Cali is known as the world capital of salsa. In this hot, vibrant and buzzing city you’ll hear the music played everywhere, from the supermarket to the suburbs in the hills. The locals live and breath salsa day in, day out. Here’s a list of the best places to dance salsa while you get into rhythm in this dance-centric city.
A great place to start out in the salsa club scene, Tin Tin Deo is foreigner-friendly, and your best bet is to head here on a Thursday night, when there’s a great mix of tourists and locals. The entrance fee includes three beers, and drinks are relatively cheap. The mixed crowd opens up the dance floor to a variety of abilities, so don’t be shy in giving salsa a go at this friendly little joint.
Within walking distance from the majority of hostels, La Topa Tolondra, in the San-Antonio neighborhood, has an ‘everybody is welcome’ atmosphere on the dance floor, especially on a Wednesday night. The club is small and always packed, so don’t worry if people brush against you as they boogie away into the wee hours.
One of the most famous clubs in the main city of Cali, Zaperoco is filled with talented dancers night after night and offers live music on Thursdays. While you might be intimidated by the quality of the dancing here, don’t be put off hitting the dance floor yourself, you’ll be more than welcomed by the friendly crowd of regulars.
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Located far out of town in the Jamundi district, Las Brisas provides a great night out if you’re headed from one of the backpacker hostels in San Antonio with a large group. Strangely enough, its best night is on a Monday, when most other clubs are very quiet or closed. An open-air club, this place is a salsa institution and a real must visit for those wanting to experience the true salsa caleña vibe.
Delirio is more of a show than a club night out, and you’ll need to buy tickets in order to see these Cali legends in action. Delirio is described as a fusion of traditional salsa mixed in with circus tricks, and the show is truly spectacular. Shows happen once a month in the Parque del Amor, and while this may not count as a club to dance salsa in, after the show you will definitely be inspired to get your groove on at another spot in the city.
Not your typical night out, this viejoteca (seniors disco) is held in an open-air dancehall upstairs at the senior citizen’s association. But don’t be fooled, as this is not a sedentary seniors affair by any means, its here where you’ll find some of the best salsa in the whole city. Even if you don’t want to dance yourself, this is a great place to head to and grab a nice cold beer while you watch the seniors shake their stuff.
Probably a place you’d never stop when you’re not to be recommended to, this is Cali salsa at its core. El Rincon de Heberth is a small bar, in front of a mall, that is a total hit with locals and home to some of the best dancing you’ll ever see in your life. As unpretentious as it can get, this place is just about friends gathering together, grabbing a beer, and dancing when they hear a song they like. It’s that simple, and a lot of fun too.
A real old school salsa joint, Siboney is all about partners heading out to dance together all night long. So turn up without a date and your dancing options are limited, unless someone is kind enough to lend you theirs. But as a tourist, this is a great place to come and watch the dancing talent, and the venue itself is located outside of Cali in the district of Menga, meaning it can stay open until 6am.
Much loved by locals, Tienda Vieja is home to some fantastic live bands and usually plays a mix of salsa and Colombian reggaeton, hip hop and pop. The place does not offer much space to sit, meaning you’ll just have to get up and dance instead.
Out of town in Juanchito, the hub of all things salsa, Changó is a favorite for those who frequent the area, notorious for its late nights and serious salsa skills. While the club itself may have seen brighter days, the crowds keep on coming meaning it’s as busy as ever. Share the cab fee out of Cali to Juanchito and come with a local, the area can be a little rough around the edges.
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