Salsaville Cuba Trip Testimonials

Please read the testimonials below from the members of Salsaville's first 5 trips to Cuba. Their heartfelt words explain much better than I can why this trip is such a memorable experience:

Testimonials from Salsaville's 1st Music & Dance trip to Cuba - November 2015

Testimonials from Salsaville's 2nd Music & Dance trip to Cuba - January 2016

Testimonials from Salsaville's 3rd Music & Dance trip to Cuba - March 2016

Testimonials from Salsaville's 4th Music & Dance trip to Cuba - November 2016

Testimonials from Salsaville's 5th Music & Dance trip to Cuba - January 2017

The trips just keep getting better and better each time. Here are some testimonials from more recent trips:

Testimonials from Salsaville's 11th Music & Dance trip to Cuba - January 2019

Testimonials from Salsaville's 12th Music & Dance trip to Cuba - November 2019

Testimonials from Salsaville's 14th Music & Dance trip to Cuba - November 2022

Testimonials from Salsaville's 15th Music & Dance trip to Cuba - February 2023

Testimonials from Salsaville's 16th Music & Dance trip to Cuba - November 2023

Testimonials from Salsaville's 17th Music & Dance trip to Cuba - February 2024

Back to the Cuba Trip home page

From all the members of Salsaville's 1st Group trip to Havana, Cuba, November 2015
From Cathleen Zuzelski (

"I knew Eric as a dance instructor and didn't know what to expect of him leading a trip to what has been a country unexplored to most of us living in the US. The result was better than I could have imagined. Not only did my dancing improve, but I was able to better interpret the Cuban music as well as understand the origins of where it came from. (There are still nights I drift asleep to the beat of the son clave). After the trip, I can't imagine having explored Havana for the first time as a solo traveler. Eric knows the city, can walk the talk, and is passionate about others experiencing the magic that is Cuba. Even with a group of 8 foreigners, I never felt like a tourist. From the casa particulars, intimate house dinners and private dance parties, I couldn't have felt more at home in this foreign land."

From Lorena Herrera (


Thank you so much for the wonderful experience in Cuba. The trip was more than I expected.

Your knowledge of the people, culture and places made this trip hassle free and pleasurable. The hardest part was keeping up with all the events and activities you had planned for us.

As I was going though my pictures, I couldn't believe we did so much in just ten days: dance lessons, night clubs, concerts (Los Van Van and Habana D'Primera to name a few), road trip to Viñales, road trip to the beach, El Callejon de Hamel, the parks we visited, field trip to see the band practice, nice dinners and so much more.

Being so close to the culture was my favorite part. Talking to people and hearing their stories about how they deal with scarcity was very touching. The dancing was the best I've ever seen. The money exchange ;-). Walking through the streets and seeing real Cuba is what I wanted to experience and what I got.

I appreciate your continuous concern for making sure the we were enjoying ourselves and that you had picked out the most memorable places to see and things to do.

This is a trip I will never forget. And I think your love and enthusiasm for Cuba has become contagious because now I want to see the rest of the country.

Sincerely, Lorena"

From Shawhin Roudbari ( and Shideh Dashti (

"What a trip! It was an unforgettable and magical experience. It left a deep, deep impression on me and my wife. Cuba is an amazing country with so many complex things going on... and on top of it all music and dance is everywhere. For the first few days back in CO, we couldn't get the rumba out of our shoulders and hips. The classes were intense and great. We learned a lot. We bonded with some of the instructors and miss them terribly! Being with Eric and the group for a week was awesome. Meals together, cramming into taxis together, getting humbled on the dance floor together was all so, so wonderful. We miss the friends we made and can’t wait to get together again soon... Anyhow, it’s hard to express in words how fun, rich, and impactful the experience was."

From Lupe Ledezma (

"I am thankful to Eric Freeman for providing this unique opportunity to travel to Cuba and learn about the culture, as well as taking amazing Cuban salsa lessons daily. It was a great trip that I will remember always. The chance to interact and become immersed in Cuban daily life was a way to really “feel” the soul of the music. Watching everyone from little kids to elderly move to the beat of the music on a daily basis was reflected in the hustle of the city of Habana. It is a city “frozen in time” in many ways, while still offering most of the conveniences of modern living. Even the slight glitches and delays were an integral part of the experience given that the Cuban people live with these issues on a daily basis. While the trip was about taking classes and improving the craft of dancing salsa, it became a way to get an intimate look at another form of living and a once in a lifetime vacation. I can’t wait to go again!"

From Graciella Funes (

"Eric and I have been friends for years and I was thrilled when I learned that he was taking a group of travelers to Cuba at the same time that I was going to be visiting my family in Havana. I didn't know at the time when I planned my trip that this fortuitous coincidence would enrich my return to my birth country more than I could have imagined. Eric's love and understanding of Cuba and it's people, culture and music is impressive and contagious. I've known him for a long time and sometimes, I just sat back and noticed how much he was in his element. His crafty ways of getting around obstacles, his vast knowledge of Cuban musical traditions, dances and folklore and his surprising Cuban street savvy ways, provided us with unique and fabulous experiences. Cuba is interesting, different, unpredictable and very fun, but in order to enjoy her, you have to be curious, open and flexible. Eric has mastered the art of navigating Cuba's temperamental nature and has turned it into a colorful adventure. Thank you my friend for inspiring me to see my country through a different lens."

From Laura E. Güida (, 303-827-8416):

"Why travel to Cuba with Eric Freeman? Because you will count on an experienced traveler, dancer, and teacher who would open doors into the Cuban life that you could not find otherwise. Eric provided me with a wonderful opportunity to explore the life and music of Cuba as he developed a well planned itinerary that included great housing, sightseeing, music events, dance lessons with great instructors and touristic attractions. He invited us to enjoy with him his love for music and the Cuban lifestyle which made this trip worth repeating as soon as I have a chance.

Even though I speak Spanish as a first language I could have not experienced Cuba and its music with the depth that Eric's expertise allowed me to grasp. His knowledge of the Cuban ways, the plethora of tips and pointers that he gave me as I explored this unique culture, and his genuine love for music facilitated my enjoyment and learning.

Eric is a wonderful teacher: his patience, his ability to analyze and learn, and his technical knowledge transpired every time we were exposed to Cuban music. He offered us an ample array of opportunities to learn and enjoy the most authentic of experiences as we danced to the best bands of Cuba, witnessed band rehearsals, and visited many dancing venues where we were in humble awe of very talented dancers, some of whom recognized Eric as a teacher across the globe! It was with immense pride that I identified myself as one of his students although I still have much to learn.

The people and music of Cuba will touch your heart, and there is no better opportunity to experience them than with Eric's help. Now go enjoy the trip!

Feel free to contact me if you want more details or have questions."

From Barry Solway (

"We landed in Tampa on a Friday night. Eric met up with a friend who showed us around downtown Tampa and eight hours after we had left Denver we were already dancing salsa in a little bar. And we weren't even in Cuba yet! Cuba is a strange mix. World class architecture from over a hundred years ago mixed with poverty and lack of maintenance. Sixty year old cars with tricked out sound systems. Walking the historic district, seeing the bazaars, the Hotel Ambos Mundos where Earnest Hemingway lived and wrote. Walking up to a window off the street to order a pizza. The culture of dance and music that is woven throughout the country. Every day felt like two days, with the mornings full of dance lessons and the afternoons and evenings full of sightseeing, concerts and night clubs. As he showed us in Tampa, Eric connected with an amazing assortment of people. We had an opportunity to see both the tourist side of Cuba and to live with the Cubans themselves, eating dinner together and dancing together. This was a great experience and Eric's passion for the music and dance of Cuba made this an unforgettable trip."

From Lisa McIntyre (

"My trip to Cuba this past November was an experience of a lifetime! Thanks to Eric Freeman for doing such a fabulous job orchestrating the entire journey. Not only did he handle all the details from flights to meals, but he allowed time for us to explore the culture of the area as well. We had a taxi available all day and night as we be-bopped around the city from our private casas to restaurants and events. Music and dance are an integral part of the Cuban culture and Eric ensured that we were exposed to all of it! The daily salsa lesson included personal instructors who love to teach. By the time we left Havana, each of us were walking to the rhythm of salsa: uno, dos, tres ... cinco, seis, siete!

One of my fondest memories was spending Thanksgiving afternoon at the beach drinking our make-shift pina coladas in the sand. We bought a bottle of Havana Club Rum, a box of pineapple juice, then purchased fresh coconuts from a local vendor who opened them with a machete so we could access the sweet milk and create our cocktail. Beats turkey and candied yams any day.

I had a desire to explore things outside of salsa dancing, including baseball and coffee. Since I am not a Spanish speaker, I needed to have someone with me who could speak English and share the details of the landscape, the politics and interesting cultural facts. Eric ensured this happened by lining up the right people at the right price. I took an entire afternoon away from the group with my Cuban guides, Keyler and Jorgie, and traveled in a '55 Chevy to the La Mocha region outside of Havana. There we drove along a hand-laid cobblestone road to a three-hundred-year-old French-Cuban coffee plantation at the top of mountain. We also stopped at a park where kids were playing baseball, Cuba's national sport. I was peering through the fence, taking it all in when some of the mothers noticed me and my blonde hair. They smiled and waved with full acceptance of my interest in the game. The people of Cuba were always welcoming, both in the city and in the countryside.


From all the members of Salsaville's 2nd Group trip to Havana, Cuba, January 2016
From Sherri Brody (

"The trip to Cuba was nothing short of amazing and one of the most memorable experiences of my life. From the moment I stepped out of the airport, I felt as though I had stepped into a bizarre time warp of old 50's automobiles, horse drawn carts, and neoclassic architecture, a scene that hinted of the once opulent lifestyle of old Cuba. It is like nothing I have ever seen! Within the rows of narrow streets lined with dilapidated but ornate dwellings with original marble floors, stained glass, and Corinthian columns dwell a people who are too poor even to paint their homes but whose passion for life and music are too contagious to ignore, whose smiles light up a city block, and whose sense of pure play drives everything they do. The city pulses with song and dance in a way that makes you want to get up yourself and dance on every sidewalk, in every restaurant, and on every beach; and finally, here is a place where it is as normal as breathing to do just that! Here is a place where an average meander through the colorful and busy streets might take you into some incredible adventure like running into the Buena Vista Social Club performing in a small restaurant, or perhaps just making a new friend and sharing a dance; wandering through a lush jungle to find at the other end of the trail a paradisiacal outdoor dance floor with a high energy salsa band playing for the locals. This - for a salsa dancer - might be comparable to finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow! Eric's passion for the Cuban culture is extremely contagious. He went above and beyond to bring our group back-to-back incredible and authentic experiences that we could have never known without the guidance of one so immersed himself in the culture. This is a man who loves his job and has found his calling in a big, big way.

