Cultural Life

There will always be different options on the must-see list: music, theater, dance, visual arts… In fact, sometimes the hardest part is choosing where to go. One way to plan your day is to plan to go to two or three activities, starting in the late afternoon into the early morning.

Cuban salsa and timba bands seem to have the gift of ubiquity. Finding regular concerts and performances at different clubs is never a problem. For both beginner and experienced dancers, we recommend first level groups: Van Van, Habana de Primera, Pupy y Los Que Son Son…

Great open-air concerts are the main course. For example, like those in La Pirague, an esplanade next to the Hotel Nacional; and in La Tropical, a great temple of salsa, where even elderly couples display an amazing mastery of dance.

Popular festivals are held in different cities on the island. With the parades in Remedios, the charanga bands in Bejucal, and the carnivals, the streets are filled with lights, colors, and people ready to keep dancing and singing all night long.

But there is more music than just the traditional genres. When listening to Cuban jazz - a mix of virtuosity and feeling - it is easy to understand the reason for its international renown. Clubs like La Zorra and El Cuervo, Jazz Café, and Café Miramar have performances almost every day with extraordinarily talented artists. Ensembles of small groups also play in some private bars.

However, if we are talking about fame, the National Ballet is among the best, although flamenco groups, folk and contemporary dance groups also show great talent and expressiveness in their performances.

A revelation of recent years has been the dance company Acosta Danza, directed by the dancer and choreographer Carlos Acosta. Its headquarters, on Línea street, has glass instead of walls so if you spend some time there, you can watch them rehearse.

To discover what Cubans do for fun and to feed the soul, there are many other interesting experiences. Sitting on the Malecón, for example, is a great idea any day at any time because the Malecón is always open and it’s free.

If you have friends in Cuba, try playing a game of dominos with them. We will warn you: you’re sure to lose, although the most important thing is not the game itself, but the jokes and sayings associated with it; besides that it goes great with a beer or a shot of rum.

Some people think that baseball is a slow sport with complicated rules. But if you choose a game with a lot of rivalry - Industrial against Santiago perhaps - you will national passion overflow into delirium.

Don’t brush off simple plans either: walk through La Rampa at night, take a bike ride, or just hole up in the tranquility of a museum.