Here you find some information about the accommodation in Cuba. Nearly 20 years of experience with the organization of individual Cuba trips is giving us a good basis for evaluating the current situation concerning availibility, prices and comfort. Quality-oriented people who really want to get to know the country will defintitely appreciate these advices.
Santiago de Cuba - view from the window of one of our casas particulares
We‘ve been organizing customized stays in Cuba already when something like that officially wasn‘t possible.
Our goal is to enable you to enjoy a relaxing stay in Cuba and to have a genuine Cuba-experience. Of course this is also possible out of the „fortress“ of a hotel, but there are still alternatives. Places where you are close to the cuban rhythm of life and where you don‘t need to compromise on the comfort you desire. Both in Havana and in Santiago de Cuba.
In 2015 the number of tourists coming to Cuba has risen to about 20% over the previous year. That meant about 400,000 visitors more on the island. From autumn 2016 on there will be up to 110 flights a day between the US and Cuba. This represents an increase from 0 to 110. In 2015 there were already problems with the accommodation. How will it be when the Americans are coming?
Room in one of our Casas in the center of Havana
Quoting a swiss newspaper: „Where will all the tourists sleep?“ While there are more and more hotels and casas particulares (the cuban version of the bed & breakfast) some hotels were already in 2015 fully booked for weeks. Guests who got no more rooms, were suggested to look for a casa particular. But also here it was sometimes hard to find openings and/or the quality of the available accommodations were not recommendable by our standards.
Regarding the current situation some cubans speak of a new „periodo especial“. In the 90s this meant ”... much was missing for (a good) life“. Today it means that the country is overrun by tourists. Which not only leads to a shortage of housing, but also significant price increases for food.
Havana - view over the rooftops of the capital from the terrace of one of our Casas
In the arrangement of accommodation in Cuba „Danza y Movimiento“ accesses on its existing and proven infrastructure that we have built up for years. Through a well-established relationship with many landlords who remain loyal even in the face of the current situation, we can maintain the high standard in our apartments. Our casas are centrally located, offer high security, especially when compared to hotels – and friendly landlords that take care of our guests. Also there are our local representatives who look after both, – the guests and the quality of the accommodation.
In order to guarantee high quality standards and good service, we offer casas particulares or apartments only in places or regions that we find appropriate and where our representatives can check the quality any time.
In this PDF you can get an impression of our accommodations. The modern apartment shown on page 8 is located in Havana outside the center. You can rent apartments for your exclusive use in the center of Havana which are traditionally built. They offer a standard that is close to the casa particulares shown in the pdf.
You are welcome to click here to view our accommodations in Cuba ...
Also available in Havana ... outdoor facilities of an apartment in the area of Playa described in detail in the PDF
For two decades I've been watching the dance scene in Cuba. That is because after all, "Salsa dancing in Cuba" is a central aspect of the travel arrangements I offer. People who learn Salsa at „Danza y Movimiento“, – the first independent dance school in Cuba, with qualified Salsa-Instructors, – want to practice and test as soon as possible what they have learned. However, this is not as easy as one might think. The many music clubs, where often high-profile Cuban bands are playing are since time immemorial a pickup place.
Understandable, since the contact with tourists is a major source of income for many Cubans. Unfortunately that makes going out for dancing in Cuba in many locations less carefree than often described by tour operators. To go out for dancing as an individual in Cuba is not easy and sometimes really exhausting to my experience ...
Salsa with our dancers in Santiago de Cuba. Photo: Sabine Jacob
Usually it was easier for me if I went out while being accompanied by someone. But also here, it can happen that the dance-partner invites a lot of friends to the occasion who order happily their drinks at the expense of the host. Not to be a spoilsport and appear petty, such evenings are sometimes quite expensive, but can also be a lot of fun (if one doesn‘t care about the money too much).
As a result of the current tourist boom, the scene has changed again strongly in recent months. Drink prices go straight up. Most places where you can dance, are overcrowded. People who don‘t order somethng are prompted some places repeatedly and must otherwise leave the premises.
About a year ago: An american group from the program of „Danza y Movimiento“ dances at Hotel Inglaterra to live music. Photo: Alice Kupcik
Anyone who goes out dancing alone, be it man or woman, to whatever place, has increasing problems to find a dancing partner at all. Because less and less Cubans can afford entry or drink prices. Our American tour guide of the legal group-travel for US citizens, told me a few days ago about her experiences, while going out at night with her group: In some places were no Cubans at all – except our (paid) dancers who could dance well. The tour guide was constantly busy protecting the attendants from the onslaught of dance-willing tourists. People who had already been sitting around without dance partners throughout the whole evening and were bored stiff. (Our american tour groups go out in the evening with the dance partners from their Salsa dancing course and are accompanied by american and Cuban guides. Americans are still not allowed to travel for leisure to Cuba without an american travel companion.)