Eric brought us to various music venues to see some of the hottest Cuban bands. The energy in these places went right through the roof. I cannot remember this kind of energy at a concert since I saw the Rolling Stones about 15 years ago from the 5th row (Mick Jagger might feel right at home in Habana). There was one surprise on our day at the beach that was completely random though partly engineered by Eric that made my entire year! I remember feeling so overwhelmed with emotion that I was thinking, "I could die now" because my life felt somehow complete. Overwhelmed by emotion for the remainder of the trip and mouth gaping in wonder, I fell sweepingly in love with the Cuban culture and hope to return some day. I'm glad that I could bring some of that electricity back into my daily life!

In addition to the intensive immersion, the group synergy was really wonderful - I enjoyed sharing my days with such fun and interesting people. Eric really took care of us, looking out for us every step of the way. He planned every detail and everything was seamless, especially for a group our size. It was a great relief not to have to plan anything and to have no decisions to make except what I wanted for dinner that night.

If you do decide you want to go to Cuba, I highly recommend going with Eric on one of these group tours while they are still available, especially at this low cost. You will not be disappointed. A trip like this is easily worth two or three times the cost, but more accurately, is priceless. You will definitely want to know some Spanish and, of course, take a crash course in Cuban salsa dance before you go.

Finally, I wish to say to you, Eric, how very grateful I am to you, my friend. My life is richer for having you in it.

Abrazos y besos, Sherri"

From Greg Slopey (

"Are you looking for an sensual injection of Cuban dance, music, and culture? Eric's trip to Cuba provides you with an instant immersion to the real Cuba before the onslaught of Americans. You immediately meet friendly Cubans who introduce and teach you the rich history of their culture and salsa dance. Where can you meet the best dancers/instructors and musicians in Cuba, up close and personal? - only with Eric!

Eric's extensive Cuba experience covers the waterfront of non-stop action. I feel fortunate to be on the last trip and see Cuba as it starts its transformation. I highly recommend this trip. I have traveled and lived around the world, this trip injected my soul with the Cuban spirit!! Bravo Eric!!"

From Kim Horton (

"This trip was amazing! Generally, I avoid travelling with a group and prefer to go solo. However, I am convinced that for this kind of trip, it was the best way to go. Eric organized everything so well, I didn't waste any time trying to figure out where to go or how to get there. My goal was to enjoy as much music and dancing as possible and I was not disappointed. Thanks to Eric’s knowledge and direction I was able to enjoy great social dancing every night of the week at the best salsa clubs in Havana. There were so many great options for live music it was hard to choose which ones to attend. All the concerts we went to were amazing. I couldn’t have been happier with all the great dance lessons and quality instructors. In addition to all that, we enjoyed parties, a tour of the city, delicious dinners, trips to the beach and opportunities to get to know locals. There is no way I would have been able to squeeze in so many awesome activities without Eric’s great planning. This was truly one of the most memorable trips I have ever had."

From Laura Brenton (

"I’m having trouble expressing how much this trip meant to me. But here’s a try ...

This is a trip you don’t want to miss. If you love dancing and love music, you will love this trip. Eric created a cohesive group of people who were really fun to be with - not your typical "group trip". Adding in our Cuban dance partners, it turned into a full-fledged dance party. What a way to experience another culture!

There just isn’t enough time to do everything you want. Having Eric make arrangements saved lots of time. We were able to see and do things that wouldn’t be possible traveling solo. Although you could choose to opt out of activities, I never wanted to miss out on anything so it was an action-packed time. Traveling in Cuba, being outside the mainstream media was truly a retreat. If there’s any possibility of going on this trip - GO!

Eric, thanks so much for everything."

From Nora Reznickova (

"I am still trying to recover from the "Cuban dream." Not only did the trip exceed my high expectations, but Eric with his knowledge of the country made it a very special trip with great immersion into the Cuban dance and music and he tailored the experience to every person of the group. It was a very, very busy trip. We saw, heard and danced so much! We made so many connections with local people and especially with Cuban dancers. We saw Cuba changing in front of our eyes. I wish I could go back with the next group."

From Adam F (

"Eric is the ultimate guide for your dance-inspired adventure in Cuba. His expertise of the area, the culture and the local dance scene is truly invaluable. He is open, easy going and a super fun person to be around! No matter what your dancing level, I highly recommend traveling to Cuba with Eric ‘El Cubanito’ Freeman if you’re interested in learning how to dance Cuban salsa in the ultimate full imersion environment."

From Diane Brenton (

"When I hastily signed up for a trip to Cuba, organized and led by the very competent Eric Freeman, I had no idea what a treat I was in for. Having lived in Venezuela for many years, I am well aware of the challenges of negotiating schedules, events, transportation, and lodging in certain countries. Any number of things could have gone wrong, and quite honestly, this was a perfectly run trip. Because of Eric’s experience traveling around and living in Cuba, the whole sojourn was an utter delight. If your goal is to experience the culture, the energy, and the very soul of Cuba, then this is the kind of trip for you. Eric has a knack for lining up "once-in-a-lifetime" meetings. His energy is boundless and infectious, making everything - the dancing, the transport, the sightseeing, the meals - tons of fun. Eric is personable, ever so patient, and super connected. These assets are invaluable when traveling in Cuba, a yet unconnected domain. His friends and his overall know how of ways to maneuver Havana, and the rest of the country, saved us days of flailing, wandering around aimlessly, and frustration. Eric thought of details one may not think of him/herself, e.g. when and how to change money into the 2 differing currencies, where and how to buy water, where to eat, transportation to and from every single event, delicious breakfasts (and all meals), dance lessons AND private lessons, cultural and musical experiences beyond one’s imagination, and so much more! Traveling with Eric as leader opened up a world to us in a way we could never have experienced Cuba without his expertise. I couldn’t recommend this trip more highly. It was inexplicably fun and extremely productive, all due to the meticulous and intuitive planning by Mr. Eric Freeman. You’d be crazy to pass up a trip offered by him. Go and have a great time!"

From Peyman (Sasha) Razifard (

"I had wanted to visit Cuba for years. So when Eric mentioned his upcoming tour I was excited to join the trip, though I didn't know what to expect. It turned out that the trip exceeded my expectations in every aspect and I can't wait to join Eric's next trip to Cuba. Eric was very well organized, we stayed at comfortable apartments, enjoyed lovely tours of Havana, Tropicoco Beach and the town of Vinales. We shared great food and enjoyed awesome dance classes during the week. It was one of those "Once in a Life Time Adventures" and I highly recommend it."

From Keith Nowicki (

"I went with Eric on his February music and dancing tour in Cuba. I have nothing but good things to say about my experience. The dance schools were energetic and intensive. The nights were filled with live music and dancing. Eric spent a lot of effort to make certain everything ran smoothly and provided us with an overflowing selection of events to attend.

Cuba itself is in a transition and seeing the changes to the society was fascinating. In my free time I wandered the city and talked with people. If you want to see what Cuba has been like due to years of tense relations with the US and see how it will change as those international relationships normalize, now is the time to go and see this fantastic island. But, here's a warning: A few of us got pretty depressed having to leave that island and return to our normal lives. I've already asked to be included on the trip later this year."

From members of Salsaville's 3rd Group trip to Havana and Santiago, Cuba, March 2016
From Matthew Dean Moyers (Matthew.Moyers@Colorado.EDU):

"What an experience! When can I go back? My name is Matt Moyers and I have just returned from a 10-day Cuban excursion packed with music, laughter, meaningful connections, and salsa dancing. I am blessed to have been able to travel all over the world within my short 23 years of life, and I can say without a doubt that my time in Cuba gave me the most lasting impression of a different culture.

The big difference between the other journeys and the 10 days in Havana was the fact that I went with a group from Salsaville Dance Studios. Our leader, Eric Freeman, had visited the country over 20 times before and had mapped out a daily schedule filled to the brim with dance classes, tours, dinners, and live music. In between our busy schedule, I was able to reach out to the friendly Cuban people who were eager to dive into deep conversations about everything from baseball to international relations. In this way I was able to utilize every second of my time on the island and fully engage in the vibrant Cuban community. I would recommend this program for anyone who sees himself or herself as a "go-getter" and wants to learn not only how to dance salsa, but to fully experience life on the Cuban island with an open mind."

From Jamie Montoya (

"The March expedition to Cuba was an amazing experience that exceeded my expectations as a dancer and as a tourist. Part of my motivation to go on this trip was for the salsa dancing, which was phenomenal in Cuba. There are so many people who are such great dancers, it was even great to watch the children dance with so much confidence and attitude.

Another reason I was inclined for this trip was just pure curiosity about this country that has been cut off from the United States for so many years. Eric did a great job in finding a balance between Salsa and allowing us to tour and experience the city. Even though I do not speak Spanish, there were many opportunities for me to interact with locals and learn a little bit about the Cuban culture.

There was very little time to relax, but all the fun events and activities were well worth it. There was so much to do in so little time, and I was amazed with all that we did in 8 days in Havana. The Los Van Van concert was my favorite experience. That day we also had the chance to hang out with some locals, and take a break from the touristy areas of Havana. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit Cuba, and I hope to get the chance to visit again soon."

From Sally Lamberson (

"Don’t put off this opportunity! I had more fun than I’ve had in 20 years! Seeing Cuba as it is now & experiencing the people, music & dance all at once completely filled my senses. You just can’t get any better of a tour, and worth much more than I paid for. Eric really knows the flavor & the people- and he brings it all to you in a way that helps you really understand Cuba in a visceral way. Architecture- cars- sensuality. We saw the grandeur & the poverty & everything in between.

The dancing? Incredible. There were dance partners for all our lessons, and they joined us on several occasions in the clubs at night, making it less intimidating for those of us not used to the club scene. ALL the dance schools were welcoming & each had a flavor of it’s own. Feeling a part of things, joining in a neighborhood "block party", participating in a band rehearsal & learning what each instrument was for ... all added to the richness of the trip. Eric had everything so well organized, and there was never a moment of nothing to do- but it was also not a problem to create some time & experiences on your own. Our home stays were comfortable & warm. Meeting everyone from our hosts, to our guides, photographer & of course the wonderful people on the tour will never leave my memory."

From Ruth Kalin (

"Just returned from Eric's wonderful trip to Cuba. Where shall I begin? Of course, the dancing, dancing, dancing with our own personal teachers for every class, and then private lessons on top of that. The numerous opportunities to hear live music, twice played by musician friends of Eric's in their own homes and backyards. One night Eric arranged a party at the last moment at the home of a bandleader, he knew - Armando Machado of Los Guanches. An entire roasted pig was brought to the party and Armando invited his family and neighbors, and the teachers from the dancing school came too. We were dancing with Armando's aunts, cousins, friends; it was very special.

Traveling with Eric felt as if you were traveling with a friend who was sharing all of his favorite places and people in Cuba. I'm usually not a traveler who enjoys tours, but I this one couldn't have been better.

