Salsa in Nicaragua

During our time in Nicaragua we had the great fortune to come across two great Salsa spots in two different cities. The first salsa spot that we found was a bit by chance and research. Before coming to Leon, I had done a quick google search to see if any blogs mentioned anything in the area and I came across one post that mentioned a location called La Olla Quemada; however after hoping for a legit salsa place in Antigua and being a little disappointed, I was a bit weary if this place would be worth our time.

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La Olla Quemada

We arrived in Leon on a Thursday and after we dropped our bags off at the hostel and begin walking around town in search of dinner, we saw a sign that said there was salsa every Wednesdays. Now, as we are getting used to this backpacking lifestyle, we tend to forget what day of the week it is. No joke. When you have no responsibilities and no job to make sure you attend, the days of the week tend to blend together. So, as we saw this sign we were very excited because we legit thought it was Wednesday. We made our way to the location to scope it out before we committed to it later in the night to only find out it was the night before. Whomp Whomp Whomp. We walked around a bit and ended up talking to a waiter outside of a restaurant and asked if he knew of any salsa places. He said the only place to salsa is La Olla Quemada, which happens on Thursday.

nicaragua salsa

We arrived at La Olla Quemada, paid our 50 cordobas ($1.75) entrance fee, and headed to the bar for a drink. The dance floor was already packed and the music was good, very good. We sipped our drinks (mojitos because it was so hot) and watched the dance floor. The dancers here were good, and it was easy to spot those that were salseros because they were all wearing Salsa Nicaragua shirts. We learned later that the Nicaragua Salsa Congress was happening in a few weeks (Nov 13th-17th) in Managua and they were trying to promote it. We danced a lot, sipped mojitos, and chatted with the locals. This place gets very hot because it is small and Leon in it self is hot, so be prepared! Dancers- you can bring your heels or you can decide not to. I brought them, but  did not put them on once as the floor was too packed and I saw that no one else was wearing them. If you are a female dancer and you want to dance with one of the local good dancers, you will have to suck it up and ask one of them. I found that they are used to tourists that don’t know how to dance so they did not dance with me until I asked one of them and they saw that I could actually dance (this happens a lot to us dancers though). Enjoy this place, its a gem in the hot city of Leon.

salsa leon nicaragua

Heating up the dance floor!

The second salsa spot that we were able to find is in Managua. We actually traveled to Managua from Leon for the sole reason of dancing at Fandango in Managua. I had heard from so many friends, locals, and guide books that this was the place to dance in Nicaragua- and they were right! We went there on a Thursday night and the entrance was free. We were lucky to actually have a large group that was with us this time, because our AirBnb host brought his gf, other renters, and his cousin to join us. When we arrived there were a good amount of people on the dance floor and a decent mix between travelers and locals. The DJ played a good mix of music with the majority being salsa with a few songs of bachata and merengue throw in as well.Salsa Managua

There were a mix of dancers at this location varying from those thatdanced soley when the DJ played salsa and a few tables that would only dance during a bachata song. I would say that there were more dancers present then there were individuals that didn’t know how to dance. Since we were there on a Thursday it was a little quieter than it would be on a Friday or Saturday. Our Air Bnb host said that it gets very packed during the weekends. Dancers- go ahead and bring your shoes to this location because there is room to dance and show off your skills! I was happy that I brought mine.

Managua Salsa

What a great group at Fandango! Thank you to Inti, our AirBnb host!

Overall, dancing in Nicaragua was a real treat for us and the dancers were extremely nice and excited to dance with non-local dancers. If you are a dancer and traveling thru Nicaragua, you have to check out at least one of these two places; you will not be disappointed!

 

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5 Comments

  1. kim hubbard
    November 7, 2017 / 5:29 am

    Hi! I’m a recreational salsa dancer and I’m going to be in Leon from Nov 9-Dec 13th for a teaching certification. Thanks for blogging about Salsa en Leon! I’ll be trying out both of these places probably.

  2. Trudy
    January 18, 2017 / 8:29 pm

    Thanks for the info 🙂 I checked out La olla quemada past december after stumbeling accross your blog and saw a great live band. However most of the men only knew the basic salsa step but nothing more. But i had fun though. I arrived in Managua the beginning of the weekend and Fandango was on my list but i was too jet lagged plus my luggage arrived a day later and i was wearing my trekking shoes which aren’t any good for salsa dancing . I’m planning to go to Cuba for a month at the end of the year and i am already looking forward to hit the salsa clubs overthere.

    • Amrine @ DancinAroundTheWorld.Com
      January 18, 2017 / 9:26 pm

      Trudy! Thank you so much for coming back and leaving a comment about your experience! I am so glad I was able to give you some spots to check out. I too found that most only knew the basic steps, but there were a few gems in the crowd who knew a bit more. I haven’t been to Cuba yet, but it’s definitely on my list of places to dance! Happy traveling! ✌?️???

  3. Jennifer Lantry
    December 7, 2016 / 12:28 am

    Hi, I’m going to Nicaragua in the beginning of January and found your blog. Thank You!! I’m also a Salsa Dancer and I plan on making the same stops in Leon and Managua due to your post. Where did you stay – if you remember? Did you take a bus from Leon to Managua – if so how far are the cities away from each other? Any other suggestions on things to do in those cities. I’m also planning on going to the coast to hit up some surf time, hiking and yoga.

    • Amrine @ DancinAroundTheWorld.Com
      December 8, 2016 / 5:25 pm

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and I am so glad that my post is able to help you enjoy some dancing while here! When I was in Managua, I stayed in an AirBnb that was about a 7 minute taxi drive to Fandango. Depending on what kind of traveling you are doing, there are hostels, hotels, and airbnbs in Managua. When I was in Leon, I stayed at Sonati Hostel. It is a relaxed hostel and is owned by Nicarguans, which I always love to support! I did take the bus from Leon to Managua and it should take about about an hour and 15 minutes. There are shuttles that you can get at tourist offices, or you can grab a chicken bus and experience the public transportation in Nicargua! That’s what I always prefer 🙂 If you are in Leon I would suggest that you try the volcano boarding and to check out the churches, its a blast! If you head to the coast, I suggest you check out San Juan Del Sur. I am living here right now and will soon have some posts up about what to do, cheap places to eat and drink, and things to see so make sure you subscribe! Thank you again for stopping by and checking out my blog! Happy Travels salsera!

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