After Class Activities
Our program allows you plenty of time to discover your new country, culture, traditions, and everyday life after your class is over. Activities offered include: Guided city tours in Havana Vieja & Center Havana including visit of museums (Che Guevara Museum) and markets, Salsa music at "Casa de la Musica" or "Casa de la Amistad", Beaches of Playas del Este. Other places of interest include wonderful colonial churches, intriguing revolutionary monuments and the "Gran Teatro de la Havana", the oldest functioning theatre in the Americas. The Centre "Wilfredo Lam" displays the works of one of Cuba s leading modern painters and presents exhibitions by artists from other developing countries. Get yourself started for a trip to Havana with the links below:
Salsa is often revered as one of the most complex Latin dances. As it has come to represent one of the Caribbean's favourite past times, it has in turn evolved into a worldwide phenomenon with dancing studios and salsa clubs popping up all over the world. Grab a partner and hit the dancefloor while you become immersed in this cultural experience of a lifetime!
5 afternoons per week/10 lessons (Monday-Friday): $140 per person
Main Sights: Get to Know Havana
Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagas
A visit to Havana would not be complete without a tour of a cigar factory and the Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagas is one of the oldest. The cigars are still rolled by hand and to this day there is a tradition of someone being employed to read to the workers while they work.
Plaza de la Catedral
The Plaza de la Catedral (La habana vieja) is one of the most beautiful and best preserved squares in Havana with the surrounding buildings almost all restored to their original splendor.
Museum of the City of Havana
The Museum of the City of Havana (Museo de la Ciudad) now occupies the magnificent old Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, once home of the highest colonial authority in Cuba and a former Presidential Palace. This popular museum gives an overview of the history of Havana from its founding until the present day.
The oldest building in the square is the impressive Castillo de le Real Fuerza, a sixteenth century colonial fortress surrounded by a moat, today home to the Ceramic Museum (Museo de la Ceramica Artistica Cubana).
Historical and Military Park
Built by the Spanish in the sixteenth century, this military fort "Parque Historico Militar Morro-Cabana" at the entrance to the harbor offered protection from enemy ships and pirates. The fort contains a collection of old weapons including a huge catapult. Every evening at 2100 a cannon is fired across the bay.
Excursions: Explore More of The Region
San Francisco de Paula
Fans of Hemingway will enjoy a visit to the village of San Francisco de Paula and the house where he lived. The house and its contents are preserved as he left them and have been turned into a museum displaying personal items and photographs. Close by is the village of Cojimar, that is believed to have inspired his book, The Old Man and the Sea.
East Havana Beaches
Just 25 minutes from Havana are 14 km (eight miles) of white sandy beaches at Bacuranao, Megano, Boca Ciega, Santa Maria and Guanabo. These are mainly frequented by Cubans, so are particularly busy at weekends but there are plenty of restaurants along the beaches.
The scenery in the Vinales Valley is very dramatic with mogotes (limestone hills) rising up from the lush green valley floor. The area is also the tobacco-growing region of Cuba and visits can be made to one of the local cigar factories. Alternatively, the Guayabita del Pinar Liquor Factory that produces a liqueur exclusive to the region can be visited. A boat trip on the subterranean San Vicente River passes through the El Indio Cave System.
To sample a little bit of paradise a trip to Varadero, Cuba s premier beach resort is only two and a half hours away. Varadero is situated on a slim peninsular of land, 20 km (12 miles) long, that reaches out into the Atlantic. The white sand and aquamarine sea have been a favorite with visitors for decades.
Architecture: Discover Unique Styles & Structures
Cathedral San Cristobal
The "Cathedral de San Cristobal de la Habana" is an attractive eighteenth century baroque building that dominates the north side of the square.
Museum of Colonial Art
Housed in the oldest building in the square, dating from 1720, is the Museum of Colonial Art (Museo de Arte Colonial), an architectural masterpiece, built around a central courtyard containing tropical plants, and complemented by the collection of colonial furniture from the grand mansions. Other sophisticated houses line the square house cafés, restaurants and the post office.
Hotel Ambos Mundos
The Hotel Ambos Mundos, a stylish 1920s building, played host to Ernest Hemingway during much of the 1930s. In room 511, he began to write For Whom the Bell Tolls and the room has been left pretty much as it was when Hemingway was a guest, including his typewriter. The hotel reopened a few years ago after major renovations and has a lovely rooftop terrace bar to enjoy the view after seeing Hemingway s room.
Nightlife: Let s Get The Party Started
Havana is a dynamic place for nightlife and the choice of venues is endless. It is also a great place for live music and you do not even to go to a club to hear it, as there is plenty on the streets. The social scene does not get going until about 10pm and, as there are no official licensing hours, clubs and bars tend to close when the last customer leaves, normally between 2 and 3am.
The free city listings paper, Cartelera, has a list of what s on around the city, including any gigs for famous bands such as the Buena Vista Social Club or Los Van Van. Generally Cubans expect to dress up when going out and most clubs have a rule of no shorts, T-shirts or jeans. Many clubs charge an entrance fee and this can be as little as US$1 or up to US$10 and more.
Cuba is synonymous with music and most Cubans are passionate about it. Trova is ballad-style singing to the accompaniment of a guitar, and most towns have a Casa de la Trova, where a pleasant evening can be spent; guajira is country-style music and the most famous song, heard all over the island, is Guantanamera. Most famous of all is salsa whose evocative rhythms have swept the world.
Other forms of music with their roots in Cuba have put the country on the musical map. The rhumba was developed in Cuba, a combination of Afro-Cuban music for voice and percussion, which is now accompanied by a passionate dance. The chachacha was originally popularised between the 1930s and 50s and is still performed to this day.
The Cuban Government has seen fit to encourage all forms of culture and most towns have at least one theatre. Standards tend to bevery high and Cuban performers have made their mark on the world stage in a variety of forms.