Practical information

 

Most people choose to travel by Air France via Paris or KLM via Amsterdam, as it is often the cheapest. Condor, who is also good and cheap, has also begun flying to Cuba. However, they mostly only allow 20 kg per person. Aeroflot is also cheap, but there is a lot of waiting time in Moscow.

 

Keep in mind that the authorities are strict and do not allow liquids, toothpaste, deodorants and the like to be transported. in the hand luggage. However, you can buy all of this in the tax-free shop and get it delivered by the gate. Note that there is a long way from one end of the airport to the other end in Paris.

 

It's a long trip to Cuba and you have to be prepared for maybe a few hours to get the luggage delivered in Havana. Also, be patient with passport registration in Havana. It may take time. Cubans are not known for their speed.

 

It costs between 25 and 35 CUC in a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Here the students tend to share this expense. You can get CUC in the airport, but only exchange a little for the first couple of days, since the exchange rate at the airport is not very good.

 

There is a new law in Cuba that states if you do not have health insurance, you have to pay for one on arrival. So be sure to have your papers with your travel insurance on you at arrival in Havana.

 

The hotel

 

Single rooms are available for anyone who does not request a double room. The rooms are allocated on arrival, but the hotel needs your passport to check you in. Please send us your passport number in advance.

 

You have the option of renting a safety box for the room. It costs 2 CUC per day, payable on departure. The first evening it is possible to have dinner. It is included in the price and is served between 19.00-22.00 every evening in the hotel restaurant. Breakfast is served between 07:00 and 10:00.

 

Our guide will be available Sunday morning at 11:00 if there is someone who needs extra help regarding change of room or anything else.

 

The hotel is in a quiet neighbourhood. It's about 10-minute drive to a small beach. Bring swimwear as there is a pool at the hotel and we also will go on a trip to the Santa Maria beach.

 

You can have friends visiting the hotel. Cubans can only be at the hotel if they have a real errand. Cubans must not enter the rooms unless they have checked in and thus live at the hotel. Laundry can be delivered in a bag to the staff, and be washed for a small fee. There is internet connection at the hotel and it works (but slowly). It costs 6 CUC per hour.

 

Welcome, and info meeting will take place Monday morning, where everyone will meet in the hotel café at 9:00.

 

Valuta

 

1 CUC = approx 7 DKK

 

You can not exchange Cuban Dollars Convertibles (CUC) from home. You may not confuse CUC with the local pesos, which Cubans use in the rationing shops, but as foreigners cannot use. The Cuban Dollar (CUC) follows the exchange rate of the US dollar and is usually somewhat lower than the euro. Everywhere this is referred to dollars, it is CUC that is thought of. On http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/ you can see the currency for both the local pesos and the CUC.

 

Everybody should bring EUROS from home. EUROS cannot be used as payment but can be exchanged for CUC at the airport while waiting for your luggage. They can also be exchanged in a bank, which is a 5-minute walk from the hotel. DO NOT try to change on the street!

 

It is possible to use VISA cards in the vending machines, but keep in mind that there is a fee every time. However, it is only possible to raise 250 CUC daily depending on the exchange rate. It is better to bring cash from home (EURP).

 

It's hard to say anything about how much money you need in pocket money. An estimate is approx. 4000 DKK. Before leaving, you should exchange your pocket money to EURO. There is also the possibility to exchange Danish kroner at the shopping centre in Havana city centre. However, there is not much to buy in Cuba besides CDs, rums, cigars and some art. On the other hand, there is always something going on. If you want to go to music events there's usually an entrance fee.
 

Vaccinations and mosquitoes

 

It is a good idea to be vaccinated against tetanus and Hepatitis A. It is also a good idea to have a mosquito balm from home. It's hard to get in Cuba, and there may be mosquitoes in the morning and evening. There is no mosquito net in the rooms, but it is not necessary either. Remember your own medicine if you take something special as it is expensive to buy medicine in Cuba.

 

Teaching

 

That's what it's all about. Teaching takes place at the hotel and in the premises close by. You will be divided into three teams, one for beginners, one for intermediate and one for advanced. Two of the teams dance indoors and one outdoor. The first day the instructors will figure out your levels and get you placed at the optimal team.

 

Everyone gets a Cuban dance partner, and the teaching itself is taught by two teachers. There is an English interpreter available on each team, who translates from Spanish to English when required. You must be prepared for your dance partner not to speak English. Our teachers and assistants are good at showing the exercises slowly, but one must be prepared for another kind of educational method than used in Denmark. They have another way of teaching, but it also works. You really get value for money.