Dancing in Cuba is unfortunately more difficult than one might think. It took me years to accept the fact that dancing in Cuba is just different, to what I had imagined and also to what one is usually told.
Now, – how is it possible to practice all what yout have learned in Salsa lessons during your stay in Havana or Santiago de Cuba? I have spent a lot of thought on that one and tried out different things. The current status is as follows:
Salsa dancing in Santiago de Cuba. Photo: Sabine Jacob
In Santiago it has worked for several years very well, that the dance teachers go dancing together with the guests. This is included in the price of the dance course. The teachers drinks are of course paid by the dance students. All feedback from guests regarding these dances were previously positive.
Different in Havana. Apart from the fact that many dance partners in our Salsa classes in Havana are professional dancers who work on stage in the evening and therefore aren‘t available for dance accompaniment,... some of the feedback our guests have given, lead us to establish clear rules concerning accompanied dancing here.
I have therefore invented the Cuban Taxi Dancer. You are ”renting“ so to speak, a person who will accompany you for a certain number of evenings. Your companion introduces you into the scene and you practice on those evenings with him/her or with other people at the event. Plus, – dancing with others is in this context a lot easier. Since you are accompanied you are not exposed to any form of harassment or nerve-wracking pickup situations. This idea of „Taxi Dancer“ has been working well for a long time with Tango in Argentina.
Also in Cuba these clear agreements clarify the situation. In this way going dancing in Cuba comes close to what you might have thought it would be.
(fyi: We arrange dance companions only in connection with the booking of our travel packages. eg: three evenings with six hours of dance accompaniment cost about 190.- Euro. More details on request in connection with your booking.)
P.S. I don‘t dwell on writing „negative“ posts, but what I write truely reflects what I have experienced. In Cuba not everything is as it is presented to the outside. What are your experiences to go dancing as individual travelers / r in Cuba? You‘re welcome to write a comment ...
On the right, you will find a small forklift truck under the term “category”. Please set a filter here.
Now you can start browsing in the categories. You will be most successful in the tango department, but there are also some new Latin releases, which we received recently.
And, as it is common on a market in Latin America, you can negotiate prices! If you order more than 7 articles, make us a price offer with your order – and we will tell you if we can accept it or not. In case we do not accept it, you are not bound to your order...
Rob writes: "We had a great experience throughout. We've since talked with some others who've traveled there, and it's safe to say that none of them had anything like our trip! Anyway, thank you deeply for your hard work getting it together; it was a gas! Cheers, Rob and Elizabeth. Cuban music, Cuban dance, and Cuban culture reflect a unique mix of rhythms and peoples. We'd long sought the right licensed group trip -- still necessary -- that would take us into the heart of Havana. Elizabeth found this programme, which offered two hours drumming a day with pro teachers; three hours salsa dancing a day with gifted young dancers; and club dancing each night with the same dance partners, plus rooming in a Cuban home. Our slice of Cuba was close to the bone and not at all fancy, but it was full of life! There are many other ways to see Cuba; ours brought us close to real Cubans and allowed us to work one-on-one with elite dancers and musicians."
Today, we are giving you a short overview concerning the upcoming changes at "Danza y Movimiento". We will keep offering music and travels in the future – still, there will be a lot of changes…
Music department – CD sales and downloads in our own shop
We withdraw from this department. After many other legal adjustments, which had already made survival really hard for small suppliers, the new directive on the VAT system* that became effective on January 1st 2015, determined our end. This concerns our Club, which is influenced by the new tax regulations just like the download titles we offer. Until April 30th it will still be possible to order CDs in our shop. From then on, the ordering function will be deleted in our shop. However, we will still produce music and provide it via other online portals like for example iTunes. So our ambitious work will continue especially regarding tango…
Music department – music rights
We will develop this department further. This is interesting for everybody wanting to acquire music rights for their own productions. And nowadays this concerns especially audio-visual productions. We can offer a huge selection regarding tango music. No matter if you need music for a movie, a dance instruction DVD or just as the background music for a short video clip on Facebook, YouTube or your own website – we can offer thousands of titles. As we can also grant the right of use for more than 350 copyright-free tango tracks, our offer is highly interesting for producers of small or large films as well as for organizers of tango events. Quite often “copyright-free” is mistaken for music free of any other rights. Thus, we offer the possibility to use music legally and to guarantee that you will not have any legal problem on the basis of our contracts.
