Learn Spanish, Dance and Music in Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is the second city of Cuba and the undisputed home of traditional Cuban music and dance. Learn Spanish, dance and music in a relaxed, tropical atmosphere with professional teachers with plenty of opportunities to practise what you have been learning.

Our Spanish, dance and music lessons provide one to one tuition and the timetable is very flexible, all year round. The city boasts a wide range of live music clubs and dance venues which offer different options every night of the week,  and you can explore most of the city by foot.  It is also easy to venture further afield to the Sierra Maestra mountains, nearby beaches and small islands.

“I had a fabulous time. Santiago was mad and brilliant. [My homestay hosts] lovely. Food amazing. My [Spanish] teacher was brilliant. I really liked her and would love to have her again when I go next time, which I will. Truly. A lot of fun was had. Would recommend it hugely”

NF, Dorset (Feb 2014)

Our School
Spanish lessons take place in a cultural centre in the heart of the historic city centre, near the main square. Some rooms have air-conditioning, whilst others have electric fans and large windows providing plenty of light. Dance and music/percussion lessons also take place in the city centre, in a cultural centre or one of the theatres just 10 mins walk from the main square.

Cultural Activities and Excursions
There is plenty to see and do in and around Santiago de Cuba and we can arrange any of the following activities or excursions on request. Please ask us for more details.

Interesting places to visit in Santiago de Cuba include the Moncada Barracks which Fidel attacked as the first strike against the Batista dictatorship; the Carnival museum which takes you through the history of the colourful annual festival; the Bacardi museum, one of Cuba’s first museums and home to a valuable historical collection; the Resistance museum which houses memorabilia from the Revolution.

Outside the city, you may want to visit El Morro fortress at the bay of Santiago for the sunset cannon ceremony; El Cobre, the most famous pilgrimage site in Cuba; the Jardin de los Helechos, a lovely fern and orchid garden; La Granjita, the farmhouse where Fidel and his men hid out before their ill fated assault on the Moncada Barracks; Gran Piedra, a huge stone in the national park in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra mountains with the nearby Isabelica coffee plantation (now a museum) and the famous Gran Piedra botanical garden with its bird of paradise flowers.

Public Holidays
1 Jan, 1 May, 26 Jul, 25/31 Dec 2017.
The school will be closed on these public holidays and no classes will be held. Any missed lessons cannot be rescheduled.

Transfers
We can arrange transfers to Santiago from either Holguin or Santiago airport or the Viazul bus station in Santiago. For transfers of 3+ passengers, please contact us.

From Santiago Airport / Viazul bus station – Santiago city centre: £25 for 1-2 persons
From Holguin Airport – Santiago city centre: £120 for 1 – 2 persons

Entry Visa
All visitors to Cuba require a visa to enter the country known as a tourist card. We can provide this at a cost of £25 (£20 + £5 admin fee) plus postage. The visa is valid for 30 days from the date you enter Cuba. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from date of entry to Cuba.

Flights
We hold an ATOL licence (no. 6387) and can arrange both international flights to Cuba and domestic flights for your trip.

Admin Fee
Please note that an admin fee of £42 (£35 + VAT) is applicable to all bookings.

Courses are available all year round for a range of ages and levels.
Please click on one of the options below for more details:

Spanish Course

We offer one-to-one tuition in Santiago, taught by local, qualified Spanish teachers. Lesson content can be tailored to each individual’s needs and lessons may take place in the morning or afternoon on weekdays. Course materials are limited due to the lack of general resources in Cuba, so it is important that students take their own dictionary, pens and paper.

Course duration:1 or more weeks
Consists of:15 individual lessons per week
Class timetable:flexible (Mon-Fri)
Lesson duration:50 minutes
Maximum class size:1 student
Minimum language level:beginner
Minimum age:18 years
Cost per week:1 week £165 / 2 weeks £300
extra week £150

2017 Start dates:
Lessons may start on any weekday throughout the year.

Cuban Dance Lessons

Cuban dance lessons (Salsa, Son, Reggaeton, Merengue, Chachacha, Afro-Cuban, Orishas, Cuban Rumba) can be taken with or without a Spanish course. Each student has their own Cuban dance partner, a professional dance teacher from the Ballet Folklorico Cutumba, one of the most vibrant and colourful of the national Cuban dance and music companies. Classes will be taught mainly in Spanish and are organised on weekdays.

