Best Spots to Watch Salsa in Havana, Cuba

Tropicana opening number | © jennicatpink/Flickr
Tropicana opening number | © jennicatpink/Flickr
Photo of Barbara Maseda
30 April 2017

While salsa bands have struggled to stay relevant for younger audiences, salsa still remains very popular around the world—and especially in Cuba, whose culture has greatly influenced the musical genre. Below are some of the most popular venues to dance to the lively, passionate music in Havana.

1. Casa de la Música de Miramar

Founded in 1995 to promote the Cuban record industry, Casa de la Música de Miramar is a fantastic spot to see salsa bands perform live. With a varied program that includes both renowned and emerging salsa bands, this place offers two shows every day (5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m.) at a midsize concert area that accommodates a stage, a bar, tables, and a dance floor. As the name indicates, it is located in Miramar. Cover charge goes from 10 CUC to 20 CUC, depending on the calibre of the band playing.

Avenida 35 and 20th Street, Miramar, Playa. Havana

2. Café Cantante Mi Habana

Café Cantante Mi Habana is part of the National Theatre of Cuba, located near Revolution Square. This club features live performances by a variety of bands, with salsa nights happening on Monday and Tuesday, from 9:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m., and Friday from 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Café Cantante is close to residential areas and well-connected by bus and taxi services, making it a favorite for locals. Cover charge is 10 CUC for foreigners and 60 CUP (around 2.50 CUC) for Cubans.

The Cubans know how to party #2amUndergroundSalsa #CafeCantante

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4. Pico Blanco

This nightclub at the Saint John‘s Hotel in Vedado is easily accessible from the main tourist areas. Unlike other places on this list, the salsa bands performing at this small club are not famous, making the cover charge is less expensive (5 CUC including one drink). Open from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m every day except Mondays.

5. El Turquino

Habana Libre Hotel’s El Turquino is a nightclub in the heart of Vedado. It’s one of the most expensive on this list and tourists are more likely to be the majority in this spot. A different band plays every night from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

L Street, Habana Libre Hotel, Vedado, Havana, Cuba +53 7 8346100

6. Salon Rosado de la Tropical Benny More

Salon Rosado is the salsa dance capital of Havana. It is said that local bands like to use Salon Rosado as a testing ground for new songs; if the crowd there doesn’t like them, they probably won’t be popular among a wider audience.

41st Avenue, Playa, Havana, Cuba +53 7 214 0984

7. Casa de la Música de Centro Habana

As of April 2017, Casa de la Música Habana is still closed temporarily for renovations. However, it’s worth keeping in mind for when construction concludes in the summer. For many years this nightclub—located in the impressive Art Deco building that houses the America Theater—was the main gathering point for salsa lovers in Havana, where some of the country’s best bands performed. After its long awaited reopening, it’ll go back to being one of the best places to enjoy salsa music.

255 Galiano, Centro Habana, Havana, Cuba +53 7 862 4165

8. Callejon de Hamel

Although Callejon de Hamel is best known as a community gathering place for Afro-Cuban art, Santería, and rumba, it’s not uncommon to see people dancing salsa on this street. In addition to the wonderful musical atmosphere that characterizes the place, Callejon de Hamel is an exhibition of graffiti, sculpture, and Afro-Cuban culture.

Between Calle Espada and Calle Aramburu, Centro Habana, Cuba

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