Learn Spanish, Dance & Culture in Cuba - 2 or 4 weeks

Location
Cuba
28 travelers saved this program

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About This Program

Based in Casa Jakera in Old Havana, Spanish language lessons take place Monday to Friday in the mornings, and in the afternoons you receive dance classes and ‘Discover Cuba’ cultural excursions. Weekend trips feature the beach and a three day/two night weekend road trip to Viñales (four week program only).

You will stay in ‘Casa Jakera’, a licensed Casa Particulare, sharing a dorm room with other student clients OR upon payment single room supplement you have the option to stay in another nearby Casa with your own room including private bathroom. Either way breakfast an lunch are served at ‘Casa Jakera’ and this is the hub of program activities, including; Spanish lessons, group discussions, planning meetings and impromptu social gatherings.

This is a busy program and offers the possibility of a full immersion into Cuban life – past and present – and the opportunity to really understand what makes this amazing country so special.

Highlights

  • Live in the heart of Old Habana - the most exciting, vibrant and fun neighbourhood in Habana.
  • Two start dates every month learning Spanish combined with professional dance lessons, cultural walks and activities and other fun stuff to get to know Cuba.
  • 18+ program (minors welcomed if accompanied) - we welcome all nationalities.
  • All Cuban crew will help you feel at home and help you learn about Cuba's past and present - and what we can learn about ourselves!
  • Program includes a long weekend in Vinales to give you an all round view of life in Cuba.

Our ‘Learn Spanish, Culture & Dance’ program has been crafted to maximize your time in Old Havana (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and can be taken for 2 or 4 weeks.

Upon arrival Havana International Airport you will be picked up for a transfer to your Casa Particulares. Breakfast and lunch are served at Casa Jakera and this will be the hub of program activities, as this is also where Spanish lessons are taken as well as group discussions, planning meetings and impromptu social gatherings.

SPANISH LESSIONS

Spanish lessons take place Monday to Friday 9:00 am - 11:45 am and consist of three 45-minute sessions, with 15-minute breaks. On alternate afternoons, there will be dance lessons focusing on learning Salsa, Mambo, Cha Cha, and Rumba, and Discover Cuba sessions that take you on an adventure through the streets, history, and culture of Havana.

Weekend trips include guided beach visits and a two-night road trip to Viñales Valley (four-week program only).

DANCE CLASSES

There are 2 dance classes per week – each approximately one hour duration, during which you will be taken through your paces learning Salsa, Son, Rueda de Casino, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, and Rumba and perhaps a few moves you haven’t heard of… The lessons are delivered a 5 minute walk from your Casa at 'La Casa del Son' by a licensed dance instructor, and in the evenings there are MANY free live music venues where you can do your homework!

DISCOVER CUBA

Hop onto a Wah-Wah (fume belching local bendy bus) or Colectivo (classic car/communal taxi) and take to the streets to discover the real Habana. Understand how Habaneros live; the practical day to day issues Cubans face living in this complicated country at this exciting time, and help us take away some answers to our own ‘first world’ problems!

Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 14:00 (plus the occasional nighttime tour) we will take you on an adventure to help you understand and enjoy the history of Cuba and Habana. Understand the source of her amazing wealth, the rich cultural mix, marvel at the faded patina of Habana’s famous gorgeous neo classical architecture, the rumble of classic American cars, curious soviet era high rise buildings, unbiquitous live music on every street, dance, exotic religions etc etc the list is endless.

You will quickly feel comfortably at this home, gain the knowledge and confidence to enjoy the city during your own time, with new found traveller and Cuban friends. You have been immersed into the Cuban culture - enjoy!

What's Included
Accommodation
Classes
Some Meals
What's Not Included
Some Meals

Upon arrival Havana International Airport you are picked up for a transfer to your Casa Particulares* or hostel. This is your home inHavana. Casa Jakera was opened at the end of 2015 and features shared air conditioned bedrooms, separate shower and toilet facilities, dining rooms and lots of comfortable indoor and outdoor space (including spacious roof terrace).

Here can hang out with new friends or chill on your own to enjoy the cool breezes and great views of the streets below. As with most of Havana you will enjoy taking in the atmosphere in this central location which is truly unique.