This trip was so rich — all the dancing, a little bit of sightseeing but not too much, dance performances, a live performance of the top band in Cuba, dancing in a pavilion in a lush garden with live music and — hardly any tourists! A highlight of this trip were the many opportunities to visit with Cubans in their own homes and talk with them about the political/economic/social conditions in the country.

Eric was conscientious and detail-oriented, and super accommodating. As his aunt (disclaimer!), I was very impressed. This guy left no stone unturned!

It was a great visit to Cuba."

From Shirley Cieluch (

"My trip to Cuba, March 2016, the first leg in Havana, the 2nd leg in Santiago de Cuba.

I don't know where to start. Some of my questions before the trip: 2 weeks is a long time. Will I have the stamina to dance that much? I don't speak the language.

My answers to those questions, 2 weeks was not long enough, I had more than enough stamina to dance every day, and I managed to communicate without knowing any spanish. I fell in love with the people and the country. I personally am going back again.

Eric does an amazing job of guiding you through every step of the way. He schedules a variety of activities above and beyond dance. Whatever you want to get out of the experience is possible, just ask. He gives you knowledge and tools that allow you to navigate independently."

From Lori Kashman (

"Que experiencia fascinante! This was a trip of a lifetime. I have dreamed of visiting Cuba for over 20 years. Eric made this dream a reality. He exposed us to a country that we could never have experienced so intimately without his vast knowledge of the culture and the people. Eric proved to be an invaluable resource as we explored this foreign land, which is surprisingly only 90 miles from the shores of the USA.

I loved feeling like we had ventured back in time to the 1950's. Everything from the gorgeous, old model Chevy's to the antiquated, colorful mansions - you could close your eyes and imagine what it must have been like in the heyday - before the Castro dictatorship put an end to it all. The opulence of the past remained very evident as we roamed the streets of Havana.

The warmth from our new Cuban friends was so profound. Gretell, Keyler, Karel, our host families, and the dance instructors were all amazing! They made us feel so welcome and seemed to really enjoy sharing their culture with us. The energy there was phenomenal. Eric exposed us to many diverse opportunities. I loved when we went to see a private rehearsal of the Oderquis Reve y su Changui band. We got a history lesson of how Cuban music evolved and had the opportunity to talk to the musicians and interact with them on a personal level. We took a group picture before we left the rehearsal venue, and before we left Havana, we received a CD from the band with our personal group picture, and a picture of the Cuban flag and US flag together, along with the title of all the songs on their disc. I was beyond touched by this gesture of friendship. It is a souvenir I will treasure forever.

Thank you, Eric, for all you did to create an unforgettable, unique journey to a country you have admired for so many years. It was truly wonderful to see Cuba through your eyes."

From Gary Brenner (

"My Salsaville trip to Cuba. Here are a few impressions:

1. Today Cuba is the place. Everyone wants to go. But you'd like to do more than just look on. You'd like to be part of the scene, to share a moment beyond commerce. Traveling Cuba with Eric is like being with a really cool cousin who not only knows everybody, grammas to hepcats, but they all love him. And because he's your cousin, they give you credit for being really cool too, and you are cool: everyone wants to talk to you and dance with you, even if, like me, you don't dance worth beans.
2. The State Department should be paying Eric to conduct these trips. Since when have a bunch of not-rich or famous Americans made a kinder, gentler, livelier, and more likable presence than the Europeans? Case in point: Near the Hotel Florida, we step off the street into a huge barroom with sky-high ceilings. Inside, a 4-piece band, guitar, flute, congas and string bass. Some of the tables are populated by Nordic blonds chain-smoking and just looking, looking bored. We come in, with all the spark and goofiness of a kids' birthday party, sit down, and the band begins to play. And after a while, Eric gets up and dances with Nikita, with Aunt Ruthie, with Jamie, with Sally. Matt and Shirley get up. Griff gets up. Lorrie gets up. The band looks up and smiles. It just fits, it complements what's going on in a respectful and good-hearted way.
3. There are glitches. It's often too hot, and sometimes we furiously wait for each other to take another picture or show up late in front of the apartment building. Eric is not expert at herding cats; hepcats included. Bring your Imodium and Cipro - someone is going need it. The maniacal swarm known as traffic in Santiago will batter your senses and choke you in fumes.
4. Things to bring: a willingness to open your heart (guides, drivers, dance instructors, even people you meet on the street will pry open your heart), some Spanish, and a dollop of patience. A few dance steps wouldn't hurt, although, after 2-some weeks, it's still my belief that a fearless attempt will carry you.
5. In the early fifties, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck starred in a screwball comedy called Roman Holiday. It's set in Rome, Rome is beautiful, there isn't much of a plot. One night at about 2 am as we sit in a Chinatown restaurant after searching half of old Havana on foot for a place to eat (our redoubtable driver, Kayler following in his beautiful red and white two-toned '54 or '55 "Club" car), it occurs to me that this is the essence of that movie. Getting away from a world that seems inescapable, and into another, more exotic, with your heart on your sleeve and nothing to do but drink it in."

From Judy Grosswiler (

"I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Cuba and hope someday to go again! The Cuban people were so open, warmly friendly and engaging and I feel very close to the ones I connected with--especially a violinist in a street band (we shared making music). Going to the National Theatre to see the National Ballet of Cuba was very exciting. The crumbling buildings had a rich, elegant grandness to them. People's homes open right onto the street and I loved walking down them because there was such an opportunity to communicate and feel a part of their world. Seeing and riding in "fixed up" old cars brought back memories and was fun. Last but not least, my salsa technique was lifted to a higher level."

From members of Salsaville's 4th Group trip to Havana and Santiago, Cuba, November 2016
From Roberta Dages (

"There is no question that I will go back to Cuba. If you love to dance, listen to salsa music and connect with people of another culture I would highly recommend signing up for one of Eric's trips to Cuba. The anticipation was high for me, and my expectations were exceeded.

Even though the second week of our trip was interrupted by the mandatory mourning period for Fidel Castro, Eric kept us busy. We all have different ideas of what we want in a trip of this type. For me....meeting people, learning some of the history, dancing with the was all part of the experience. One of my favorite memories was walking by the open doorway of a home one night and hearing family members clap out the clave rhythm while their toddler was learning to walk. The beat starts early and is a part of their lives.

The trip started with me being terrified that I wasn't good enough. That changed when I realized the dance partners and studio owners were encouraging and helpful and that they really want to see you succeed. By the end of the trip I was feeling much more confident. The confidence however, was not just in my improved ability but in the freedom to dance for myself.

Every day since I have returned from Cuba new memories have come to mind; memories of the Cuban experience and memories with my 14 travel companions who are now forever friends."

From Diana Vasquez (

"I had the most wonderful time in Cuba with the group that Eric took in November, 2016!!!! I am a dancer and have traveled to many places, but Havana, Cuba was one of the best! I wanted to go with Eric’s groups because I know Eric has been going to Cuba for many years and I knew I could not have the experience I was looking for unless I went with someone who knew the area and the people well. The majority of our trip was experiencing the local life and people, not the tourist attractions, which is what I was looking for. We went to local neighborhoods, we went to local people’s houses. The taxi drivers became our friends. The lady that owned the B&B where I stayed was like an aunt. The dance studios and night clubs experience was one like no other I have had in any of the places I have visited!!

I was so pleased with Eric’s guidance, planning of the trip and concern for everyone’s enjoyment as well as their safety and well-being. Eric is a real professional and knows the area and people well. Thank you Eric for an experience I will always treasure!!! I definitely want to go on another one of your group trips."

From Sanae Elmoudden (

"Traveling in a group with Eric Freeman to Cuba is one of the best experiences that could happen to you. Eric was excellent. He planned our itinerary for each day based on our own unique needs. He paid attention to every member of our large group of 14 members. Based on his vast and accurate knowledge of the country, he set up our expectations prior, during, and after our travel. For instance, one of his suggestions was to bring snacks from the US. This was very handy during the day but also in late nights after having a great time dancing our night away. In addition he made outstanding suggestions considering each group members personal likes and dislikes for food and activities. He directed our meat lovers, vegan, and vegetarian members to restaurants that satisfy their needs.

Although I cannot do justice to the gorgeous experience I had with Eric Freeman during our travel in few paragraphs, I can tell you that it is one of the best travel experiences I had, and I have traveled to each continent. Cuba is a fun and a historic country. Eric organized our dance classes and music knowledge so we can have a taste of many types of Cuban dancing and music. He even organized our classes from an easier school to a more difficult one so that we can feel and experience our own sense of achievements. However, a fun time is not the only thing you are guaranteed when you travel with Eric. History in making seems to be part of the agenda. Our prior group was in Havana with Eric when Air Force landed in Cuba for the first time in more than 70 years ago. Our own group got to experience the historic event of Fidel Castro's death while we were on the soil of Havana. So yeah I would definitely encourage you to travel with Eric Freeman as he made our travels fun, stress free, easy, and historic. And, yes, if time permits I would travel with him again to Cuba in a heartbeat."

From Charmaine Lawrence (

"If you love dance, salsa music, and people, this is the trip for you! Our group had many different personalities, but I truly enjoyed sharing our love of dance and learning about Cuba together.

For me, there were many highlights....starting with the 'band rehearsal' of friends of Eric's, all of our classes, a concert in the Jardines, and last but not least, the special new friends I made. Eric arranged home visits with Cubans at two different spectrums of life in Havana. I am already looking forward to a reunion!

A traveler to Cuba should be prepared for the anything....power outages, music around every corner, interesting car rides and gorgeous architecture!

Thanks, Eric, for the trip of a lifetime❤"

From Jesse Garland (

"On the trip:
- This trip was life changing. So many words that I want to say right now but not enough room or time to get them all down. The music was absolutely amazing - almost every corner you turned you could find things. And the dancing! OMG I learned more in the 2 weeks than I have ever known my entire life and I grew up dancing salsa in the streets near Mexico. If you are able to take the trip this is definitely NOT something to pass up. I'm already looking to see if I can go again next year.

On Eric:
- Eric was super helpful in getting us prepared. Making sure we had what we need in advance and I think I probably packed more than I really needed but I was happy to be prepared. Eric was great about making sure we got to the places that we needed to be and that we had as many opportunities to experience the music and dancing as we physically could handle. He was very attentive to making sure those of us with dietary restrictions were covered as well. He even helped me haggle down the laundry fees when there was a language mis-understanding. :) All in all he was great to hang with, learn from, and have as a guide."

From Jessica Montoya (

"My experience for the November 2016 Havana trip was one of the most incredible I have ever had. Going to Cuba has always been a dream. Dancing is my passion and I wanted to experience the authenticity of Cuban culture and dance.

I chose to go with Eric because I believe he shares the same passion for the Cuban people and culture as I do. Eric has put the time and effort in to making his trips no less than amazing.

