Are you planning to attend a dance festival in Cuba for the first time? The vibrant dance scene in Cuba is unbeatable, but navigating it can be overwhelming. Fear not, because we’ve got you covered! Our survival guide for first-time dance festival attendees in Cuba will provide you with valuable tips and tricks to make the most out of your experience.

Understanding the Dance Scene in Cuba

Before attending a dance festival in Cuba, it’s essential to get familiar with the country’s vibrant dance scene. Cuba is home to various dance styles that hold great cultural significance and are celebrated throughout the country.

The most popular dance styles in Cuba include Son, Salsa, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, and Mambo. Each style has its unique rhythm and music, and attending a dance festival in Cuba is an excellent opportunity to learn and experience them firsthand.

When it comes to dance venues, Havana is the heart of Cuban dance culture. The city’s many dance clubs, live music venues, and open-air spaces provide plenty of opportunities for dancing and socializing. 

It’s important to note that Cuban dance culture is deeply rooted in the country’s history and traditions. Many of the dance styles have origins in Afro-Cuban culture, and attending a dance festival in Cuba is a chance to learn about these rich cultural traditions.

Immersion Tip:

To get the most out of your dance festival experience, take some time to learn about the cultural significance of the dance styles you’ll be experiencing. Understanding the history and traditions behind the dances can enhance your appreciation and enjoyment.

Planning Your Trip to Cuba

Planning a trip to Cuba requires careful consideration, especially if it’s your first time attending a dance festival in the country. Here are some essential tips to make your planning process as smooth and hassle-free as possible:

Check Your Travel Documents

Before you book your trip, make sure to check the travel requirements for Cuba. If you live in Germany, then you’ll need a valid passport and a tourist visa. 

Book Your Flight

Once you have your Tourist Card, it’s time to book your flight to Cuba. 

Choose Your Accommodations

There are various accommodation options in Cuba, ranging from hotels to guesthouses to Airbnb rentals. It’s recommended to book your accommodations in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak festival season. Havana is the most popular location for dance festivals, so it’s a good idea to look for lodging near the festival venues.

Consider Weather

Cuba has a tropical climate, so it’s important to pack accordingly. Lightweight, breathable clothing and comfortable shoes are a must, especially for outdoor events. 

Exchange Currency

The official currency in Cuba is the Cuban peso, abbreviated as CUP. It’s important to exchange your money at official exchange offices or banks, as exchanging money on the black market is illegal and can lead to fines or jail time.

Get Travel Insurance

It’s highly recommended to get travel insurance before your trip to Cuba. This will ensure that you are covered for any potential medical emergencies or trip cancellations. Many travel insurance companies offer policies specifically tailored to Cuba.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to plan a smooth and hassle-free trip to Cuba for your first dance festival experience.

Festival Essentials and Packing Tips

Attending a dance festival in Cuba requires careful consideration of what to pack. Here are some festival essentials and packing tips to help you prepare for your trip:

1. Clothing

Cuba has a tropical climate, so be sure to pack clothes that are lightweight and breathable. Consider packing clothes that are easy to move in and comfortable for dancing. Remember to bring a light jacket or sweater in case of cooler evenings.

  • Lightweight tops and pants
  • Sundresses or skirts
  • Bathing suits and cover-ups for beach time
  • Comfortable shoes for walking and dancing
  • Hats or caps for sun protection

2. Accessories

Accessories are essential for any dance festival, but be sure to pack only what you need and can afford to lose, as theft can be a problem in Cuba.

  • A compact bag or backpack for carrying your essentials.
  • Sunglasses for sun protection
  • Jewelry or accessories that won’t get in the way of dancing
  • A reusable water bottle to stay hydrated
  • A portable charger to maintain your phone’s battery.

3. Dance-Specific Items

Depending on your dance style, you may need to pack some dance-specific items to ensure you’re prepared for workshops, classes, and performances.

