There are two locations available for the Spanish and Dance program - Havana and Trinidad. Both destinations are bursting with atmosphere and vibrancy, they are culturally rich and tell the story of Cuba’s colonial era wealth and importance. Both have a rich musical and dance heritage and boast a fantastic nightlife.
Havana is an exciting city with many interesting neighbourhoods. However, to experience the "real" Havana you should stay in Habana Vieja. Here you are located next to the best bars and nightlife, and during the daytime you will be living among the real Habanos working in shops, bars, art galleries and going about their daily lives in this atmospheric part of the city. Havana has a unique distinction, being the safest city in the Caribbean and Latin America generally. There are a number of reasons for this, but what it means for the curious traveller is that you will be able to enjoy unprecedented access to local people as you wander around the ‘barrio’ that makes up Habana Vieja.
Trinidad is one of the Caribbean's best-preserved examples of a town from the era of the sugar-trade and Spanish colonialism. The architecture is impressive and beautiful, and the town as a whole is one of the most typical and characteristic examples of classic Cuba with pastel coloured houses, pretty churches and cobbled streets. The town is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its outstanding cultural and architectural importance. Around Trinidad there are plenty of things to see: the beautiful El Escambray mountains, Casilda Bay and its nearby islet with crystal clear waters, white sand and fantastic diving and snorkelling opportunities. The Valley de los Ingenios (the Valley of the Sugarmills) is another World Heritage site.
Your Spanish classes in Havana take place in the morning from Monday to Friday 09:00-11:45. The sessions comprise of 3 x 45-minute lessons spaced with 15 minute breaks, which makes 15 hours per week. The lessons are held at Casa Jakera by an accredited and licensed Cuban teacher. On the first morning there will be a short test to establish your level and requirements. We cater for students at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Private dance classes (teacher student ratio 1:1) take place each afternoon Monday to Friday, usually from 14:00-15:00. You will be taken through your paces - lessons will feature Salsa but depending on your progress you may also be introduced to Son, Rueda de Casino, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, and Rumba and perhaps a few moves you haven’t even heard of! The lessons are delivered a short walk from your Casa by a licensed dance instructor, and in the evenings there are many free live music venues where you can do your homework. Please note that for dance classes you should dress appropriately as you would if you are going out. Look good, feel good!
On your first day in Havana or Trinidad you will be taken on a walking tour - late morning, before lunchtime - to familiarize you with your new surroundings and to give you a flavor of opportunities to enjoy your free time in this exciting location. In Trinidad you will be treated to talks by your host on the ‘Origins of Cuban Dance & Music’. This is a pretty extensive subject on which your host is both knowledgeable and passionate. Trinidad is home to Afro Cuban music and culture but you will discover that most musical genres the world over contain elements that can be traced to Cuba.
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There are lots of museums, great restaurants and bars and clubs you can visit while in Havana.
Your accommodation is at ‘Casa Jakera’, a licensed Casa Particulare. Casa Particulares are government licenced ‘private homestay’ accommodation whereby Cubans are permitted to rent out one or two bedrooms in their home to paying guests. However, the licensing regime has recently been extended to include larger hostal style accommodation.
Casa Jakera features shared bedrooms, separate shower and toilet facilities, dining rooms and lots of comfortable indoor and outdoor space, including a spacious roof terrace. Here you can enjoy hanging out with new friends or chilling on your own to enjoy the cool breezes and great views of the streets below. As with most of Havana you will enjoy taking in the atmosphere in this central location which is truly unique.
Paying a single room supplement you have the option to stay in another nearby Casa with your own room and en suite bathroom. Either way breakfast and lunch are served at Casa Jakera which is the hub of program activities, as this is also where Spanish lessons are taken as well as group discussions, planning meetings and impromptu social gatherings.
Should you wish to book additional nights at a Casa Particular, this can be done via your travel advisor at a rate of 35 EUR per night per person in a shared room, or 46,50 EUR per night in a private room.
Your arrival transfer is included. Local transportation during the program is at own cost.
If you combine a 3 or 4-week stay in Havana and Trinidad, please note that transport between Havana and Trinidad is NOT included in the price. You can take a bus which takes around 4 and a half hours. The cost is approx. 35 USD in each direction and you book and pay for this locally.
Breakfast and lunch are included and served at Casa Jakera.