions and having the opportunity to learn more about the different rhythms. Our teacher was very attentive and patient, especially when we struggled with a particularly difficult sequence. The nights out were great, really well organised and we had good seats reserved for us near to the bands. We were able to see quite a lot of the Trova festival, outside of the organised evenings, too.”

GR, Amsterdam, Mar 2015

”[Santiago de Cuba] Lovely city – everything was within walking distance, and when required getting a taxi was easy. [Homestay host and family] and her casa were lovely. The room was comfortable, the air conditioner and fan were a god send and having hot water was great. [Homestay host] is an amazing cook… Her home cooked food was excellent. [Dance Lessons] The one to one teaching was great – exactly what I needed. I really enjoyed the Son classes as I have not done much “proper” son before. I loved the other dances we covered too: chachacha, pilon, rueda, rumba, Orishas. [Nights out] These were great. I loved the complete mix of evening venues, from the traditional son houses to the reggaeton discos!! I loved all the excursions…. The walk round Cayo Granma was wonderful, el Moro stunning, the views from la Gran Piedra and Puerto de Boniato were amazing, the plants in the botanical garden and the fern garden beautiful, el Porvenir was fabulous! I don’t think there is any need for improvements…. For me the holiday was perfect – thank you soooooooo much. Thank you again for an amazing trip!”

PDS, London, Sep 2014

“[Santiago de Cuba] Great place to spend two weeks whilst on a dance holiday. Plenty of other things to see and do when you want a break from dancing. [Homestay hosts] Nice hosts and I really enjoyed the meals. The homestay had everything I needed. Great location, close to the central area, the night life and the dance studio. [Dance classes] I really enjoyed the classes. Whilst concentrating on Son and Salsa a good variation of other dance was covered which I appreciated, reggaeton/pillon/merengue/rumbaand rueda. Both [dance teachers] were excellent teachers and partners. The other dance partners were also excellent when asked/required to help or when we did group stuff. [Nights out] Just the right amount of organised nights out for me. The dancers were very good at getting me up and encouraging me to dance. It was good having [dancer] out as he was the life and soul of the nights out with his enthusiastic nature. [Excursions] The excursions were interesting and informative and good break from dancing. It was good to experience both the Carnival week and the non carnival week where we went out to dance at different venues. Carnival also introduced us to a different part of Cuban culture and different areas of Santiago.”

 BC, Edinburgh, Jul 2014

“[Santiago de Cuba] Fully Cuban – a cultural hub, frenetic. Great place if you want the real Cuba. It’s much more than a holiday – it’s an unforgettable experience to be embraced. One of the nights out I danced until I dropped – it was an awesome, liberating and uplifting experience!”

LW, England, Mar 2014

“’Santiago is my favourite city in Cuba. It’s a lovely size to walk around, very safe, and there was an amazing atmosphere with the festival del Caribe going on. My homestay hosts were absolutely fantastic, so welcoming and friendly. Their terrace is beautiful, and G is an excellent cook. I was very happy there. My dance lessons were amazing, very professional. I had an excellent teacher, who was great fun and very patient. The casa in Havana at the end of the trip was beautiful too, and I loved the colonial style. It was also very well located for exploring Old Havana”

RF, London, July 2013

“Thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. The dance instruction was superb and the tutors listened to what I wanted to achieve. The escorted evenings out all went very well with plenty of different venues visited, and the Cuban dancers were always keen for a dance. The Pepe Sanchez festival was an added bonus and we got to see some special bands. My landlady at the homestay was great. All in all an excellent dance holiday with plenty of variety. I will remember it and all of the Cuban dancers and other guests for a long time to come. Happy days.”

 KB, Cyprus, Mar 2013

“I have been in Santiago once before – I liked it the first time but liked it even more the 2nd time and would love to return again. I like the fact there are less tourists in Santiago. Homestay – location and meals excellent, hosts lovely and very helpful, room excellent especially bathroom. Dance classes – outstanding. Loved the classes and learnt a lot particularly in Son – there was a good balance between enjoying the dancing and feeling encouraged that I could do it, and being helped to improve. The best thing for me was having a Cuban dance partner throughout the lessons – dancing with [them] made me very happy! I could not have asked for better partners. Nights out – I REALLY liked the nights out with the dancers and the fact that they dance with you a lot – this (and the lessons) made the holiday. Santiago was much better than Havana for getting dances with local Cubans. Also loved the Christmas party and the New Years Eve celebration, especially because they included dancing! Most memorable part of the trip? There was no one particular thing but the 2 best aspects were 1. The dancing (both lessons and nights out) and 2. The group – I really liked having a small group to share the experience with.”

RA, Oxford, Dec 2012

“Santiago de Cuba is hugely atmospheric and has a strong cultural vibe. The Festival del Caribe gave the city a strong Afro-Cuban mood which was interesting to experience firsthand. Lots of son and salsa as well! My hosts were brilliant and could not have been more welcoming (2nd time I have stayed with them). The room and private bathroom were spacious, bright and clean. Food was excellent and plentiful. Both my lead dance partners were brilliant. They were unfailingly patient, and went over steps to correct my technique and also taught me new things. Introducing the rumba class was a great idea – I loved it.”

CN, Edinburgh, Jul 2012

‘Everything was absolutely fantastic and I am already trying to figure out when I can go back. All the people I met – homestay, teachers, guide – were really wonderful and made sure that we enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. The dance classes were great and the teachers really went out of the their way to make us feel welcome. My trip to Havana was very pleasant but Santiago really takes the biscuit!’

 RN, Brussels, Mar 2012