  • Dance shoes or sneakers for your specific style
  • A dance bag to carry your shoes and clothes to and from the festival
  • Towels to wipe away sweat
  • A small first aid kit with bandages, pain relievers, and any necessary medications

4. Weather and Local Customs

Before heading to Cuba, it’s important to research the local weather and customs to ensure you pack appropriately.

  • Pack an umbrella or rain poncho for unexpected showers
  • Avoid packing clothes that are too revealing or provocative, as it may be seen as disrespectful to the local customs

Remember, less is always more when it comes to packing for a dance festival in Cuba. Only pack what you need and leave room for souvenirs, as the country has plenty of unique and beautiful items to offer.

Staying Healthy and Safe in Cuba

When attending a dance festival in Cuba, it’s important to prioritize your health and safety. Adhere to these crucial tips for a stress-free experience:

  • Before your trip, research travel advisories and required vaccines for Cuba. Seek guidance from your healthcare provider to confirm you’ve received the required vaccinations.
  • While in Cuba, practice good hygiene habits, such as washing your hands frequently and carrying hand sanitizer.
  • Be cautious when consuming food and drinks. Opt for bottled water and steer clear of consuming food from street vendors.
  • Protect yourself from the sun and heat. Wear a hat, use sunscreen, and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuable items.
  • If you encounter any medical emergencies, contact your embassy or consulate and seek medical attention immediately.

Additionally, it’s important to practice safe dance etiquette when attending social events and workshops. Follow these tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable dancing experience:

  • Respect personal space and boundaries when dancing with others.
  • Ask for consent before initiating any dance moves or leading your partner.
  • Avoid forceful or aggressive behavior on the dance floor.
  • Pay attention to any physical discomfort or pain during dancing and seek medical attention if necessary.

By prioritizing your health and safety, you can fully immerse yourself in the vibrant dance scene and enjoy all that Cuba has to offer!


Attending a dance festival in Cuba is an unforgettable experience that requires careful planning and preparation. By following this survival guide for first-time dance festival attendees in Cuba, you have gained valuable insights and tips to make the most out of your trip.

Remember to understand the dance scene in Cuba, plan your trip accordingly, pack essentials, navigate the festival schedule, immerse yourself in the culture, and prioritize your health and safety. Doing so will allow you to fully enjoy the vibrant dance scene of Cuba.

As a dance festival attendee, you have the opportunity to not just witness the magic of the dance floor but the rich culture and traditions of Cuba. Make the most of your trip and embrace the experience!


What types of dance styles are popular in Cuba?

Cuba is known for its vibrant dance scene, with popular styles including salsa, rumba, son, mambo, and cha-cha-cha.

What should I pack for a dance festival in Cuba?

It’s recommended to pack lightweight and breathable clothing, comfortable dance shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, and any personal dance accessories you may need. Remember to include a reusable water bottle in your packing!

How do I navigate the festival schedule?

It’s helpful to plan ahead and prioritize the workshops, performances, and social events that interest you the most. Make use of the festival’s schedule and map to ensure you don’t miss out on any must-see events.

Can I participate in workshops even if I’m a beginner?

Absolutely! Many dance festivals in Cuba offer workshops for dancers of all levels, including beginners. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from professional instructors and expand your dance skills.

How can I immerse myself in the Cuban culture during the festival?

Engage with the locals, try traditional Cuban cuisine, explore cultural landmarks, and attend cultural events outside of the dance festival. Immerse yourself in the vibrant music, art, and traditions that Cuba has to offer.

What should I do in case of a medical emergency?

Familiarize yourself with the local medical facilities and emergency numbers. It’s recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, and always carry essential medications and a first-aid kit.

How can I practice safe dance etiquette during the festival?

Respect personal space on the dance floor, listen to your partner’s boundaries, and follow the instructions of workshop instructors. Be aware of your surroundings and prioritize the safety and comfort of yourself and others.