There is something about Havana that makes everyone to fall in love at first sight. Could it be its romantic aroma to the 50s? Or perhaps it is the old cobblestone plazas and streets?
Or maybe it’s the salsa, rumba and cha-cha heard in every corner at night?
For Javier Rodriguez, definitely the “salsa son” is the reason why every visitor doesn’t want to leave the city. “When the tourists see a Salsa show they don’t doubt it and start dancing”, says this young writer and the City Manager of a new tour company in town.
Every Thursday and Saturday he crawls around the best nightclubs, salsa discos and bars of Havana. He’s in charge of the Havana Nightlife Tour, one of the three free walking tours of Strawberry Tours.
This London Company arrived to Havana last December and offer free tours under the premise “pay for what you think it’s worth it”. Javier says these tours allow everyone to enjoy the fun and history of Havana without paying a fortune.
Basically at the end of the tour, every visitor would tip the City guide only if they like the tour. This business model seems to work for the startup that is already in 7 cities: London, Madrid, Rio, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Havana.
On the Havana Nightlife Tour, Javier recommends the best places to drink or to enjoy the sound of the Buena Vista social Club and Guantanamera.
Everything starts at Floridita, the most famous bar because it was Ernest Hemingway’s favorite and where he created the lime Daiquiri. This place is adorned with pictures of the famed American writer and even his own statue. And if we are lucky we get to hear the local band singing “Besame Mucho”.
At Floridita we also can discover the secret ingredient of the only drink capable of competing with Daiquiri. We are talking about Cuba’s national cocktail: Mojito.
According to locals the other mojitos in the world are bad imitation. What do you think?
And just because the night is so young, Javier take his tourists from bar to bar, listening to salsa music played live in Teniente Rey or the Art Pub.
At the end we stop at the best restaurant in town: La Terraza de Manolo. What’s so special about it? It has the best rooftop in the city with a 360-degree view of Old Havana. This is a spot that only Strawberry Tours knows!
Here we don’t only have a Live Salsa show, but we can forget about the fear and try our first steps with a professional Salsa dancer.
As you might know Salsa is the soul of Cuba and there is not a better place to learn to dance salsa than in the most romantic rooftop. Don’t worry about the crowds, because usually the classes are small groups and you can grab a partner right away.
Without any doubt, this Havana Tour by night is perfect to discover the true essence of Cuba, just how the great Cuban writer Dani Chaviano explained it. He said once that “through Cubans veins no blood runs, only fire”. He assured that the biggest charm and fault of Cubans is that “we are made of music”.
You can find out more about Strawberry Tours here! With so many Americans now visiting Cuba, this is a great resource for exploring the city!