My time in Cuba has been life changing in so many ways. I came back with my soul filled with the beautiful melodies and movement of Son, Rumba, Salsa, Changüí and so much more. I view life must sweeter. I was able to dance non-stop ... except to eat and sleep a little! ha! But everyone was able to do their own thing when they needed to, which put no pressure on anyone. Our group was absolutely phenomenal... like a family even though many of us just met for the trip. I made life long friendships.

Eric provided a connection taking us into a beautiful land where we had such unique opportunities that were priceless to me; from awesome dance workshops, amazing concerts from the best Salsa bands like, Alexander Abreu, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Maykel Blanco y Su Salsa Mayor just to name a few .., city tours, private band rehearsal (one of my favorite experiences), dance opportunities that only locals know about, and wonderful locals sharing their knowledge about the country.

This trip sparked a fire inside to continue my Cuban journey... I am so grateful to Eric for all he did for me, the others in our group, and the beautiful Cuban people.

Jessica Montoya
Cuba - 4th Group"

From Jeanine Butler (

"Eric Freeman’s Salsaville excursions to Cuba are a great way to combine learning about the real Cuba, its culture and people, with all of its charm, while experiencing its amazing dance and music.

Eric has a lot of experience traveling, is very good with logistics - from visas to airfare - and has many connections in Cuba, including money exchanging, private photographers, Cuban drivers of historic cars, Internet cards, Paladars (home-based restaurants) and Casas particulares (private homestays with Cuban families), etc, etc., so you can focus more on enjoying your visit, and Cuban people, culture and country.

The trips are fully packed with a lot of variety, so you will be sure to get a good sampling of Cuban people and culture - you can always opt out of an activity if you want bit of a slower pace, as I did occasionally.

Traveling with a group of Americans, most who spoke some Spanish, enabled me to tag along and enjoy the trip in spite of being both hearing-impaired and non-Spanish speaking.

As a vegetarian, I managed to find enough good food to eat, but I recommend for veggies to bring along snacks to space out your meals, as what you are used to will be mostly impossible to find. Eric was kind enough to go to extra trouble to make sure I had veggie options at meals.

Even when unexpected circumstances curtail plans, as in Fidel Castro’s passing during our trip, Eric was quick to negotiate the continuation of our plans, as in our Santiago dance classes, and come up with alternative activity options to replace what we could not control: the ban on music throughout the country during the 9-day mourning period.

I would highly recommend Eric Freeman’s Salsaville’s excursions to Cuba, especially for those who love dance and music."

From Juelz Lange (

"Thanks again for some great lifetime memories! It's great to see all the photos and videos on fb! I would definitely recommend your trip to anyone who wants to improve their dancing, learn new styles of salsa, and dance with dancers who have sabor and love dancing, could feel it on the dance floor with every dancer. The trip was a real Cuban experience and for anyone who wants to feel immersed in Cuba and it's culture they should consider the two week experience to Havana and Santiago. Kudos for herding a group of independent cats while at the same time coordinating meals, rides, shopping, etc. for everyone.

Lets keep in touch for a possible next trip!"

From Bill Kotsch (

"This is the tour for people who don't like tours. Eric is well organized and a wealth of ideas and information. He offers plenty of planned activities. However the atmosphere is congenial and relaxed, and everyone is able to pursue their own agendas.

Cuba is a marvelous place; the people are warm and friendly; and the dancing is wonderful. I highly recommend it, and I look forward to my next trip with Eric to Cuba."

From members of Salsaville's 5th Group trip to Havana and Santiago, Cuba, January 2017
From Dan Klein (

"I can't begin to enumerate the rich experience that Eric choreographed for each member of our group. More than just dance (as if that wasn't enough) -- going to Cuba with Eric is an rich experience not to be missed. Each day was an adventure -- specially catered meals, dancing on the beach with a live Salsa band, a pig roast followed by live music and dancing, etc. This was not a trip that that I, an experienced traveler, could have duplicated on my own--at any price point.

Eric knows Cuba intimately and goes to amazing lengths to insure every member of the group gets an experience that is perfect for them. Want to dance all night -- Eric knows the best venues and will send his driver to pick you up when the clubs close; you want to do a relaxing side-trip to a colonial town -- Eric can set that up as well and will insure that it all goes smoothly.

If, like me, you are not a proficient dancer and haven't enjoyed dance lessons in the past... no worries--learning to dance/dancing in Cuba is really, really fun. And, of course, if you're an accomplished dancer you're going to have the time of your life."

Nora Reznickova (

"I chose to go for a SECOND trip to Cuba with Eric as I already knew: It will be well organized, we will hear excellent music and meet interesting local people, dancers and musicians, I will dance a lot and improve a lot and I won’t need to take care of anything except having valid passport and comfortable shoes to dance in. That was true and much more. I like Eric’s creativity, flexibility, how he builds up on the experience from the previous trips. He made the trip again a very rich experience. It allowed every member of the group to meet their own goals at their own pace. I hope more people can experience Eric’s introduction to Cuba in future. It is so worth it!"

Jenny Plaza (

"One or two paragraphs is not enough to describe my experience in Cuba. I got together with my sister Terry last night and we spoke about Cuba and how the trip was so worth it because of your planning every little detail. Amazing.

Thanks Eric, I would do the trip again in a heartbeat to see more of the Cuba that I knew not only from history, but also in combination with the dancing and the people we met.

Thank you once again."

Edward Ho (

"Suyan and I really found the trip exceptional. It was beyond our expectations to not only learn the music and dance, but especially to meet the people you arranged in their homes and studios. The memory of such experience will stay with us for a very long time.

As for you, you definitely did a good job preparing for the trip. You communicated with us frequently before the trip including emails and Skype, sharing your own past experiences in Cuba so we knew what to expect when we got there. When we got there, because you personally knew so many locals, you were able to make adjustments and surprises if things did not go as planned. (As I realized these things can happen as a norm in Cuba).

Thank you so much and we really enjoyed the trip."

Claudia Munoz (

"Being that I have always wanted to immerse myself in the heart of Cuban culture, I saw no better way of doing so than to join Salsaville on this epic journey!

Who knew you could dance your way through Cuba!? I joined our New York based dance studio over a year ago. So of course, when I heard about this opportunity to blend my love of travel with dance, who wouldn't jump at the chance.

It's always a safe bet to travel with people who know the lay of the land. Eric Freeman is one of those people. He was able to provide us with the best Cuba has to offer. Whether its a specific menu you seek, a customized itinerary, catching the hottest live bands, dancing in the most popular nightclubs, seeing historical sites, and arranging tours...he has all the answers and is able to accommodate you. I was fortunate to go with some of my family members. We took a couple days to take a road trip and explore the rest of this beautiful country. Of course, Eric was able to arrange for a personal driver immediately. And to put the cherry on top ...a classic 1956 Chevrolet just for our trip!

What's also great about going with this group is the flexibility. Not only did I have the time to perfect my skills at dance classes, I was also able to take time to myself to see the sites which are not part of the itinerary. By day two, I was already strolling down to the market and exploring the lay of the land on my own. There wasn't a moment I didn't feel safe.

The group size is perfect, making it possible to accommodate everyone's personal needs. You will definitely bond together and make some great friends along the way. I know I did:)

I learned so much of the history and passion that goes into Son, Salsa, Afro-cuban, Mambo, and Timba. Dance is the heart and soul of the Cuban culture, and that heart and soul emanates in full force from the Cuban people. It was magnificent to witness.

I definitely recommend anyone looking for an authentic experience to join this group. Cuba is such an incredible, intoxicating place. So much so that I am joining the next group later this year. I guarantee you will want to return too. And you will definitely want to return with El Cubanito;) Thanks to Eric for making this a trip of a lifetime!"

Tatiana Klimov (

"Thank you Eric for the amazing experience! Thank you for the Fun trip filled with hours of dancing every day, tasting local cuisine, visiting historical sites and performances of famous bands. Thank you for the opportunity to meet new Friends!

Don't think, just go and see it for yourself!"

From all the members of Salsaville's 11th Group trip to Havana, Baracoa and Santiago, Cuba, January 2019
From Heather Longway (

"My trip to Cuba with Eric changed my entire life. I've always dreamed of learning salsa and I was immersed in the dance in such a way that I am a completely different dancer now compared to before. Even though the trip started off great, somehow each day of the trip was better than the previous day. We were free to do whatever we chose, but the planned activities were perfect. Eric ran the trip flawlessly. He is easy to trust and completely dependable. He is completely familiar with the area and finds ways to immerse you in the culture quite comfortably. I would recommend this trip to anyone. I will be back to Cuba with Eric again."

From Yolanda Meiler ( ):

"Traveling with Eric is the BEST way to experience Cuba. He takes care of all the details so you can have the trip of your life. He will make sure all your needs are met while your job is to dance, learn and explore this amazing country. He might, at some point, invite you to sing along with a professional band and sing your heart out! I know this is will not be my last trip with Eric to Cuba :-). Gracias Eric!"

From Lori Chaikin (

"I have been a life long traveler, seeing more than 45 countries and have only been on one previous group tour in the past. I generally don’t like to do tours because they generally go to very touristy places. This trip was nothing like that. It was the perfect blend for me of what a tour should be. We were immersed into the Cuban culture in a way that I had never anticipated. The dancing was wonderful and the teachers were fabulous. Having dinner at different people’s houses was magical. The hikes we took, the waters that we canoed in, were spectacular. The people we met, the concerts and recitals we went to really gave me a true glimpse of life in Cuba. It is a spectacular culture and Eric was incredible in his planning with interesting people, places and things to go see and experience. I highly recommend going to Cuba, but you would be a fool not to go without Eric!"

From Janice Clark (

"What an incredible adventure! Everyday got better and better. Learned so much about Cuban dancing, music and culture. Group dynamics were phenomenal. Eric is quite the leader .... He takes charge when needed, collaborates with the group to make sure everyone's needs are met. He has an incredible passion to make sure all participants experience quintessential Cuba. I had the time of my life! And am going home a much better dancer!"

From Monica Johnson (

"Wonderful adventure! Lot's of great dance, lessons, along with much cultural education. Cuba with Eric Freeman is an experience that should not be missed! Worth every dollar! Thanks Eric. You're the best."

From Hubert Smits (

"There are no words for what Eric organized, nor for how he did it. The preparations, the briefings, hints, tips -- it never stopped. He knows the country and the people, he has the contacts, he takes care."

From Jacqueline Bland (

"I can't imagine seeing Cuba with anyone besides Eric. He obviously has great love for the country, the culture, and the people. He planned for everything in great detail giving us the opportunity to experience a wide variety of places, adventures involving hiking, waterfalls, rivers, music & dancing in the street, pig roasts in the countryside & much more. If you have any interest in Cuba - this is the trip for you!"

Later she wrote,

"It's hard to go back to driving, listening to news and reading the New Yorker after my time in Cuba. Everything there felt elemental and authentic. I find myself thinking a great deal of the difficulty of the lives of the Cubans and feeling sad but in the same moment I feel the music and dance in my body and envy them that ability to experience so much joy on a daily basis. I think one can only dance that way after learning it in utero.