Course duration:1 or more weeks
Consists of:see options below
Class timetable:afternoons (Mon-Fri)
Lesson duration:60 minutes
Maximum class size:1 student
Minimum level:beginner
Minimum age:18 years

Cost:

5 individual Cuban dance lessons per week : £95
10 individual Cuban dance lessons per week : £190
15 individual Cuban dance lessons per week : £285

2017 Start dates:
Lessons may start on any weekday throughout the year.

Cuban Music Lessons

Cuban music lessons can be taken with or without a Spanish course, and take place on weekdays. Each student has their own professional Cuban music teacher, either a professional musician from the Ballet Folklorico Cutumba, one of Cuba’s top Cuban dance and music companies, or with a professional musician from one of Santiago’s top bands.

Music lessons can cover most instruments such as tres guitar, saxophone, trumpet, keyboard, congas, and percussion. Singing lessons can also be arranged with professional vocalists. We recommend that students take their own instruments, if possible, and any other materials for music classes (such as sheet  music, music stand) as not everything is readily available in Santiago de Cuba. We may be able to arrange for the hire of instruments at an extra cost, subject to availability.

Course duration:1 or more weeks
Consists of:see options below
Class timetable:afternoons (Mon-Fri)
Lesson duration:60 minutes
Maximum class size:1 student
Minimum level:beginner
Minimum age:18 years

Cost:

5 individual Cuban Music lessons per week : £95
10 individual Cuban Music lessons per week : £190
15 individual Cuban Music lessons per week : £285

2017 Start dates:
Lessons can start on any weekday throughout the year.

Accommodation is available in homestays or hotel accommodation, all year round.
Accommodation is from Sunday night until Saturday morning, and extra nights are available on request. (1 week = 6 nights / 2 weeks = 13 nights)

Homestay

Homestay accommodation gives you the perfect opportunity to have an insight into Cuban life. We know each of our homestays very well, and can vouch for the quality and standard of the accommodation. Our homestay hosts are all very friendly and welcoming people and will ensure you are comfortable and that you feel right at home. You will not have your  meals with your hosts, but you will always have someone to chat to if you want to practice your Spanish whilst eating. Homestay accommodation is very independent and you can come and go as you please. Another advantage of staying in our homestays is that they are all located right in the city centre, within easy walking distance of the main square.

We can organise single or double/twin rooms for 2 people booking together. Triple rooms are only available where the third person is a child. Bedrooms are equipped with air-conditioning and often an electric fan as well, and guests will have their own private bathroom. In some homestays, two guest rooms may share the same bathroom but this is not common. Breakfast and evening meals are included, and the homestay hosts provide excellent home cooking. Special dietary requirements can be catered for without any problem as long as we know in advance.

 Single Room Double/Twin Room*
1 week £240 £180 pp
2 weeks £520 £390 pp
Extra week £280 £210 pp
Extra night £40 £30 pp

*Only available for 2 people booking together. Prices per person.

Hotel accommodation

There are a number of hotels in Santiago ranging from 2 – 5* and we can book any hotel on request, subject to availability. Please contact us for more details.

Get the most out of your time in Santiago de Cuba and take one of our guided day tours to explore this wonderful city and its surrounding area, with our experienced and knowledgeable guides.

Please click on the plus sign (+) below for further tour details and prices:

Santiago de Cuba City Tour (half day)

Half day guided tour of Santiago de Cuba including one of the options below:

option 1: visits to the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery where the mausoleum of Jose Marti and impressive tombs and graves of national heroes can be found; El Morro Castle, a large fortress located at the mouth of Santiago Bay with wonderful views over the bay and the Sierra Maestra mountains.

option 2: including visit to the Moncada Barracks, the site of Fidels first armed attack against the Batista government; historic San Juan Hill; Vista Alegre area which was the top residential area of the city pre-Revolution; the Alameda seafront promenade and port; the Museo de La Lucha Clandestina, a museum dedicated to the resistance movement during the Revolution.

Santiago de Cuba City Tour including El Morro Castle and boat trip Cayo Granma (full day)

Full day guided tour of Santiago de Cuba including visits to the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery where the mausoleum of Jose Marti and impressive tombs and graves of national heroes can be found; El Morro Castle, a fortress located at the mouth of Santiago Bay with impressive views over the bay; boat excursion to Cayo Granma, a former fisherman’s island in the middle of Santiago bay including lunch at Cayo Granma.

