The Spanish lessons and accommodation in Havana
In Cuba everything works a little differently then in the rest of Latin America. There is, for exmple, no school building with classrooms in Havana. The Spanish classes are given in either the house of the coordinator, the Spanish teacher or in your own host family. The host families are houses of Cuban families which are called 'casa particular'. You will have your own bedroom with its private bathroom and will receive two meals a day. The difference is that, sometimes you share these with the families, and sometimes you will have your own part of the house with more privacy. Please let us know your preference. Most of the time there will be more then one student in one casa particular. When you travel alone you will get a single room at no extra charge. The spacious rooms usually have a table with chairs, air-conditioning or a ventilator and a private bathroom. Breakfast and dinner are included. There are no group classes available in Cuba but when you travel with a friend or partner and have the same level of Spanish you can have your Spanish classes together. Sometimes you can have your laundry done at the casa particular and possibly even use the internet at the house for an additional fee. The first day the student will receive extensive information about his/her stay in Cuba; banks, money, possible excursions etc. All teachers have a university degree. The casas particulares are in the Vedado neighbourhood, around the corner from the University, 5 minutes from the Malecón (boulevard) and 20 minutes from the centre of Havana (a taxi to the centre costs $ 3). Cuba is a great country for people who are independent or travel together. If you are looking to meet lots of people the schools in Cuba are not ideal, please ask us for better location for that.
The school sometimes organizes parties and city tours, for which they charge a small fee. There are also day excursions in the weekend (± $ 20), for instance to Viñales, Soroa or Playas del Este. There is another weekend excursion going to Trinidad where you will spend the Saturday night. It is very easy to see the surroundings of Havana on your own. There are excellent tour busses that can take you anywhere, even for weekend trips.
Salsa dance lessons and music workshops
The school organizes salsa courses and music workshops (guitar and percussion); you can book them in advance with us (Salsa lessons are $ 40 per week and music lessons are $ 50 per week. The lessons are 5 days a week, one hour per day. You set the times with your teacher and possible other student(s).
We cannot book the transfer for you. You can simply take a taxi on arrival at the airport of Havana. The taxi to the house of the coordinator will cost approx. $ 25.
Included in the standard package in Havana
- Private or shared lessons with 2 people of 4 hours a day, five days a week.
(1 hour of lessons is 50 minutes).
- Study material.
- Registration fee.
- Accommodation in a casa particular with two meals per day during the study period from Sunday to Saturday.
|Cuba||Classes||hpd||1 wk||2 wks||3 wks||4 wks||extra week||extra night||transfer|
|mini group||4||$ 325||$ 551||$ 776||$ 1002||$ 300||$ 21||n/a|
|private||4||$ 398||$ 696||$ 994||$ 1292||$ 373||$ 31||n/a|
|Salsa lessons||priv/grp||1||$ 40||$ 80||$ 120||$ 160|
|Guitar / bongo||private||1||$ 75||$ 150||$ 225||$ 300|
Be aware: it is your own responsibility to have a valid visa for Cuba, you can usually obtain this when booking your flight.
COUNTRY INFO: CUBA
Cuba is the country where the socialist system, a typical Caribbean atmosphere, and a rich Spanish background go hand in hand. You will see big billboards with socialist slogans against a background of old colonial palaces and houses. 'This is the prettiest view human eyes have ever seen' is what Columbus wrote when, on his first discovery trip in 1492, he came upon Cuba. And it is true that Cuba is a great country. Cuba is surrounded by the cleanest sea of the world, has long stretching white beaches, mountains, lakes and quaint little villages where Cuban males, wearing their typical hats, ride horses through the small streets. The locals are very open and friendly, which can lead to you being, all of a sudden, on a Cuban dance party consisting of a lot of salsa, rum, sweat and dancing until the dawn!
