IS CUBA REALLY WORTH THE HYPE? “ABSOLUTELY” SAYS INDIA’S PREMIER SALSA GURU

Cuba – it’s more a state of mind than a destination, one that travellers have always been intrigued by. And so, when this once off-limits country began to become more accessible, people from around the world lined up to travel to Cuba.

And so did Lourd Vijay, founder of the Lourd Vijay’s Dance Studio in Bangalore. Lourd’s is a name synonymous with dancing in India. From introducing salsa to the country in 1997 to training some of the best dancers in the industry, he has always been at the forefront of innovation and creativity, taking salsa and dance in India and around the world to greater heights. 

With Byond’s help, Vijay and his group of friends flew to Cuba, danced to live bands, drove classic American cars, ate fresh seafood and drank plenty of rum. (P.S. We’re GOING BACK TO CUBA IN MARCH 2017. CLICK HERE for details!)

Here he shares the highlights from his trip:

1.“My first experience of a Cuba Libre – the way the Cubans have it – was divine!”

Source: Imbible Magazine
Source: Imbible Magazine

Experiencing the taste of Cuban Rum for the first time after hearing all the stories about rum from Cuba, I understood why it was considered the world’s best. Yes, we do have our Old Monk but a Havana Club is a Havana Club and so is a Santiago; truly, some of the finest rum in the world.

2.“Every restaurant, cafe, park & square has great music being played by the best talent you can come across. we danced. A lot.”

Cuba probably has the highest density of artists per square mile as compared to any other country in the world, so we were constantly treated to doses of great live music and dancing.

During a sunset walk through the streets of Pinar del Rio, we chanced upon a dance troupe rehearsing for a show, giving some of us the opportunity for an impromptu dance class. And in Trinidad, it was like a mini music festival at the Casa de la Musica. Bands played their sets one after the other while tourists and locals mingled and danced with each other under the stars.

3.“My friends and I had a beautiful Marine Blue Ford Mercury 65 to drive in across town.”

Source: Byond Travel
Source: Byond Travel

In Havana, you will find Oldsmobiles, Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Studebakers, Fords, and Dodges on the roads. So if you are one of the automobile aficionados of the world with a passion for classics, you will enjoy your time here, driving American vintage cars.

4.“In Trinidad, we woke up to the most stunning view of the Caribbean Sea just outside our beach villas.”

Source: Panoramio
Source: Panoramio

Our accommodation in Trinidad was a beach side resort called Costa Sur. So we were able to take a long walk on the beach and then step in to the lukewarm water. In the evening, we got back into the water to watch the sunset.

5.“A visit to Fabrica De Arte Cubana (FAC) was truly the highlight of the trip – the most brilliant experience ever.”

Source: Fábrica de Arte Cubano
Source: Fábrica de Arte Cubano

FAC is an arts complex by day with studios of art, dance, music, architecture, theatre, and films, and by night, an eclectic tasteful night club. We listened to live music by a modern jazz fusion Cuban band on one level and then hit the dance floor, to the tunes of commercial retro music.

Cuba is a piece of history, a small country rich with talent and full of old world charm. This will soon be lost to commercialization as the embargo is officially lifted. So if you plan on visiting Cuba, NOW would be the best time.

Did this account whet your travel appetite? Intrigued you to explore the land of cigars, Castro and Che? Or experience the infectious energy of Havana nights for yourself? Then JOIN US as we travel to Cuba in March 2017. CLICK HERE for details.

cuba
Knocking On Cuba’s Door

Written by Lourd Vijay. Read a more detailed account of his trip here. 

 

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