Let’s talk Salsa in Colombia. Salsa is one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Colombia. A mi me encanta la salsa but unfortunately is it my weakest area when it comes to dance. Only because I am not great at it does not stop me from trying to dance it anywhere and everywhere I go. I always learn a thing or two from a new dance partner. Well here I am in Cartagena thinking, “oh! I know the basics…I’ll be okay. Right?” Wrong! Salsa en Colombia is on another level. We got most of our Salsa dancing on at “Cafe Havana,” located in Getsamani. We loved that place so much that we moved hostels to be closer to it. There was a live band every night that we went on the weekend. The cover to get in was 15,000 COP (~$5 USD) which is actually considered expensive to someone that lives in Cartagena. After learning about the expensive part it explained why the club was made up of an older bougie crowd. At Havana I got my first glimpse of Cali style Salsa. It had me so dumbfounded that I sat down at the bar and observed how people danced it for almost an hour. After a few daiquiris I asked one of the girls to teach me. She was a great instructor but I was a horrible student. I could not get the double- front- back step down. She taught me other dance moves and commented that I was really good but I think she was just being nice. Nonetheless the nights spent at “Cafe Havana” were very memorable. The club is dimly lit, decorated with pictures of Cuban Salsa legends, a big bar, and a small stage up front where the Salsa bands play. Not once was I disappointed by the live music!
Other Salsa clubs we visited were “Quiebra Canto” and “Donde Fidel.” Both locations were also very unique. Quiebra Canto had a mixed crowd. It was a very colorful location, with cool decorative art, and some tasty mojitos. The club was made up of two dance floors and the best part were the balconies. My friends and I danced all night on the small balconies with the clock tower view in front of us.
“Donde Fidel” is located within the walled city. Right by the clock tower entrance. This salsa club was recommended to us by all the locals and I could see why. Salsa clasica clasica clasica! Como dicen en Colombia, un lugar bacano! The crowd at this place was a lot older but everyone there had clean dancing skills. The place is so far from a being a hip bar that the lights are all on. Not that there is anything wrong with a place not being new and hip. You could really tell that “Donde Fidel” is highly appreciated and loved by the locals. There are dozens and dozens of photos of the famous salseros that have visited the bar.
I don’t have video of myself dancing Cali style Salsa (thankfully) but here is a good clip of an awesome couple on YouTube. Maybe one day I will get it down.
Cafe Havana – Esquina, Cra. 10, Cartagena, Getsemaní, Colombia – Open till’ 4 a.m.
Quiebra Canto – Carrera 5, No.17- 76, Cartagena, Colombia – Open till’ 4 a.m.
Donde Fidel – Cra. 4, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia – In between De los Coches Square and Aduana Square – Open 24 hrs? haha!