Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
The school and the accommodation
Like in Havana you will have your classes of four hours a day and five days a week at the house where you will stay or at the house of the teacher. Here you can speak of real host families: you will eat together with the family and have loads of possibilities to speak with them. Most of the time there will be more students in one host family.
The casa particulares are located about 10 minutes from the Parque Céspedes, the centre of Santiago. Every Thursday all students get together at one house and you will receive information about the city and possible excursions. So meeting other students will not be a problem. If you want you can also take 'clases practicas', which means you can visit a museum, market or a cemetery with your teacher. This way you not only learn Spanish but also about the local culture.
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).
Activities organized by the school
- Visit museums and historical sites in Santiago.
- At night you can visit cultural centres such as La Casa de la Trova Tradicional, Casa de la Musica, Casa de los dos Abuelos, Artex, or La Casa de los Tradiciones.
- Weekends there are excursions to several destinations. The price depends on the number of participants. A few examples are:
- To the beach of Playa Siboney, Playa Juragua or Playa Caleton.
- To the 'Bahia' with a visit to Cayo Grandma.
- To 'Castillo del Moro' or the 'Jardin de los Helechos'.
- To 'Gran Piedra' , 'Salton' or Baracoa.
- Visit 'Cabaret Tropicana' or 'Cabaret SanPedro del Mar'.
You can either book a flight to Havana and a flight from Havana to Santiago. The domestic flight can usually not be made on the same day as your arrival in Havana, so you will have to spend the night in Havana. We can book a single room in a simple hotel in Havana for $ 36 or $ 55 for a double room. The next day you take a taxi which you can arrange at the desk of the hotel for $ 17. If you have booked a transfer with us, you will be awaited at the airport of Santiago and taken to your casa particular.
The standard package in Santiago de Cuba
- 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 with a host family/casa particular in a single room with two meals per day during the study period from Saturday to Saturday.
- Optional: One night in a hotel in Havana ($ 36 for a single room, or $ 55 for a double).
- Optional: Transfer from the airport to the host family in Santiago ($ 15).
|Cuba||Classes||hpd||1 wk||2 wks||3 wks||4 wks||extra week||extra night||transfer|
|Santiago de Cuba
|private||4||$ 406||$ 727||$ 1072||$ 1390||$ 310||$ 25||$ 11|
|Santiago de Cuba
|group||4||$ 355||$ 618||$ 881||$ 1120||$ 240||$ 18||$ 11|
|Salsa lessons||priv/grp||1||$ 40||$ 80||$ 120||$ 160|
|Guitar / bongo||private||1||$ 50||$ 100||$ 150||$ 200|
Be aware: it is your own responsibility to have a valid visa for Cuba, you can 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 but should be done from Holland. We can help you with it. 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 n ATM's where you can take out cash, you can sometimes take money out with a Visa card but Traveller Cheques are your best bet here. When booking with us, we send you extensive travel information so you can 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: SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Santiago is a very pleasant town to stay in for a longer period. Compared to Havana it is more tropical (not only temperature wise) and has a nice small town feeling. Sitting on one of the many benches at the Plaza de Dolores, one can enjoy looking at the passing American cars from the 50's. On this square a band is often playing and this is also the place for locals to hang out. The old centre, Parque Céspedes, is a three minute walk from the Plaza de Dolores. Here you can find the cathedral, the house of Diego Velázquez (now a colonial museum) and the former city hall. Because Santiago is a university city there are many cultural things to see. In some bars there is a live band every night. The local "Festival de Caribe" is held from July 3 to 9 and has traditional African dances and costumes. Santiago has 565.000 inhabitants.
Activities in Santiago de Cuba
- Visit 'El Jardin de Siberia', a botanic garden 2 kms before 'El Gran Piedra'. From here you can see Haiti on a clear day. It is 32 kms from Santiago. One must be in good condition to do this.
- Visit 'Castillo del Morro', a fort with museum on a rock overhanging the sea.
- You can take a boat to Cayo Granma; a small island just of the coast.
Visit a rum factory, 10 minutes from the centre and/or the Bacardi museum.
- On Plaza Céspedes and the Plaza Dolores there are often bands playing live, it is an excellent place to sit and observe daily life in Santiago.
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 Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.