When you visit Medellin, you must take any opportunity to dance salsa. It’s okay if you don’t know how to dance, if you only know the basics, or if you have two left feet. The experience of going to a salsa club, or a bar where salsa is being played, is the best. Most places play a lot of salsa (some mix it with other genres, calling the blend “crossover”), and you can’t just run and hide in the corner every time a salsa song comes out of the speakers. After all, the whole point of visiting a Latin American country is to experience the culture!
Colombians really know how to move on the dance floor, and are always placing near the top in salsa competitions. Maybe there’s something in the empanadas and arepas that gives them such perfect rhythm. They make it look so easy! But never fear – there are plenty of places in Medellin that offer dance lessons, and once you are ready, you too can step out and shine on the dance floor.
Learning To Dance Salsa
DanceFree is a fun place to learn. Located on Calle 10A in Poblado, they are open seven days a week from 8 PM to 9:30 PM. Thursday through Saturday, the studio turns into a nightclub after 9:30 PM, offering the perfect chance to show off your new moves. A lot of people attend the classes, and there is always a good mix of men and women. They offer one-on-one instruction, group classes, and couples’ classes. The group class is free to attend the first time, with a fee afterwards. Salsa classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays, while Tuesday and Friday offer bachata lessons, and both salsa and bachata are taught on Thursdays. (Learning bachata is highly recommended as well, as it is rapidly becoming one of the most popular styles of Latin music.)
Santo Baile is located on Calle 35 in El Poblado. This place is the real deal; if you want to learn how to really dance, this is where you want to go. They guarantee fast results and the most undivided attention from their instructors. You can learn salsa, bachata, samba, cardio dance, and sexy dance. Prepare yourself, because you will walk in wanting to learn, and walk out dancing like a Caleño (a Colombian from Cali)!
Where Can I Dance Salsa?
So you’ve finished about four weeks’ worth of salsa lessons, and you want to get your groove on. Where should you go? Well, you can basically go anywhere in Medellin! Most of the clubs in Parque Lleras play crossover – a mix of reggaeton, salsa, bachata, and vallenato. Here are some of the most fun places to dance.
Just around the corner from the Charlie Hotel in Parque Lleras is Buenavista, a two-story club with no cover charge. It features salsa on the first floor and crossover on the top floor. Buenavista is a great place to show off what you’ve learned, and a perfect way to get the night started.
If you are itching dance salsa during the week, then head to El Eslabon Prendido. You can find this little salsa bar in El Centro (downtown), next to Parque Periodista. Almost any cab driver will know how to get there. The place is small, but draws a huge crowd, especially on Tuesday nights. Tuesdays are the best night to visit El Eslabon Prendido, because they bring in a live band and professional salsa dancers always show up. Don’t worry, though – there’s no need to be intimidated, because everyone is there to dance. The relatively small square footage of this bar can make it difficult to dance, though, so sometimes it is better to sit back and enjoy watching other people maneuver on the floor.
One of the best places to dance salsa is Cuchitril. This club has been gaining a lot of exposure recently, with more and more foreigners being drawn in seemingly every night. Depending on which night you visit, there may be a live band playing. It is much bigger than El Eslabon Prendido, which can get extremely tight at times; Cuchitril has a large outside patio in the back, if you want to just hang out. The bar/club plays a lot of salsa, and will occasionally throw in some hip-hop or electronic music. This can be an ideal spot to start an all-night salsa dancing marathon. It’s located on Calle 10; a taxi from El Poblado will cost 7-8000 pesos (roughly $3 US).
Get On The Dance Floor!
Not knowing how to dance salsa can make an evening out in Medellin awkward and frustrating. Hopefully, you’ll have time to take a few lessons at one of the city’s many dance studios during your stay. Once you get on the floor, you’ll learn that paisas (natives) enjoy teaching foreigners how to dance, so don’t be shy – ask the good-looking guy or girl you see across the room to dance with you. Let them know you have little or no experience; chances are, they’ll find it cute and happily be your guide.
Staying With Us?
All of our apartments in Medellin are a short taxi ride away from the dance classes and salsa clubs of El Poblado. Feel free to contact us if you want more information about apartments in Medellin.