If you are keen on learning Salsa, Cali is the place to do it. Known as the Salsa Capital of the World, Cali has more annual World Salsa Championship winners than anywhere else.
Here’s how you can learn basic salsa in a single week’s trip including private lessons, group lessons, and the best clubs in town.
First, get a head start with private morning classes. Search for a teacher online or contact Osiris Gutierrez if you speak a bit of Spanish on 316 870 2668.
From Monday to Thursday, join a 2-hour group class at the lively dance school El Manicero. There are 2 sessions: one at 4.30 to 6.30pm and the other from 7 to 9pm. Take both classes if you’re up to it. The time flies by but your legs might ache unless you’re fit. The cost per class is 6,000 pesos (about US$3 or EUR2.5). Address for taxi: “Calle 5 con Carrera 39”.
In the evenings, two popular ‘Salsatecas’ from Thursday to Saturday are Tin Tin Deo and La Fuente. They get going at about 9.30pm and like all clubs in central Cali close at 2am.
At Tin Tin Deo (www.tintindeo.com) ceiling fans keep temperatures down and neon lights illuminate the dance floor. The locals here are friendly and helpful, often coming in big groups. Be sure to mingle. You can even ask guys for help with finding a girl to dance with. (If you’re a girl, dress up. Make an effort and you’ll be invited to dance — especially if you’re chatty).
La Fuente is a tiny Salsa bar where the dancing spills out onto the street (direction for taxi: “cuarta norte entre calle 15N y 16N, diagonal al Club Colombia).
For a chance to watch the scintillating dance moves of Cali’s expert Salsa dancers, visit Las Brisas (www.balneariolasbrisas.com) where you can have dinner and drinks at your table besides the dance floor. It’s 20 minutes from central Cali by taxi and well worth a visit.
For clubs open until 6am visit the upmarket and popular areas of Juanchito and Menga where you’ll find cross-over clubs playing Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton and more. Cafe Mi Tierra in Menga is a safe bet for a relaxed vibe and lots of Salsa music.
by Gavriel Shaw