Everything in Havana inspires dance. There is music wherever you go. Always music. That's why people say that even when Cubans walk, they walk as if we are dancing. One of the best ways to listen to music is simply to find it on the streets. You'll hear all kinds, especially salsa and son [a combination of Spanish and African rhythms] and son montuno, which is real country music. Look out for the musicians (treseros) playing the Cuban tres guitar, a rhythm instrument which has three double strings.
If you want to dance, head for La Casa de la Música, which has two branches - one in Central Havana (Calle Galiano, entre Neptuno y Concordia, 0053 860 8296) and one in the Miramar district (Calle 20, esquina 35, Playa, +204 0447). They have live concerts most days, pack a lot of people in and the atmosphere's great. One thing you can be sure of, whether you're a beginner or if you know how to dance, is that you're never going to be left out. There's always someone who's going to pull you on to the floor and be your partner. And that's important because that's how you learn.
Where to Refuel
Try paladares, small family-owned restaurants. A famous one is La Guarida (Calle Concordia 418, entre Gervasio y Escobar, +861 0023, laguarida.com, booking essential), which was the setting for the film Strawberry and Chocolate, nominated for an Oscar. Also very nice is La Divina Pastora (Parque Historico Morro y Cabaña, Carretera de La Cabana) a restaurant on the other side of Havana Bay - not very touristy, there's music playing and it gives you a fantastic view of the city.
Take a dip
one of the wonderful white sandy beaches to the east of the city. Out of town is Macumba Habana (Complejo La Giraldilla, Calle 222, esquina 37) a magnificent outdoor venue with gardens and a swimming pool that attracts a young crowd. People go there in the afternoon and dance and sing throughout the evening. Best to check ahead to see who's playing.
Stretch your legs
One of the best places to go for a stroll is El Prado, a nice avenue linking the centre with the Malecón. The Malecón is the seafront promenade where you go if you want to mix with the locals and people-watch. If you want a bit of peace, go to Parque Lenin on the outskirts where you can picnic and also fish.
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