I look forward to the upcoming Ritmos Latimos rueda classes and hopefully finding more venues to continue partner dancing. I improved more than I could have imagined. I am writing this while sitting in my gallery listening to old Cuban music thanks to Alexa!

I know this experience has changed me I some way, how it manifests will only come with time. Eric, it was beyond wonderful...I know we all feel this way, you did an amazing job creating this trip. I hope to inspire others to join you."


"Gosh it is fun to relive everything by reading my trip mates' testimonials. Every word is true."

From Ashley Davis: (If you want to contact her, she asked that you contact Eric first (, and he will pass on the message.

"Fantastic trip. Had the opportuity to have direct contact with individuals willing to be open and honest about their experiences. We learned history that is not taught in US history classes. Eric facilitated this and did a wonderful job. I feel lucky and fortunate that I had the chance to join Eric on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. I highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to experience Cuba off the grid."

From Trish Fowler (

"I thought Eric was a terrific facilitator making every effort to care for and respond to each and every one of us while keeping us engaged in dance, cultural events, and experiences in nature. On top of that Eric gave us numerous opportunities for interactions with the Cuban people. Thank you so much for this unforgettable and joyous experience."

Here's a gathering of some of the highlights for me! I just jotted them down as they came to me:

"Responds well to the individual needs of the people on the trip."

"Brings us into situations where we get opportunities to speak and interact with the Cubans."

"We can dance into the wee hours of the night if we want to."

"Helps you with your technology which can be challenging in Cuba."

"Eric finds the best places to hear music & dance - places where the locals go."

Later she wrote:

"Great to read all these testimonials and every word is true! I recall the trip with so much joy. It was such a wonderful unique experience. Thank you so much for what you do-you are enriching so many lives, here in the US and in Cuba."

From Bill Tichi (

"Experiencing Cuba with Eric Freeman leading the way is to learn at a depth not possible through any other means. His deep knowledge and unique experience of Cuba through years of traveling and living throughout the country have allowed him to create a two week opportunity to understand Cuban history and culture. With a focus on Cuban dance and music he is able to provide direct entry to the soul of the Cuban people. His ability to introduce us directly to the people who live across the island gives us an unprecedented experience in learning through meaningful contact."

From James Johnson (

"We just returned from a wonderful tour of Cuba with Eric Freeman (aka and He Can Dance.

We had a wonderful experience throughout Cuba.

We danced, toured Havana, danced, toured Baracoa (great excursions), danced, toured Santiago, and danced some more.

Saw some great dancing performances and music concerts in all the locations and got to participate in a popular salsa band rehearsal. What a fun time.

Oh yeah, the meals were great too.

Much of the dancing included group and private dance lessons. We also got to travel in vintage American cars.

Thanks a lot Eric for a great time and wonderful experience. Well done."

From Robyn Kessler (

"On Eric's Cuba trips you meet people from all walks of life, have incredible varied experiences from impromptu dancing with locals on a ferry, dancing with local dance schools, hiking to waterfalls, beaches, meals in private houses and so much more. He is a great guide with a love of everything Cuba.

I would like to add that besides being married to my husband of 40 years, the tour was the next best thing I have experienced. Thank you to Eric and my tour mates for an amazing adventure. Agua!"

From Peggy Patterson (

"This was not my first trip to Cuba, however it was the best trip. Eric did a wonderful job organizing a full and balanced itinerary and actualizing it. He and his charming Cuban assistants exposed us to Cuban traditional music, dance, a top Cuban band, and much more. Transportation was coordinated and housing was well arranged. There were opportunities to learn different dance styles with Cuban teachers, and connect with local Cubans in their homes and schools. Baracoa was my favorite. Not to be missed. A hiking excursion up river to a secluded waterfall followed by a roasted pig feast, was a picture-perfect way to spend a day. Several articulate Cuban speakers informed us about Cuban history, society and flora and fauna. Sore throat and cold put a damper on my energies the last five days. All and all, I would recommend this trip for enthusiasts of Cuban dance and culture."

From all the members of Salsaville's 12th Group trip to Havana, Baracoa and Santiago, Cuba, November 2019
From Marjori Todd (

"Wow! If you are an adventurer that wants to experience the culture, music and dance of Cuba, hop a ride with Eric Freeman.

Our dancing tour of Havana, Baracoa and Santiago was more fun than I can remember. His many years traveling the country and amassing a huge list of local contacts allowed us to see a more intimate side of Cuba and meet a wonderful array of Cuban people. We enjoyed homestays, authentic dance instructors, nightly music and dance events, beautiful vistas, local guides for history and politics, even a pig roast in the countryside. Every day something magical unfolded. I am a serious traveler of well over 40 countries and this will become one of my highlight trips. I loved it so much, I may do it again!"

From Gary Saddler (

"Eric has us organized well from the outset of the trip! From the moment we arrived it was one amazing highlight after another. After a full 48 hours there we were all stunned, saying to ourselves what more can we expect? Eric never stopped giving us top level options to experience more if we chose to keep going. Our problem at times was not wanting to miss anything so plan a bit of downtime occasionally.

We're already planning another trip. Cuba is magical... If you love dancing & and great music it's a small piece of heaven.

Later wrote: "Eric we are all still coming down from the high that was our trip. You did an amazing job. Hope you're doing great and we'll catch you on the other side."

From Aurora Saddler (

"One of my most memorable trips! Eric had so many special events planned and we hit the ground running! We danced with 2 different dance schools in Havana, went to a beautiful beach where Eric arranged a private concert for dancing on the beach, and ate at some very wonderful restaurants. In Baracoa, we had 2 1/2 days with Oscar, an amazing tour guide, swimming in a river with waterfalls and having a pig roast with locals. We finished out trip in Santiago, dancing with 2 more dancing schools! Mixing with locals, private concerts with full bands .. non-stop fun! Truly a trip of a lifetime! Eric did a fantastic job giving us the ability to have private lessons if we chose to do so. If you get the chance, this is definitely a trip to take part in!"

From Paula Loest (

"The tour was simply out of this world. You really are extraordinarily gifted with your organizational skills and "Erikisms" (nuances). You brought Cuba and her people to light and life in a way I never imagined.

Cuba, the people, food, music & dance is highlighted throughout the Salsaville tour. The "Cubanism" enters through all senses, eyes, ears, mouth, heart & soul. Eric guides you as a local, into the homes, the casa particulars, the fondas (local restaurants), dance & music venues. Through his years of travel, you'll meet & listen to top performers, study with some world renowned instructors ..

Son, Guanguanco and of course, salsa. This journey guies you through the peoples' history, the blended music, religion & love of life which makes for a breathtaking experience! You'll hear many times Cuba is 'complicated', so consider yourself forewarned .. it's also intoxicating."

From Edie Gilboy (

"The trip was wonderful, eye-opening immersion in Cuban culture (dance, music, food) and an opportunity to interact with Cuban people. Visiting the 3 cities of Havana, Baracoa, and Santiago de Cuba highlighted how diverse the country is. We had a great mix of urban & rural. I believe the trip made me a better dancer & more informed citizen of the world.

Eric works super hard before & during the trip to provide these various experiences. His network of contacts and personal knowledge of Cuba made it possible for us to experience things that would not be available with any other tour. Muy bueno!"

From Duncan Todd (

"WOW! FANTASTIC! Amazing salsa dancing/adventure travel. Beyond all expectations. Memories for a lifetime. Eric gets ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ and more.

Thanks for a wonderful trip."

From Diana Pribis (

"What a beautifully immersive experience into the music & dance culture of Cuba!! Each city had a personality & pulse of its own, and all were welcoming and anxious to share their culture with us. Eric's unique knowledge of the dance schools, music venues & scenic areas is what made this trip special. I am so thankful for the experience, and will carry with me the infectious joy of dance that Cuba inspired.

Eric, biggest thanks for the hundreds of details you masterfully coordinated & made it all look easy. An amazing & memorable experience for me!"

From Nina Friedman (

"Eric has amazing contacts in Cuba that make for a 'slice of life' experience. That is not easy for a traveler on one's own to accomplish. For me, that was such a treat since I do not like to travel like a tourist. The dancing with bands 'out & about' with our excellent dance partners made for great dance experiences in local venues. Bands were fabulous!

Since our group was large it could have been challenging to coordinate, but Eric was able. What struck me most was that he really wants to please each person as much as possible and creates ways to meet your needs whenever possible. Though this was my second time in Cuba, I would highly consider a repeat with Salsaville!"

From Suzi Finkelstein (

"To be outstanding, you must stand out. Eric created a new world for me of music, dance, culture and family. One can visualize in our minds what to expect, yet the time here was beyond my expectations.

I will return soon for another wonderous adventure of salsa, son, rumba, and cha-cha-cha. Walking down the streets of Havana fulled me with joy to be a part of the Cuban people.

Swimming in the sea, a salsa band at sunset... Hiking in Baracoa to water falls... Going to someone's home for a private concert to learn about Cuban rhythms... Cuban salsa lessons in Santiago.

I am changed. Eric you are awesome. You created magic and joy for me and our group... gracias señor."

From Hubert Smits (

"Well organized with great experiences planned for the group. And also room to add your own activities. I loved the private lessons. This was my second trip with Eric this year, and the experience only got better.

Eric comes with a long experience, deep, and broad. He "gets" Cuba, the people and the culture. Most of all the dances (of course), and also nature, history, and the towns. Absolutely recommended. I'm thinking about the next rip.

P.S. Celebrating your birthday here is the best."

From Denise Slone (

"The organization was great. I was told by people on previous trips that this would be life changing,but I had no expectations about this trip. I found that in the beginning of the trip everyday just kept getting better. This truly was a fabulous experience - each part of the trip was a new and wonderful experience.

I highly recommend you taking Eric's trip for a wonderful exposure to Cuba, dance, music, and culture."

From Sian O'Halloran (

Eric is incredible at making connections with various communities in Cuba! At each of the three places we visited Eric was greeted on the street (or in the bosque) by people he knew. Those connections added a significant dimension to the trip. In traveling with Eric we had access to communities of dancers, musicians, homeowners and families who warmly welcomed us.

Dance studios: I enjoyed the variety of dance schools. Each has something to offer. Marisui is a marvel, I wish I had more time to learn from her. Loved the lead dance teachers in Santiago.

Tours in Havana….great! The guided tour covering architecture, culture, and history was highly educational. The Santeria tour was fascinating and I will read the recommended books. The ‘artists alley’ was amazing. More time to explore would be great. Loved the 1950’s cabs and very friendly drivers. Such nice people!

The trip to Baracoa was wonderful, the people, the views, Oscar, the fabulous tour guide, the cascada, the playas (and dancing on the beach!), the tour to the chocolate ‘farm’ was incredibly interesting and enjoyable. The owner was fabulous. The performance by the dancers was marvelous in Baracoa. I enjoyed having time to relax and wander after a great, but very busy week in Havana.

