Sensual and sultry communist Caribbean capital, home to captivating, crumbling architecture, and enlivened by dance, music, avant-garde art and cocktails. Impossible to describe, there’s nowhere else quite like it.
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Invigorating, percussion-driven and sexually charged rumba, a dance rooted in the Congo and slave history, developed in the late 19th century in Havana and is still widely performed.
A number of live venues across Havana offer rumba sessions: the most colourful is in the open-air mural-covered Hamel alley; the most varied is at El Palenque where other musical varieties are also performed. The least touristy is at the crowded El Jelengue de Areito.
Getting there & doing it
The most popular rumba performance is at Callejón de Hamel (between Calle Espada and Calle Aramburu) on Sundays at noon; there are a handful of front-row seats. El Gran Palenque (Calle 4 between Calle Calzada and Avenida 5, Vedado) takes place every Saturday at 3pm and is popular with locals and tourists in the know. El Jelengue de Areito (410 Calle San Miguel between Calle Campanario and Calle Lealtad) is a new venue, popular with locals who crowd into the tiny space on Fridays 5-7pm. Arrive early to snag front-row views and one of the limited seats available.
When to do it
Performances take place all year round. Days and times vary by location and performance.
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