Boat Excursion to Cayo Granma (half day)

Half day guided excursion to Cayo Granma, an island in the middle of Santiago bay which was formerly a fishing community – lunch included at a local restaurant on the island.  Boat ticket included.

Jardin Los Helechos - Fern Garden (half day)

Half day guided visit to Jardin Los Helechos, a few kilometres from the centre of the city, a small but fascinating garden packed with all of the orchids and ferns of Cuba.

El Cobre, the most religious site in Cuba, and Cimarron Hill (half day)

El Cobre is the most important religious site in Cuba, with a basilica dedicated to El Virgen del Cobre. The trip includes a guided walk up Cimarrron Hill, locally significant for Santeria (the Afro-Cuban religion) and providing great views over the surrounding area.ed to the resistance movement during the Revolution.

Gran Piedra + botanic garden / Museo de la Isabelica / La Granjita Siboney + El Porvenir freshwater swimming pool (full day)

Full day guided excursion to Gran Piedra (the Great Rock) at the summit of a mountain with wonderful panoramic views of the Sierra Maestra mountains on a clear day and including a visit to one of the following:

– Ave del Paraiso Botanic Garden where some of the most exotic tropical plants in Cuba can be found.
– Museo La Isabelica, an early 19th century coffee plantation recognised as a UNESCO site of cultural heritage, reflecting the rich history of coffee plantations in the Oriente region
– La Granjita Siboney, a farmhouse significant in the history of the Revolution and now a national museum

Followed by an afternoon spent at La Finca El Porvenir, a lovely freshwater swimming pool which has a bar and restaurant where lunch and drinks can be bought. Return to Santiago late afternoon.

La Comandancia de la Plata, Fidel Castro's secret headquarters (full day)

Full day guided excursion to La Comandancia de la Plata in the Sierra Maestra mountains, to experience the natural beauty and tropical vegetation of the Sierra Maestra mountains including a visit to the fascinating site of La Comandancia where Fidel was based in the lead-up to the Revolution.  3-4 hours hiking along a good trail, and a reasonable level of fitness required.

With regards to our trip to Cuba, we both had a fantastic time and agreed that we could never have fitted in so much without the help from you all at Caledonia.

In Santiago we stayed with Gladys and Roberto who were both fantastic hosts – very welcoming and friendly – and despite the language barrier I think we manage to communicate OK. We had the guided city tour by car there and the guide was very knowledgeable and informative and we had also a salsa lesson which was very enjoyable. As with everything else that you had arranged, the staff and dancers at the dance studio could not have been more accommodating to us.

After this we flew up to Havana and stayed in the hotel San Miguel which was nice and central.  You had arranged a walking tour of Havana for us and, as with all the other guides you arranged, the lady who took us round was very informative not only about about Havana but also also life in Cuba.

From there we moved up to Vinales and stayed with M and her family. Her son spoke perfect English, so communication was no problem. We both really enjoyed our time there and we visited the tobacco fields and the main sights.

All the transfers were perfect, the guides friendly and informative and the accommodation all really good with the exception of the hotel in Varadero which we did not like much. I don’t think I could pick out one highlight for you as we enjoyed the whole trip but especially Santiago de Cuba, Vinales and Havana. Thanks again for all your help!

DM, Edinburgh (Dec 2015)

“The location [of Spanish lessons] was perfect, just a few steps away from my homestay. My teacher was a really lovely person, made a big effort for me and was always well prepared for the lessons. Both my dance teachers were excellent, and I enjoyed every single lesson with them. I started to discover Son and fell in love with it, improved (hopefully) my salsa and also got introduced to rumba and reggaeton. The location was very close to my homestay which was very handy.”

 JS, Slovakia (July 2014)

“I had a fabulous time. Santiago was mad and brilliant. [My homestay hosts] lovely. Food amazing. My [Spanish] teacher was brilliant. I really liked her and would love to have her again when I go next time, which I will. Truly. A lot of fun was had. Would recommend it hugely”

 NF, Dorset (Feb 2014)

“My Spanish lessons were brilliant, I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher – she really took me under her wing. The lessons were well planned and also included trips which focused on the cultural aspect of learning.”

GH, London (Sep 2013)