Santiago…loved the dance school, the clubs, the concerts, the town. The tour to the fort (very hot) was really interesting. The social and political tour was educational. Loved St. Pauli’s’ restaurant too.

There’s just so much to love about the trip! I’m not a late-night person and was fine with missing a few of the many events. I am glad it was fairly easy to opt out when I wanted to do so.

Gretel was amazing. With a group this large I suggest having her travel to Baracoa to help (or a local person) coordinate people and activities.

Take away: I’d go again! Eric has so many connections, is very tuned into the culture, and provides a vast array of opportunities. I learned so much and made some new friends.

From Karen Hackett (

"I loved the trip, the country, the people of Cuba. Would like to see a written itinerary or schedule before & during the trip so participants could plan in advance. Great tours, and great time. Maybe fewer events and longer at each event! Thanks for all the help!"

From Hannah Lewis (

"From his 20+ years of travelling to Cuba, Eric knows so many people and hidden gems all over the country. He does his best to personalize the trip for everyone's special interests. This can be a bit too much for as many people as were on our trip, but I was able to fulfill several special wishes of mine. For my first trip to Cuba, it was great to learn how the country works and to make many Cuban friends though dance and music. Salud."

From Hugh Young (

"What most impressed me was Eric's knowledge & connections in the Cuban dance and music world. He knows excellent dance schools with quality instructors. In the evenings, he knew where to go to see great music & to dance. We came to Cuba for dance & music -- we were not disappointed."

From Rebecca Durham (

"Eric did a great job at managing every individuals needs and desires. He was available and committed to making sure everyone was having a great time."

From all the members of Salsaville's 14th Group trip to Havana, November 2022
From Denise Larson (

"It was an experience of a lifetime in so many ways and this was only possible because of Eric's special blend of skill & experience, and meticulous focus & spontaneity.

I had intended to join Eric's dance/educational trip to Cuba many times before. Finally work/life balance afforded me the opportunity this year and the experience was everything and more than I anticipated. As expected, we were paired with a Cuban dance instructor and enjoyed many hours of instruction as well as dancing at evening venues. The dancers were joyful and playful; my instructor was not only an amazing dancer, but such a great instructor. My accommodations provided spectacular views out the window and from the rooftop. When not dancing, we toured Old Havana with an expert guide, played, danced and swam at the nearby beach, dined on local cuisine, visited a tobacco farm and joined the family for a meal, hiked to amazing vistas in the rural regions, taxied in the infamous old and mostly refurbished cars, wandered through parks and along the ocean-front boardwalk, and deepened our understanding of the music of Cuba via the guidance from local musicians. We formed friendships with each other and our Cuban hosts.

All of this was abundantly available to enjoy due to Eric's unique combination of preparedness and spontaneity. Eric was not only prepared to be our guide due to his many previous excursions to the island, he had also visited Cuba weeks prior to best prepare for our group experience. Eric had already sampled the local restaurants, re-connected with dance instructors and proprietors, and increased his library of useful contacts. Hence, Eric expedited our currency exchange process as well as payment for group events and meals, provided cell phone options, supplied step-by-step travel instruction, negotiated the best deal on taxis, checked in on our levels of satisfaction with accommodations and instructors, tracked our varying itineraries and our overall well-being, and modeled for us how to step outside of our zones of comfort to fully appreciate the experience. In addition to the monumental amount of detail-tracking, Eric made room for the unplanned: on the way home from a dance venue, he suggested we walk the final blocks along the ocean-front boulevard, where a street musician played as we sang and danced and got drenched by cresting waves. He helped arrange for one of us to customize their dance instruction, investigated purchase options for souvenirs, invited us to dance in restaurants, on the sand, the sidewalk, the hotel veranda… etc.

I could not expect a more thorough and attentive guide.

Not only would I recommend that you go, I recommend that you make the space in your life for this experience sooner than later."

From Cece Sepulveda (

"Eric did an outstanding job. The trip was fun and full of adventure. My heart, soul & spirit are completely full from this experience.

Eric has amazing contacts in Cuba and he thought of everything. It was organized and well planned. I will follow Eric anywhere. 😊

Literally everyone said I was glowing and looked refreshed. One guy said I had that "pregnancy glow".... What???!!! 😳😂

Needless to say Cuba was exactly what I needed to recharge. Thank you all for sharing this experience with me. I will be back!!"

From Katelyn Blomer (

"After just getting back from Cuba with Eric, I don't know where to start. I am so incredibly impressed with Eric as an organizer and leader. Those 10 days in Cuba were some of the best I have experienced. Every single person on the tour I now consider a close friend. Everyday was full of just the right amount of activity. Eric provided us with safe transportation, stress-free, everyday. We went on walking tours. We went to nightclubs. We attended a private band rehearsal. We visited a tobacco farm. We toured the city, country and even a cave. All day on Saturday we partied on the beach and Eric even hired a band. I danced salsa while the sun started to set.

We were all in Cuba to learn Casino-style salsa. Eric provided us access to a dance school and I had my very own private dance teacher devoted to me each of the 4 days of the 3 hour workshops. What an experience for me to finally work on my salsa style. I learned techniques and moves I have always wanted to learn.

It is obvious Eric has done tremendous research and has spent many years getting to know Cuba and its people. His love for Cuba has resulted in the magical tour experience that he offers. I am so grateful I took the adventure and I will definitely be joining in again on another tour in the future."


"The Cuba trip was so awesome!!! The above testimonial came from my heart."

From Hubert Smits (

"My short version: it was as good as the previous two trips with Eric. And different. Cuba has changed with the pandemic. People are much more in need of help and simple things like a taxi can be hard to get. Eric is the person who handles all those things. He prepares the group for what is coming, and keeps us informed about what is happening. He does find that taxi, and tickets to a live concert.

When I go again, I will be more selective with the dance partner I get, as the one I had I was somewhat lacking given the fact that I've been dancing salsa for ten years now. I’m not the best, but I am above what she could teach me. For the average dancer of the trip she would have been fine.

That is the only change I can think of. Recommended. That's why I went for a third time."

From Saurabh Totey (

"Going on this trip was an extremely unique experience. I was able to experience aspects of Cuba in a manner that I wasn't expecting - the music and dance lens was fun and informative. Despite that focus, I'm glad we were still able to sightsee and learn about Cuba's history and current situation. This trip truly was everything I could have hoped for and more.

As a leader, I felt Eric was effective. Eric knows Cuba well and we were able to have flexible plans. I appreciate your opinionated insights, and I appreciated that you knew Havana well enough to guide us to more unique experiences that one would have difficulty knowing about when traveling solo."

Thanks for hosting this trip and having me! It was a blast!"

From Indya Love (

"Eric did a great job in planning this trip for us down to every little detail. It was so helpful to have him as a guide to help us navigate the Cuban ways of doing things.

It was a really fun trip filled with dancing, music, ropa viejas, pina-coladas, hiking, cigars, rooftops, fun car rides, beautiful beach time and so much more…..

The group was incredible and made this trip what it was. I met so many amazing and inspiring individuals and had great conversations and connections with all of them.

I highly recommend traveling to Cuba with Eric. His depth of knowledge about the Cuban culture and the Cuban ways is admirable and remarkable. He goes above and beyond to deliver Cuba to us.

No regrets and can't wait for another trip!

Thanks Eric and a big shout-out to his amazing assistant Gretell!"

From Monica King (

"I had a great time.

It was very fun to exchange with the locals. My favorite experiences were going to the beach and Viñales. The trip left me with new friends in Havana and new friends that were participants from the trip.

Muy divertido."

From Munirih McLaren (

"I loved the trip! Such fun and great people. I don't usually do organized trips but this makes me reconsider.

You organized well. Sometimes I think there was too much to do and sometimes it was difficult to get your attention, but you were juggling a lot and that is understandable.

Thank you for your efforts."

From Teresa Buttler (

"The Salsaville trip to Havana is a unique and wonderful way to visit Cuba. I loved the format of the dance classes and the variety of afternoon/weekend activities as well as the variety of evening venues.

Eric made it possible to go places and do things that I never would have been able to do on my own."

As always, the best memories are the unscripted, chance encounters along the way: guitar solos on the Malecon, beach dance parties, etc.

I still struggle to describe the experience to my friends and family. Obviously, people have been asking ever since we got back and I can't quite strike the right tone. It was an amazing trip in so many ways: fun, educational, relaxing (in an odd way). Group travel is difficult for me. This group was great and I know I could not have done any of it on my own, so I absolutely appreciate Eric's experience, contacts, and background work on our behalf."

Overall, the trip was extraordinary."

From Marc Buttler (

"The visit to Cuba really exceeded my expectations. As soon as we were met at the airport I felt welcome in Cuba and in the group.

The lodging in Alicia's Penthouse was definitely a highlight. Alicia and the whole staff treated us so warmly and the views and rooftop patio were exceptional benefits.

The instructors did a great job teaching each of us what we needed to know to improve and the personalized attention and warmth from my, "OP" made it easy to get through the 3-hour days. Also, finishing each day with an hour of Rueda was a great way to end each day with a bang!

The beach and Viñales visits were awesome. By the end of our visit to Viñales, I was exhausted but very happy.

The most frustrating parts of the trip for me were the money and transportation. It was really difficult at times to plan when we were never sure if we were going to exchange $ into CUP, especially as we got closer and closer to the end. In retrospect, I would plan to bring several $20 bills to use for exchange in an emergency at a poor exchange rate.

When we were out late at night and people wanted to split, it felt awkward to have to impose on Eric. If the Nave app was more reliable, we might have been able to handle this more smoothly.

Overall, the trip was incredible and I would recommend going with Eric for a top-notch experience and a chance to learn about the Cuba that you only see with someone as experienced, caring and personable as Eric.

Just go, you can thank me later."

From members of Salsaville's 15th Group trip to Havana, February-March 2023
From Miranda Rigby (

"I decided to join the trip very spontaneously after my cousin and aunt (who already knew Eric) invited me to join them. I was a bit apprehensive as I had never danced Salsa before and had also never been on such an organized group trip but thought it would be a great experience and when else would I go to Cuba…I'm already working out when I can return and where I can go dancing when I get back home!

The trip was absolutely incredible, not just because the country was so vibrant and welcoming, but also because we were given some experiences that we would never have had if we hadn't been with Eric. The contacts that he has made over the years are invaluable and mean the team of local dancers and his assistant are incredible, their skills and knowledge of Salsa and other Cuban dances was to such a high standard that it meant I picked up the dance very quickly and by the end of the week was able to dance with not only the rest of the group in the classes but also with other people at the Salsa club! The dance teachers also accompanied us to the clubs which was a great opportunity to practice what we had learnt in the classes in another setting, particularly Betty who came out with us every night and showed us such a good time!

Alongside the dancing we were also given the opportunity to do some more classical 'tourist' things and see some more of Havana and Cuba. We also went to some wonderful concerts and got to meet some very talented musicians.