In the 40's and 50's Cuba was a popular holiday destination of rich American tourists. After the socialist revolution of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the US severed all ties to Cuba in 1961. Now, after decades of isolation, it is possible again to visit Cuba as a tourist. Tourism is currently, together with the production of sugarcane, one of the pillars of the Cuban economy and it is growing fast. The socialist structure is harder and harder to maintain because of tourism. Cubans that make US dollars instead of Cuban pesos, like taxi-drivers, prostitutes and chambermaids, are becoming the new rich; they are the only ones that can buy in dollar stores. If the doorman gets a few good tips a month, he is richer than the dean of a University who gets paid in relatively useless pesos.
Because of eternal gas shortages in Cuba, the public transport system is very problematic. All bus stops have long lines of waiting people and Cubans call a bus that finally arrives, an 'aspirina' because it directly relieves the pain of waiting. Tourists use the many taxis available and it is normal to haggle over the price. Renting a car is a good alternative, you can easily do this in advance on-line at www.carrentalcuba.com. Cuba is the birthplace of salsa; it is in the blood of the Cubans and, therefore, there are many places where you can dance salsa. But you should be aware that it is much livelier, that is more passionate, than in the other Latin countries.
Please take note that internet access is a lot less available and more expensive in Cuba then elsewhere. There are also no ATM's where you can take out cash, you can sometimes take money out with a Visa card but cash and Traveller Cheques still are your best bet here. When booking with us, we send you extensive travel information so you will be well prepared.
Activities in Cuba
- Horseback riding.
- Mountain biking.
- Try a 'mojito': white rum, hierba buena (mint), limes, soda water and ice cubes.
- Plan your trip in July so you can see the Cuban carnival.
- Transport: taxis are cheap. When you encounter a friendly taxi driver ask his phone number so you can call him when you need a taxi again. You can travel with public transport but it might take a long time as there are no time tables for the busses.
CITY INFO: HAVANA
The largest Caribbean city, Havana, has 2,4 million inhabitants. In the lively 'Havana vieja', old Havana, there are many monuments dating back to the Spanish occupation. This old part of Havana has many bars, cafes, cosy patios filled with writers, poets, painters and intellectuals. The cultural heart of Cuba has cinemas, theatres and concert halls. Making contact with the locals is extremely easy here, they are curious about everything foreign.
Activities in Havana
- Drink a Mojito in La Bodeguita or La Floridita; both bars were frequented by many famous writers, such as Ernest Hemingway who wrote ' the old man and the sea' in Cuba.
- Visit a night club such as the 'Tropicana' for a spectacular show with scantily dressed women.
- Visit the Jardin Botánico Nacional de Cuba, Aquaria Nacional in the Mirarar neighborhood with salt water fish and dolphins or the aquarium in Lenin Parque that has sweet water fish or a cigar factory such as the 'Partagas' on Calle Inglaterra.
- Take a look at the Plaza de Armas in 'Havana Viejo', the oldest part of town which has a great view over the harbour. There is also a fort (La Fuerza, build in 1540), a palace where Spanish governors and Cuban presidents have resided and the church 'El Templete'.
- Visit a cathedral build by the Jesuits, Castillo del Moro, which was build in 1589 or the monastery 'Santa Clara'.
- The Presidential Palace (1922) now harbours the Museum of the revolution which gives a good portrait of Cuba's political evolution since the Slave Uprising until the invasion at the Bay of Pigs.
- Havana has many museums; go to the tourist information, Infotur, and ask for a list with addresses and a time table.
- If you want to go to the beach one day go to the beaches east of Havana: El Mégano, Santa Maria del Mar or Bucaranao.
- Visit Trinidad in the weekend, it is a very quaint little town where the men still ride fast on horseback through the streets.
Cuba has a tropical climate. January is the coldest month with 21ºC, July and August are the hottest with 28ºC. Especially the south east (Santiago de Cuba) has a refreshing wind most of the time. Rainy season is from May to September, which is also the time when tropical storms occur.
Come with Adiós Travel to learn Spanish in Havana, Cuba.