 

If the chemistry between a student and a dance partner does not work, we try to get another. Everyone must prepare for the cultural experience to understand the local mentality and energy that are very exciting. We always make sure to get a number of tall guys for the tall girls. Men must expect those dance partners in Cuba are lower than themselves. But they are some super qualified and good dancing partners.

 

We start every day with an information meeting at. 9.15 in the morning, which everyone will attend

 

The first day is the meeting at 9.00. Around 9.30 there is a warm-up, where there are also other types of dance, such as son and rumba. Then there are three hours of dance, with a total break of approx. 30 min, so you can have a little to eat. It's a long time to dance so it's a good idea to bring soft shoes, such as rubber shoes.

The floor we dance on is a bit hard. You are sweating a lot, so you bring a number of T-shirts. There are no rules for dancing in shorts or long pants. Bring whatever training outfit you feel comfortable to move in. 

 

Tours and nightlife

 

On the first day of the course, we will take you on a tour of Havana Vieja, which is the old part of Havana.

There is also the possibility of other tours if desired. We often go out late in the afternoon where many good bands are playing. And also so we're not too tired, to dance again the next morning. If you want to watch a dance show or cabaret shows (great feathery headgear and suits), you should be prepared that it's not cheap. It costs approx. 30-40 CUC.

 

We also tend to go to Rumba and folklore sites. During the weekends, we go out and see some of the biggest groups playing in the evening. In Cuba, there is a tradition of wearing nice clothes when going out in the evening.

 

On Sundays, we usually go out and enjoy the day on the amazing Santa Maria beach, which is only 30 minutes from Havana. It is your own choice whether you want to participate in these activities.

 

Dance Partners

 

As most probably know, Cubans do not have much money. When you invite your dance partner to the city, you're going to pay for them. It's up to you if you want to invite your partner. But it's usually a good idea because you have one to dance with that you then feel comfortable with. You will usually agree to meet with him/her in front of the dance venue, after which you pay the entrance fee. It is relatively cheap to go out, but the price depends on which band is playing. The entrances are between 5-20 CUC.

 

Remember! You pay all the costs associated with your dance partner when you go out (both entrance and drinks, and if you like, also their taxi home). The Cubans receive their salary in local pesos from school, which corresponds to approx. 20 CUC per month. That's why they don't have much money to live for. When and if you take your dance partner in town during the stay, he/she will try to pay his own entrance fee in local pesos (100-200 of them equivalent to 5-10 CUC), if possible. Thus, he/she saves money and it will also be cheaper for you. If your dance partner helps you get money exchanged for local pesos, there will be no additional exchange fees. You can also use the local currency to buy fruit, pizza, water or the like at the premises stalls in the city.

 

Presents

If some of you have clothes, t-shirts, teddy bears, toys or the like that you do not need anymore and you have space in your suitcase, the Cubans will be more than delighted to accept it. Everything can be used in Cuba.

 

Cubans are very grateful people and have very limited opportunities to buy things such as pens, lighters, perfumes and clothes. It is therefore highly recommended to bring such things as presents.

 

 

The food

Cuba is known for many exotic things, but not for its cooking. You get excellent food with fruit, vegetables and meat, as well as fish in the hotel, but there is not much variety. It is a great idea to have yoghurt pills to stabilize the stomach. But if you just stop drinking water or eating seafood on the street, you're pretty safe. Take snacks and fruit from home, which you can not buy down there.

 

Tips

As mentioned, Cubans receive very little money from school to be employed as dance partners for 14 days on the course. Therefore, we have a rule that the students pay a tip when the course is over. Tips for one's dance partner will be paid on the last day of teaching (Friday). The amount is 200 Euro for two weeks. From the management side, we pay teachers and translators. For a number of reasons, we have chosen not to include this amount in the course price, as there is a psychological reason that the course participant should give a tip to their dance partner.

 

As travellers in Cuba, one expects to get a tip. Calculate about 5-10% in tips at restaurants, and for guides and the like.

 

Shopping and pocket money

 

You can buy cigars, rum and CDs with local musicians. The latter costs about the same as in Denmark. In addition, it is limited what you can buy in Cuba, and things are generally expensive because of the embargo. This means that the few countries that trade with Cuba have some sort of monopoly status. Expect to spend about 4000 DKK during the entire stay.