The trip was made so smooth by all the organizing that Eric and Gretell did behind the scenes which meant we were always able to zip off to the next place in a country where transport logistics are not the easiest! Occasionally there was a bit too much discussion around organization for me but I am normally not one to plan much on holidays and am also not used to group trips.

All in all it was an unforgettable experience and I've now got the itch to keep Salsa'ing! I would certainly recommend."

From Eddie Goldstein (

"Eric's Salsaville trip to Cuba was fabulous.

I had hesitated going in the past because I thought it was too expensive. It turned out to be a bargain! Other than food, drinks, and souvenirs, everything was included. That in itself is a bargain. But the fact that Eric lined up an incredible itinerary and took care of all the typical hassles (taxis, tickets, dance lessons, etc.) made the trip so smooth for us. It was smooth for us because Eric was constantly working his butt off making the upcoming arrangements every step of the way. From pre-trip planning (what to bring and what to expect) to WhatsApp messages, reminding us to bring ear protection and meet downstairs at 7:00 sharp. Of course, at 7:00 the taxis were there and ready.

It's not just Eric that pulls this thing off. He has put together an entire community in Cuba that makes it all happen. From his incredible assistant Gretell, to the team of dance instructors who not only were there for every class, but also often joined us at night for the social events.

Speaking of social events, we went to a giant salsa festival, a hot Salsa dance band at an outdoor club, a walking tour of downtown Havana, afternoon dance clubs, dinners, in restaurants that we'd have ever discovered on our own, an evening dinner & dance party with all of us and all of the staff, a trip to the beach, evenings at some of Havana's hottest dance clubs, and a couple of evening concerts. One of the coolest events was what I call the Salsaville/Cuban band mash up. We rode to an out-of-town spot that was basically a very large outdoor covered garage. There was an incredible salsa band already paying when we got there. Eric told us to mingle with the band WHILE THEY ARE PLAYING. The next thing I knew I was sharing the drums with the conga player while others in our group were dancing with the singers or playing the güiro that makes that zipping sound. There was also an incredible TRES player (look it up), and a goat wandering around in the background.

One of the things that is seldom mentioned is the camaraderie between all of us (and with the dance teachers.) No one was ever alone. We all got to know each other and had fun together as we experienced all of the incredible stuff that Eric lined up. And if someone, or a small group, wanted to peel off to do something different, Eric & Gretell would help us make it happen.

The real highlight of the trip was the magic show. But I don't want to spoil the secret…

So, as I said, what I thought was going to be an expensive trip turned out to be a bargain, and a trip I will always treasure."

From Maureen Keelty (

"I've gone on several of Eric's trips to Cuba now and have always had a really good experience. Eric enjoys sharing his love of Cuban people, music and dance and goes out of his way to make sure that the folks on his trip have a very rich and authentic experience. I've always found the other travelers in the group to be interesting and friendly and have enjoyed meeting and spending time with many Cuban people."

From Marjorie Todd (

"This is my second trip to the fascinating country of Cuba with Eric. If you are looking to experience the best dance partners in the world, improve your salsa dancing and listen to famous Cuban musical groups, join Eric on one of his Cuban tours. There is also time devoted to Cuban history, the famous Cuban beaches and the rich countryside and its people. Eric has spent years bringing groups to Cuba and knows the ins and outs of this complicated and delightful country. Trust me when I say you would not want to do it without a good guide and local support. Eric brings the intimate Cuban experience to you. Invaluable and tons of fun!"

From Patty Todd (

"I had a fantastic time in Cuba. The people we met were so kind and had such wonderful energy. Eric and Gretell (and Betty) did a great job of taking us to incredible live music and the best dance clubs. It was a blast to watch people sing along to all the Cuban music. Throughout the trip my understanding of salsa music grew and I was excited to bring those new skills home with me. Our dance instructors were exceptionally talented dancers and very easy to follow. Mimi and I started plotting our next trip to Cuban only days after arriving. We can't wait to visit again."

From Ruth Kalin (

"I enjoyed the trip very much. One of the things that makes your trips special is that you provide experiences of an unusual kind. We get to meet real people, often in their homes, and engage with Cubans in their everyday lives. This is what makes travel interesting and enjoyable for me, and such experiences are always a part of your trips.

I also always know I can trust you to make sure the casas where we stay are nice places, that the drivers who take us around are good drivers, that the restaurants where we eat are the kinds of places I’m happy to eat in. When I arrive in Cuba, I know there will be someone waiting for me at the airport, and when I leave I know that there will be someone to take me back to the airport, even if it is just me alone going to that particular flight. I find this very reassuring.

You provide a diverse array of experiences involving learning, observing, participating, partying, just enough sightseeing, offbeat stuff like watching a band rehearse in the bandleader’s backyard, and the opportunity to speak to people who can give us background on the history of Cuba and current Cuban issues. We meet Cubans from all walks of life.

And there is certainly no shortage of dancing and fabulous music.

I find your willingness to accommodate people’s individual needs, desires, and quirks quite remarkable.

I think you are a phenomenal organizer."

From all the members of Salsaville's 16th Group trip to Havana, November 2023
From Cheri Rubin (

"Eric's strength is in his ability to blend planning, safety, and spontaneity to create an itinerary utilizing trusted relationships with Cubans that he's built over the years. I've traveled with Eric three times - twice to Cuba and once to Colombia - and have had three amazing journeys."

From Alan Rubin (

"Cheri and I have just returned from a tour of Cuba arranged by Eric Freeman. Cheri enjoyed five days of dance lessons, and then I joined her and toured Havana for a couple days and then two other very special places, Viñales and Varadero. Eric's greatest strength lies in his ability to get to know local residents, restaurants, and places of interest. He arranges accommodations with homeowners who rent rooms in their homes (casas), and every one of the rooms where we stayed was comfortable and the homeowners delightful. Eric's knowledge of the island also allowed us to join in very interesting activities such as hikes and private tours of places like tobacco farms and the like, making it far more interesting and engaging than a standard guided tour group. The smaller group also made the trip more intimate and culturally immersive. If you want to see Cuba on a personal level, I highly recommend one of Eric's tours, and make sure to see one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen (Varadero)."

From Francesca Rubin (

"My trip to Cuba with Salsaville was one of the best I've been on in a long time. After visiting over 30 countries, Cuba without a doubt breaks top 3. The accommodations set up were fantastic, and everything needed (SIM card, transit, restaurants) were made flawlessly available by our fearless leader. The best part, of course, were the dance classes and nights out. This was an extra special trip because I got to experience Cuba with my parents, and we all had an amazing time together as a family. Not for a moment did I feel unsafe, and although I only got to experience Havana, it will always have a special place in my heart. Already itching to get back.

Many thanks to Eric for ensuring everything ran smoothly and providing top notch care and attention to detail which made that week unforgettable."

From Marcela Cardenas (

"El viaje a Cuba fue increíble, maravilloso, sorpresivo, encantador, admirable... cada vez que lo recuerdo se me alegra el corazón.

As a teacher and former high school coach, I know what it takes to get a trip planned. And I can say "Eric is the best!!"

He took care of every detail and made sure that we experienced the best of Cuba while we where there. If you are planning on visiting Cuba I highly recommend to go with Eric Freeman!!! He makes it easier and fun! I will travel again with Eric, he is wonderful!"

From Monica Rubin ( ):


From Kylie Southhard (

"Embarking on a journey to Cuba with Eric turned out to be the highlight of my travel experiences. Typically, organizing a trip of this magnitude would have consumed months of my time in planning and coordination. Even with such extensive preparation, the prospect of navigating Cuba independently would have left me feeling nervous and anxious. Yet, Eric took care of all the preparation and planning, easing these concerns and enabling me to completely engage in the experience without the typical worries of organizing and uncertainty. Eric's meticulous planning made this a blissful and carefree experience, and his profound understanding of Cuba's culture instilled a sense of security throughout the trip. Eric's patience and kindness as a trip leader were remarkable, and his extensive connections ensured that we enjoyed the very best of Cuban hospitality. The warmth with which the locals embraced Eric made our journey uniquely special, transforming it into an unforgettable and enriching adventure that surpassed all expectations.

This is truly one of the most remarkable groups of people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. While some might chalk it up to luck, I believe that Eric's well-established network in the US played a significant role in attracting such an incredible group to the trip. My favorite moments of the trip were intertwined in the endless dancing and laughter. Determining a favorite is challenging, but I believe the trip offered a perfect balance of urban dancing, stunning natural scenery, and beautiful beaches. I honestly think that just getting to know the Cubans and their culture was the most amazing part of the trip, and I would have never been able to do that without Eric.

I was the most inexperienced dancer on the trip and I never felt excluded or out of place. Our Salsa teachers were absolutely incredible and I fell in love with dancing. I left Cuba with a salsa glow and truly believe that Salsa dancing will forever be a happy escape for me after going on this trip. And I can't forget to mention how incredibly fun the nights out dancing at the clubs and bars were! I think Cuba is what made Cuba special for me because there is nowhere else in the world like it. Thank you Eric, I will be coming back to Cuba with you I have no doubt in my mind."

From Amanda Witter (

"This trip was the best experience of my life so far as a dancer and an individual. Eric was very communitive about all the details of the trip and what to expect. He was available to answer questions both prior and during the trip, which gave me great confidence and the ability to enjoy everything to the fullest. I was greeted the moment I stepped out of the airport and the fun started immediately! During this trip I saw and felt seamless beautiful dancing, took in authentic images of Cuban life, learned about historical people and places, indulged in fresh flavorful cuisine, laughed endlessly, and truly gained lifelong friends. Cuba will forever have a dear place in my heart and now feels like a second home. My life has been deeply enriched from this trip. I seriously get emotional just thinking of the beauty of this trip. My heart is full. Thank you for everything Eric, I look forward to many more."

From Zuhey Quezada Alatorre (

"I loved this trip to Cuba. I have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life!

Eric is an amazing leader. He always made sure we were enjoying ourselves and also made sure we were safe and with the most amazing people.

Eric went above and beyond my expectations for this trip. Can't wait for the next trip with Eric!"

From Leslie Jones (

"This trip has been possibly the BEST international experience I've ever had. (I've traveled to many countries and on four to five comparable excursions.) The immersion into the rich friendships & community that Eric has developed is unmatched. I plan to go back to Cuba & join him in other countries as well. Can't wait!

As a guide, Eric is committed, engaged, a great communicator, always looking for more opportunities to serve, and loves the people of Cuba. He continuously creates magic!"

From Nancy Latuja (


From Liz Woyczynski (

"Eric loves showing people Cuba. His enthusiasm is contagious. He has certain things he knows to build into the week in Havana - a walking tour of Habana Vieja, a meet up with an awesome band to learn the beautiful instrumental complexities of Cuban salsa, etc. He also finds out what's going on each day, and offers us options - a famous Cuban salsa band, a theater performance of Havana's professional folklore dance troupe, etc. Eric took us to amazing restaurants, with great food, a few with really good live musicians.