* Casa Particulares are government licenced ‘private homestay’ accommodationwhereby Cubans are permitted to rent out one or two bedrooms in their home to paying guests. However, the licensing regime has recently been extended to include larger hostal style accommodation. Casa Jakera falls under this latter category and whether you stay at Casa Jakera or another Casa Particulare breakfast & lunch and Spanish lessons are taken at Casa Jakera.

Breakfast and lunch are included in program costs. Cuban cuisine features Native American Taino, Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences, and typically includes a combination of rice and beans, vegetables, and either pork or chicken.

Video and Photos

Availability

Two Weeks
$800 USD
Four Weeks
$1580 USD

Reviews

95%
based on 11 reviews
  • Housing 9.5
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
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Janil
10/10

What an experience!

From researching and travel planning to our arrival and departure we had an awesome time! Tim and his staff were professional and responded quickly to our concerns. Our casa particular & señora Amy (love love love) you'll become family before you leave. Casa jakera: awesome cooks, food was amazing! Met some new friends from all over the world! Classes were great and helped refreshen my Spanish speaking skills. Overall the city is beautiful the staff is awesome amazing music art food scenery. Loved the culture and can't wait to go back!

**Prices were VERY reasonable compared to other companies**

How can this program be improved?
N/A
Yes, I recommend this program
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Leah
10/10

Unexpected Kindness and Inspiration

Jakera Cuba is like a good home away from home; offering most of what you imagine a happy and healthy family would offer a family member and a guest. Cleanliness, comfortable mattresses, home-made healthy fresh food and support and inspiration to explore and be fearless locally because you know the Jakera team, and the kind and interesting and intelligent guests they attract, are there for you if you ask or they see you need it. Cuba, Havana was a last minute spontaneous trip to a place where I knew no one so I did have my concerns (but mostly about me) which were totally unfounded. Jakera's expert hospitality and the excellent courses and local dance classes coupled with my own fearlessness, discoveries and adventures made for my best adventure so far; sorry India and Sri Lanka I still love you and will return. Soon I hope to travel to Costa Rica with Jakera and hopefully see Panama too. 100% Jakera will be a fantastic experience and service.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Urvi
10/10

The best way to experience Cuba:)

I found Jakera online and loved my two weeks there! I used the shared accommodation and shared my room with 5 girls, the staff kept it very clean, my bed was comfortable and we had air conditioning. I am a vegetarian and they did a great job accommodating me. The dance was my absolute favorite part, they give you many options to choose from. My Spanish teacher was awesome as were all the great friends I made! Highly recommend:)

Yes, I recommend this program
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Donna
10/10

Affordable and Fun Travel Adventure in Cuba

When looking to go to Cuba, you have many choices but Jakera's was affordable and more people-to-people centered than most "tourist" focused trips. They organize your lodging ahead, you get breakfast & lunch, have a group hub in central Havana to study Spanish & meet with other travelers. The staff was awesome, esp. if you speak Spanish! I even wrote a book about my adventure: Cuba for Mama (on Amazon)

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps more organized volunteer projects - there were few when I was there. I came as an ESL English teacher but Castro'd decided the week before he didn't want Foreigners teaching Cubans English (eh?) so we teachers were relieved of that opportunity. It wasn't a failing of Jakera, but the Cuban political system is a real challenge.
Yes, I recommend this program
Caroline
10/10

Lamparilla

It was great, the staff en the teachers are friendly and welcoming. The accomodation at Lamparilla was clean, beautiful, with rooftops. The staff is friendly and helps with questions. The spanish teachers are good and kind. The dancing at casa del sol is great, the teachers really help you to make progress and to have fun. The atmosphere of havana and of the jakera team made it a great experiece. Would definitley recommend jakera cuba!

How can this program be improved?
It was perfect!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kasia
10/10

One danger posed by Jakera? It makes you fall in love with Cuba! :)

In Havana the day started with a lovely breakfast followed by a Spanish class. The afternoons were for the walking tours which were fun and allowed us to get to know the city a bit. Evenings were for madness- dancing and driving along the Malecon with reggaeton blasting in the background! It was my Cuba highlight! :)
I very much appreciated the flexibility within the program which allowed me to change my schedule and join my friends in Playa Giron for the voluntary work and diving.
I honestly can't think of any difficulties. I felt safe and well looked after. Besides, whatever might have been a difficulty to some was simply a challenge to me! :) I guess Cuba simply suits my character :)