We will also expand this department: Tango in Argentina and Uruguay and especially our unique offer for dance and music vacations in Cuba. You cannot only book our all-year programme there (like for Buenos Aires and Montevideo), but there are regular individual journeys for small groups. We have legal offers for Americans to travel to Cuba Everybody who would like to learn “Salsa en Linea“, also called “New-York-Style”, is in good hands with us when travelling to Mexico (information in German language). It is possible to combine dance classes with cultural activities and Spanish language classes in all the countries mentioned.
Our newsletter and our blog will keep providing you with detailed information concerning all the topics mentioned here.
*Short information on the topic “Directive on the VAT system”
According to the new directive, all electronically provided services are subject to value-added tax in the country of the consumer. In other words, this means for our business that we as the vendor are obliged to submit a tax declaration in every single country of the customers who download music from our shop or pay a club membership fee. We have to charge every customer the VAT applicable in the specific country and indicate the tax amount on the respective invoice.
and although everything works more easily with other providers like iTunes or Amazon: and surely you already have an answer which might be that we want to earn money... Yes, this is completely correct - we want your money! But not because of the reasons you might think of. Apart from the fact that we enjoy earning money and that we are fine with becoming rich - if it would be possible with an independent download shop like ours anyway. Unfortunately, it is impossible ...
The laws of market economy, which apply also to the internet, are different: Everybody has the chance to become rich, but only few succeed. This is called monopolisation and no matter which commercial sector you might look at - this principle always applies! With due respect to your belief in the freedom of economy. This is something like believing in Santa Claus. And you are free to believe in this freedom... . But it is not for nothing that this freedom is called "neoliberalism“, thus "the new freedom". The new freedom is a form of dictatorship, which makes us believe that we are free and that all participants of the market can develop and spread themselves freely.
What does all this have to do with tango and our download shop? A simple answer: Nowadays, music is mainly bought by (still) two monopolists. As the purchase on their platforms is advertised everywhere, as it requires less effort and as the music in these shops can be found more quickly by the search engines, an independent shop hardly generates a turnover which allows its owners to finance themselves at all. This does not only affect us but also others. In other words, this signifies that we can only maintain our shop and the service implied if you don't spare the extra effort to buy your music with us. Only then, the shop can work at least cost-effectively.
To reject monopolisation is an individual process and it is not important what the others do. Our shop offers a lot of tango, about 5000 titles.
We are looking forward to your visit!
In the weeks to come, we will give away estimated 5000 CDs for free. We need the space and maybe you need our CDs. You can do with them whatever you want. You can give them to your friends, hand them out in your company, you can even visit bars and dance clubs and sell them. We don't want any money for them and we don't expect your service in return. You only pay us an expense allowance for our effort to prepare everything for you. This includes the shipping costs and a handling fee of 30 Euro, no matter if you receive 10, 20, 50 or 300 CDs from us.
And this is how it works: We announce the CDs we are going to give away for free in our newsletter, which you receive from us on a non-regular basis. You send us an email, how many CDs you are interested in and you tell us your delivery address. We will confirm your order and tell you if there are still enough CDs in stock. Furthermore, we will tell you our bank details you can transfer the handling fee to. On receipt of payment, we will send the CDs to you.
At the moment and according to our newsletter dated October 8th, we give away for free:
Wonderful prospects for all friends of Electrotango: Narcotango is visiting Europe and presents the current album "Cuenco":
27th of August in Frankfurt, Germany
29th of August in Frankfurt Festival MuseumSuferFest, Germany
30th of August in Flensburg Deutsches Haus, Germany
3rd of September in Heerlen Spiegeltent Festival Cultura Nova, Netherlands
6th of September in Bern Kulturcasino, Switzerland
9th of September in Wroclaw Stary Klasztor Festival Ethno Jazz, Poland
5th of December in Brasov Brasov Jazz Festival, Rumania
Click on the following CD cover and get a little foretaste:
With recordings from the Orquesta Donato-Zerillo, Edgardo Donato, the Orquesta Bianco-Bachicha, the Orquesta Típica Juan Sanchez Gorio, Roberto Grela and his conjunto de guitarras, Edmundo Rivero, Alberto Gomez, Cayetano Puglisi, Carlos Gardel and Alberto Castillo we give new impetus to our series "Tango Classics", which already consists of 233 albums. Follow this link and get an impression of the new releases: