Counting the beat in Cuba

cuba-dance-cation

When there are two things in life that you love, why not find a way to do both? Laura Rinderknecht did just that on her tour of Cuba

“I love to travel. I also love to salsa dance. With Intrepid now being able to run tours to Cuba via Miami, I combined my two passions into a ‘dancation’ to Cuba and my heart nearly exploded with excitement.

dancing on the beach in cuba

I danced my way through each city we stopped in. I spent the nights dancing outdoors with the locals almost always to the music of live bands. It was sweltering and generally after two dances I would be dripping with sweat. Luckily, so was everyone else.

Over the course of the trip I danced in music clubs, hotels, on the side streets, in restaurants, in the middle of the road (we just HAD to pull over the taxi and dance to the song that was playing at the time), and one night I watched the sunset over the beach and then danced the night way with the sand between my toes.

Trinidad was definitely one of my favorite cities in Cuba, rightly being named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. Kids played soccer on cobblestone streets, the center was full of brightly colored buildings and horse drawn carts and live music seemed to be around every corner.

One evening, our group leader Tony arranged for us to have dinner on the beach near Trinidad. While there are resorts near Trinidad, I have always been grateful to be able to fly under the radar during my travels – to experience real life outside of the tourist venues.

We hired our own drivers who drove their antique Chevys out of town to the beach. We had an amazing dinner of fresh fish and other local treats cooked by our host families. 

cuba_havana_jazz_festival_128960785

After seeing numerous locals with cake during the day, our group leader even arranged for a cake to celebrate the birthday of one of our fellow travelers. I ate the best meal of the trip as we watched the sun set over the ocean.

Since Tony knew that several of us were also hungry for a clave (the wooden musical instrument that keeps the beat during salsa music), after dinner he even arranged to have live musicians play traditional Cuban music. Our group leader and drivers built a giant fire with driftwood. Locals from the nearby city also joined us and we salsa danced by the glow of the fire until the flames died down and the mojitos were gone. Magic!”

Photo: sunset salsa on the beach by Laura Rinderknecht.

Ever felt the music move you on the your travels and simply had to dance?

About the author

Laura Rinderknecht - Laura has travelled to over 50 countries and she's done so many Intrepid trips that she's reached 'Intrepid Legend' status!

5 comments

Can we actually go to Cuba from the US?

Shirley Malakoff / Reply

Laura Rinderknecht’s blog about “Counting the beat in Cuba” interests my partner and I greatly. We would like to go to Cuba and experience the culture and especially the dancing. We do not want to go to an All Inclusive and sit around a pool for one week or two! Three local travel agents have not been able to help us. Can you? Thank you in advance.

It is easy to travel around Cuba on the coaches (Viazul). There is unlimited B and B accommodation (Casas particulares) which can be booked ahead or you can find somewhere along the way.

Book a return ticket to Havana and just go with the flow :) It’s pretty easy to travel in Cuba on your own, and music always find you – or just listen to the beats at night…

Hi Shirley and Diann. Intrepid is able to take Americans to Cuba through our partner, International Expeditions. Please contact our US office at 800-970-7299 for further details.

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