How can this program be improved?
I would change the form of the cultural excursions and use as a guide someone who is proficient in English. The guys made it fun and we really enjoyed the tours with them but with a little bit more of English we could have learnt more about the places we went to see.
Yes, I recommend this program
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chihi
10/10

Amazing experiences with wonderful staffs & housing

1 week was very short but I experienced more than I can express in words. I didn't waste any moment of my full week. The house I was staying was comfortable. Host Mama Amarylis and Leonel always made sure my safety & comfort with big warming hearts. I totally felt like I was at home..
I took 1 week of Spanish class and yet it was short but my teacher, Pablo tried to teach me along with my Spanish skills..
Joel for a cultural/activity guide was amazing!!
he speaks little English but it worked out pretty good for me to practice my Spanish. He was very kind with full knowledge of Cuban.

How can this program be improved?
The Spanish lesson was more like a tutoring style and having a study room for Spanish lesson is ideal but I understood the circumstance... but maybe having desk/table for studying at least..
Yes, I recommend this program
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Josef
8/10

Cuba

For anyone that likes history, politics and architecture, this is the program for them! The museums and guides were very interesting. Learning about the how the cuban government and people viewed what happened during the revolution, after it and international relations with america is of partiicular interest as it differs completely with what most western schools teach.
The nightlife in old Habana is incredible and Jakera is situated in definitely the right place to take advantage of it. We were also fortunate to go to see the real 'buena vista social club' in hotel nacional which was the best experience of the whle trip. This should definitely be considered as an excursion as part of the program (if possible).
Information about money could be improved as I was not allowed in the casa de cambio or the atm's to use my British Current account card and found it difficult to take money out on my Post office travel money plus card. The latter is because they will not accept any card that is linked to American banks. However the breifing before we went out for the first time was sufficient to be safe and intelligent about what restaurants we went in to save money.

How can this program be improved?
More excursions to places other than Habana and more options of nights set up to go out in Habana.
Also, as stated before more information before and during about money options.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Don
10/10

Great Program

The housing accommodations were very comfortable, and my host family took care if me very well. I felt safe and comfortable, and the food was excellent. Highly recommended!

Our guide Yoel was truly the best. He took us all over the place, spent a great deal of time with us, and has a great disposition. He's really fun, and I came to see him as a friend. He knows everything you could want to know about life in Cuba, and he knows how to do things cheaply. Make sure you give him a good tip!!

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps the actual Spanish classes themselves could be a bit more interesting. Still, I spoke Spanish the entire time with my classmate, guide, host family, people on the street, etc, so my Spanish improved greatly.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Martina
8/10

Getting to know Cuba

The whole experience was great to learn how the situation is and how people live in Cuba. Spanish lessons in the morning, visits to museums, significant buildings or some neighbourhoods 3 times a week and Salsa lessons with private teacher 2 times a week in the afternoon was how our days looked like in Havana. Music from the early morning to late evenings, very hot and humid climate, lots of mojito coctails and visits to bars and restaurants with live music and bands playing and dancing filled our days. People were the best part there- very friendly and good-natured, and there was not even one moment that I didn't feel safe. In the weekends we had time to visit beaches a bit outside of the city, but really worth a visit because of the huge sandy coast and warm sea, even if it was only May. We even made a trip to the mountains, which was completely different from loud and crowded city of Havana. I really recommed it because it's a true Cuban experience, with almost no tourists, natives are more serene and the nature pristine. The only bad thing is that the time flew to fast..

How can this program be improved?
Hm it sucked a bit that at some points I was the only student there, so my evenings were sometimes a bit dull. The program could be improved with more evening activities.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kelan
8/10

Learn Spanish, dance & culture

Great dance lessons. Music everywhere surrounded by great architecture! Dancing salsa at hotel Florida, watching members of Burma vista social club, cycling through Cuba and exploring Havana were all highlights!

How can this program be improved?
A little more communication regarding transport may have been better as we had trouble with flights and didn't know about airport tax. The programme itself was pretty maliable but more rigidity isn't necessary. With links to an artist through vianki I believe extending the programme into artistic expression would be a great avenue to explore as art is so prevalent in Cuba.
Yes, I recommend this program

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About Jakera Cuba

Jakera have been running student programs and delivering travel solutions to clients around the Caribbean and South America since the mid 1990’s. In 2012 we completed a long planned dream to bring our clients to Cuba having first traveled to Cuba 10...