 

Electricity

 

There are 110 volts in Cuba. However, there is one outlet in the hotel room with 220 volts. It is the connector to which the air conditioner is connected. Should you use electricity, you can either bring devices that can handle 110 volts or bring a small transformer that can switch from 110 to 220 volts, which our appliances usually fit.

 

Water and toilet paper

 

You can't drink the tap water and it is advisable to buy water in larger quantities, as water in the supermarket may be sold out and the next store may be far away. There is a small kiosk at the hotel and there is a larger supermarket approx. 5 minutes walk away. The humidity is high in Cuba and you need to drink a lot of water.

 

There will never be toilet paper in public restrooms in Cuba. It is therefore advisable to always have some toilet paper in the bag when you are out. Generally, the toilets are spartan in relation to Danish conditions.

 

It is very important not to throw toilet paper in the toilet bowl, it must be in the bucket next to the toilet. This also applies to the hotel.

 

Weather

 

The weather in Cuba is generally good at all time of the year. But when there's rain, you'll notice it! It's a good idea to bring an umbrella and some shoes that can withstand water. See weather conditions at www.dmi.dk

 

Visa

 

A visa is required for travelling to Cuba. Read about the purchase of tourist visas under the menu "Salsa courses in Cuba" at the point "Tourist Visas to Cuba".

 

Additional travel tips

 

• 1 CUC = approx. 7 DKK

 

• Phone coverage: There is coverage in Cuba, but it is expensive to receive and send SMS. Check with your mobile company before departure.

 

• 'Via Azul' - is a cheap travel company for travelling around Cuba.

 

• Casa de la Musica (located close to our hotel) - one should definitely visit. In addition to the performances, there are matiné at 18-21 a clock.

 

• Entrance to the various dance venues - 10-20 CUC (5-10 CUC for Cubans, for paying with peso cubano).

 

• Salsa and music venues in Havana can be found online here: http://promociones.egrem.co.cu/

 

• When you invite your dance partner, you must provide drinks and, if necessary, 5-10 CUC to a taxi home.

 

• We can make an appointment with the hotel that we eat breakfast and lunch for some of the days instead of breakfast and dinner (included in the price). Just remember to say it for breakfast if you want to have lunch instead.

 

• Take a sandwich for your dance partner from the breakfast buffet, and they will be happy (many of them will work on an empty stomach).

 

• Exchange money at the airport, but only for the first couple of days (maybe 100 Euro). There is a bank at street 41 (close to the hotel). Please do not exchange at the reception, as the exchange rate is poor.

 

• Buy a lot of water at the supermarket, which is close to the hotel.

 

• NEVER go out 2 girls in the town alone.

 

• Remember to book a massage at the hotel. It's amazing and costs only 15 CUC

 

• You can maximum bring 1 litre of rum and two boxes of cigars to DK.

 

• There is a shopping centre at Hotel Comodoro - 5-10 min. by taxi.

 

• There is a market at Catedral Square, where you can find art and other fine things.

 

• Saturday and Sunday there is a possibility to book a sailing trip and look for dolphins and swimming with them, and it is highly recommended (approx. 120 CUC). Ask at the hotel reception.

 

• If you want a Cuban guest for an overnight stay, you have to pay 32 CUC at the reception, it covers accommodation and breakfast.

 

• "1830" is one of the most popular dance venues - only open Thursday and Sunday evenings.

 

• Taxi from city to hotel costs max 10 CUC. You can also go down the street corner and take a local taxi that you share with others and only pay 2 CUC. However, they only drive one route.

 

• A good idea is to take Protein bars, or what you like from home, as it can not be bought over there.

 

• Be careful about eating seafood (not at the hotel, but elsewhere)

 

• There are good fish restaurants on the Santa Maria beach.

 

• Remember to bring your vaccination card.

 

• At the hotel, we are registered under ADA Travel

 

• You can ask for a list of the other guests for the dance course' rooms so that you can call each other.

 

• Remember to take a bottle of water from the plane, as the waiting time for the duty may last up to 2 hours.

 

• When returning home, check in at least 2 hours before.

 

 

We recommend printing this information and bringing it on the journey.

 

Cubakultur v/ ElStudio

Blågårdsgade 37, st.

2200 København N.

Danmark

CVR: 26170974

+45 20 98 74 77

info@cubakultur.dk