The guy he hires to run the dance lessons - who teaches, and who hires all the instructors - is really good at explaining contratiempo. And his group of dance partners were great! We took private lessons with them if we wanted, and we danced with them at night. The locations are terrific. For our overnight stays, we rented rooms a block from the Malecón, with several breakfast options nearby, and takeout food. The dance lessons were in the nicest place I've ever danced - curtains to shade the sun, lots of fans, good speakers for music, a drink and snack bar, art on the walls and a beautiful (danceable) tile floor.

He has great help - the Cuban woman who helps run the tour is very nice. The woman he hires for the walking tour is amazing. He brought in an outside instructor to teach body isolations for salsa who was one of the best instructors I've ever had! He has a Cuban friend who worked as a doctor who talked with us for over an hour, in her home, about life in Cuba, years ago and today - healthcare, shopping, education, etc.

Eric takes care of cell phone service so well! He gives you options. I chose to get a Cuban SIM card. He had it ready for me when we arrived, with my Cuban phone number. And he helped me install my original SIM card just before I left. I had great internet access the whole trip. He also gave us great suggestions about filtering water that worked really well for me.

My dancing improved. It's my third trip to Cuba, and Eric ran a tour that helped me learn more about Cuba. I can't imagine a better dance vacation to Cuba that offers the best dance experience and lots of learning about music, history and life in Cuba!

I had a great time - thanks for so many great memories!"

From Sam Arrighi (

"The trip was fantastic! Cuba is a beautiful place, full of loads of great culture, food, music, and people, and Eric has extensive knowledge of it. I learned a lot of Cuban salsa, Rueda, and multiple other types of music/dance that I didn't even know about before coming.

Eric is extremely knowledgeable and trustworthy as a guide. He's got a lot of knowledge of the country, and he showered us with hot tips about restaurants, dance clubs, and people that he knew about from decades of visits.

I'm definitely planning to try to go again next year."

From Georgia  Petropoulos (

"With a raised eyebrow the Cubans use the word "complicated" with intentional articulation to describe their country. Joyful music with contagious rhythms come from every house, store, car and crack from the once grand deteriorating buildings in Havana. I was on the verge of joy or tears almost the entire trip. What was to be a salsa dance immersive became a life-event. Rich with Afro-Cuban traditions - laced with colonial influences, the forward-thinking people of Cuba have equal pay for men and women (though dismal) it is equal and pro-choice for women rights as they try to negotiate the lack of resources in their daily lives. The resilient, proud and ever hopeful people of Cuba sing when they dance, dance when they work. The musicians are so talented the music they are playing transcend their old worn instruments and melodies and rhythms connect to some unseen humanity, maybe the divine itself. Eric Freeman, our travel coordinator loves Cuba. At our closing dinner he said that touring people through Cuba was more than just a job for him. He explained it brought him great satisfaction "to make sure everybody has the best time possible". This sentiment was evident before we left for Cuba. Eric has written a comprehensive guide with detailed information he has gleaned from his 31 trips to Cuba which is provided for one to read before departure in preparation for the trip. He set up a zoom call so we all could meet each other and review the itinerary. Cuba is "complicated" and all of the preparation efforts were very helpful.

Eric's assistant Gretell is an excellent ambassador for Cuba. She is Cuban, funny, kind and congenial. Fielding questions from multiple people often simultaneously, Eric and Gretell gave each person agency and were continuously problem solving coordinating many details throughout the trip. The daily schedule was full and intense. Dance classes in the morning, adventure excursions planned for the afternoon, and then out to the clubs to dance at night. Educational tours, heartfelt discussions with Cuban nationals and unexpected delight though difficult, very important to understand Cuban life. Eric was on the lookout for interesting events to make available for us to participate in daily. Cuba seems to have a knack for pop up events and Eric and Gretell were always letting the group know what was available to explore. We seemed to be experiencing Cuba organically. As individuals expressed divergent passions, calls were made and most all wishes were granted. Some people went to the beach, some to horseback ride, others got massages. We were free to explore Cuba in our own way. Both Gretell and Eric were always vigilant and checked in with each of us. "How is your room?" "Is everything working" "Do you like your instructor?" These sweet people were so accommodating and attended to so many details they created an environment that felt like we each had our own personal concierge on the trip. Thank you Eric Freeman."

From all the members of Salsaville's 17th Group trip to Havana, February 2024
From Alison Ward (

"Thanks for everything! It was incredible."

"Just wanted to thank you again for putting together such an amazing experience for us all. It truly exceeded expectations and I am so appreciative of all the work you and Gretell put into it."

From Rick Newman (

"My trip to Cuba was amazing! I couldn't believe how Eric was able to organize all of the logistics ahead of time, making sure everything ran smoothly. Airport pickup, currency exchange, lodging, meals, transportation, classes & instructors, clubs & live music, tours....everything was planned and executed with acute precision! All I had to do was show up and participate! And I learned so much! I received a crash course in Cuban style salsa, and by the 2nd day I was dancing to live music at lunch and asking locals to dance at the nightclub. I am hooked--I can't wait to go on another of Eric's trips to Cuba, and this time I'll be taking friends and family with me. It's a bucket-list worthy adventure that should not be missed!"

From Elaine Swope (

"Hi Eric, we made it back smoothly last night. Can’t thank you enough for all your planning- everything went fantastic and I have such an appreciation for Cuba and the warm, joyful people there.

Thank you Eric. Thanks to you and Gretell and Kenia everything ran as smooth as silk, such a wonderful time we had and it felt like you were with us virtually every step of the way. Look forward to doing it again in the future!"

From Laurene Facey-Muench (

"For me, this visit to Cuba combined my love of dance with my curiosity of seeing my mother’s homeland. I had such fun dancing with a great instructor, Irvin, who helped me improve in my ability to follow, and being at sea level was energizing.

I so enjoyed my suite across the street from the sea where I could see traffic and cars from different eras, especially those classic cars, driving along the seawall where people walked, fished and chatted. There were so many interesting sites, especially in Old Havana, with its historical architecture. We enjoyed walking its streets and plazas, with its unique old buildings. As visual as it is, what I’ll hold onto most is remembering the warmth and liveliness of the Cuban people. I enjoyed listening to a small band in a bar where Kenia, one of our teachers, had us dancing as the musicians played. Also making this special, someone at a nearby table took out his harmonica and joined in, blending perfectly. This is a land where live music and dining or drinking go together. So often there would be a band that played when we had a meal. I saw so many lovely interactions among people on the streets on our walking tour of Old Havana, where we were able to learn something of its history.

I noticed a strength and resiliency in the Cuban people. It was wonderful catching a glimpse of their land and culture. This trip makes me yearn for more. The brevity enabled me to go in the midst of a busy schedule, but with planning I would enjoy a much longer venture. What was once a dream that I pushed away out of fear, Eric, Gretell and his amazing team made it possible for me to step out of my comfort zone and into a marvelous adventure. The combination of dancing, walking and knowing that I was in safe hands, enabled me to destress to the point of being completely relaxed in a way that I cannot previously recall. Cuba was such a gift.

From Mike Johnson (

"Much thanks to Eric, Gretell and our entire group for a trip I will never forget. I enjoyed our time together and at some point in the future I will return to Cuba. You outdid yourself Eric under difficult circumstances and I appreciate everything you did for us.

Gretell, Nunca te olvidaré. Bendiciones para usted, su cónyuge y toda su familia y los veré nuevamente cuando regrese a Cuba. Cuba es un lugar especial."

From Lisa Martinez (

"I really enjoyed my time in Cuba. Even though I have traveled a lot throughout Latin America, I was worried about not knowing anything about Cuba! I was worried about the visa, finding my way, transportation, and the safety of the city. There were so many unknowns. A female traveling alone really needs to think of safety when traveling!

But everything was well organized. Every single minute of the day was planned, and in fact, probably over planned! We didn't want to miss out on anything, so we were trying to pull full days and nights of excursions, activities, dancing..."

From Joanna Monard (

"Cuba was such a fun and well-rounded trip. Even though Eric wasn’t able to be there in person, he worked around the clock to ensure everything went seamlessly. Our trip was packed with dancing and music, delicious food and wonderful hosts! Truly a beautiful experience. Gretell and Kenia, Eric’s assistants, were lovely and provided such an easy and relaxing experience for those of us who came. There were lots of chances to pivot to a new and possibly more exciting experience as we were there, and we were only able to do that with the thorough planning that went into the trip. Such a beautiful country and I only wish to go back and visit for a longer period of time. The length of this trip was perfect for someone who wants to experience as much as possible in a limited amount of time. Although, Eric was able to open up longer stays and adventures for those who had an option to spend more time. Couldn’t have asked for a better experience!"

From Randy Schmidt (

"Eric’s short trip to Havana, Cuba was a great experience. I had already been to several places in Cuba before so dipping in and out for a five day dance trip was perfect. Eric wasn’t able to go because of a health issue and was going to cancel the trip, but some of us decided to still go and Eric did a great job supporting us. We had his local friends to help make the trip happen. Gretel, Eric’s assistant in Cuba, was amazing, she really made sure everything went without a problem and we all got really close with such a small group. Kenia was one of the teachers but she also showed us around town after class. She had a great, infectious energy. Daymiris, probably my favorite local after Gretel, was amazing. She was so expressive with everything she did, from showing us some other traditional Cuban dances to going out with us on the last night. We called her the salsa fairy because she’d weave in and out of the crowd secretly showing us what we should do to dance to different songs if we looked lost.

From a dance perspective, for me personally, it was a great wakeup call. I had been dancing for almost two years at this point, but felt like I was going backwards, and ready to give up. Getting into Cuban salsa about six months before really brought to light that I didn’t understand the music and that I was sloppy with missing steps, and I was having so much trouble fixing it. It felt like I had some kind of learning disability.

For the steps, the main teacher, Rodolfo, gave me some footwork patterns to hammer on to exercise my brain for Cuban salsa. I followed those patterns over and over to whatever salsa song came on next and slowly they became second nature to me.

As far as the music, I came back determined to understand it. I spent hours a day walking around town listening to whatever salsa song came on next finding the beat, finding 1, stopping, finding 1 again, listening to the different instruments on different counts, just understanding it better. I watched a lot of YouTube videos of people breaking down salsa songs into beats, bars, phrases, instruments, etc, and followed with basic steps until I got it perfect. If I was unsure of a song, I’d send it to some friends and ask them to confirm. After a few weeks I had a friend come over to dance with me who I knew would be able to check my work and she said I was able to find the 1 as much as she was, and if I wasn’t on 1, I was able to tell quickly if I was on 3, 5, or 7, and stay on it.

Now I enjoy dancing so much more, and I’ve had a few people ask how the heck I got so much better in 3-4 weeks. I finally understood the music, the foundation of everything."

Eric "El Cubanito" Freeman
Owner, Salsaville Dance Studios