Cuba is renowned for its rich heritage of music and dance and as Intrepid’s Claire Baxter discovered, you can’t help but tap your toes to the rhythms of Central America…
“Music and dance are everywhere in Cuba and definitely provided some of the great highlights of my trip. I’d been attending salsa classes for a year or two and was looking forward to practising with people who really knew how. When we arrived in Santiago our leader organised a fairly informal class in a private home so that we could all learn some basic steps and rhythms. Then before dinner we were taken to watch a band practise in what appeared to be akin to a garage. As well as being a wonderful opportunity to interact with the locals, the band encouraged us to get up and dance so that we could practise amongst ourselves without a whole club watching.
Our next stop was Camaguey and we were lucky enough to be there on a day when Eliades Ochoa, from the Buena Vista Social Club, was playing at a local venue. Our leader obtained tickets for our group and after a few rum <em>mojitos</em> we started hitting the dance floor with the locals and trying out our new moves.
The music really did provide a soundtrack to our entire trip through Cuba. There are bands playing in the streets, restaurants and <em>paladares</em>. Many of these bands are playing purely for tips, but it’s worth supporting them because they create such a great atmosphere – although I can live without hearing <em>Guantanamera</em> for a while!”
* Photo by Trina Warman – Intrepid Photography Competition