By Sergio Sebastián Irizarry

Assisted by knowledgeable tour guides certified by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, you will discover the sites that mark the fascinating history of Puerto Rican Salsa. The journey includes visits to specialty collector-oriented record stores, monuments, and even the tombs of famous Salsa artists. You can also eat at the places they frequented. And if that weren’t enough, you will hear the fascinating stories of the genre’s greatest interpreters and their hits, and also visit the places where they once lived.

One story, two ways of learning more

a-salsa-journey-image-03The Salsa Route currently features two destinations. The first tour—called “De Barrio Obrero a la 15”—covers San Juan’s Santurce neighborhood and includes the following attractions: Las Americas Park Sports Complex, the mosaic in honor of Tite Curet, Placita de los Salseros (Salsa Artists Square), Rafael Cepeda Foundation, San José Cemetery, Ismael Rivera Foundation, the former residence of Tito Rodríguez, the Walk of Fame at Plaza Ventana al Mar, Placita de Santurce (Produce Market), Trastalleres Cultural Center, the Conservatory of Music, La Cerra Musical record store, Cerra Street, La Esquina Watusi bar, and the Salsa Museum.

The second tour—called “Calle Luna, Calle Sol”—focuses on Old San Juan sites. Places you can visit and take pictures include: the Popular Culture Foundation, the sculpture of Tite Curet Alonso in De Armas Square, Manuel Tisol antique home, the former home of Manuel Gregorio Tavárez, the Popular Arts and African Heritage halls in the Museum of the Americas, María Magdalena de Pazzi Cemetery, Ismael Rivera Square in La Perla neighborhood, the former residence of Giovanni Hidalgo, the former residence of Humberto Ramírez, Luna Street, Arturo Somohano Square, and souvenir stores on Fortaleza Street, among others.
For more details, visit Facebook/RutadelaSalsa. You can also call 787-721-2400, extension 1704, or send an email to maria.morales@tourism.pr.gov.

Go with the Pros

If you want to enjoy the route to the fullest extent, it is highly recommended you take a tour with a certified guide. Contact any of these professionals listed bellow to include one or both tours during your itinerary.

Alexis Agostini
787-459-5880 / alexisagostini@yahoo.com

Ángel Bula
939-640-2659 / albertobula17@gmail.com

Anthony Negrón
939-640-8080 / negronanthony79@gmail.com

Astacio Santiago
787-344-9133 / astaciosantiago@gmail.com

CL Tours
787-414-2025 / cltourspr@gmail.com

Christopher Vélez
787-550-3223 / chrisvelezpr@gmail.com

Félix González
787-717-5963 / felgon@hotmail.com

Héctor Sánchez
787-960-3060 / elturistologo07@gmail.com

Kenneth Rodríguez
787-485-0337 / kenny.21@icloud.com

Leopoldo Rosso
787-210-2096 / leopoldorosso@gmail.com
Marcos Hurtado

Modesto Velázquez
787-219-9829 / modesto1956@yahoo.com

Nelson Oliveras
787-996-4491 / go4atour@hotmail.com

Omar Ruiz
787-391-0706 / expertourspr@gmail.com

Rafael Quiles
787-566-0611 / caribe787@msn.com

Salvador Castro
787-638-3755 / salvadorcastropr@gmail.com

Five Facts all Salsa Lovers Should Know

Salsa is the most-danced rhythm in the world.
• Puerto Rico is the ultimate exponent of Salsa worldwide and is the country that has generated the most Salsa artists.
• With a musical career spanning over 60 years, La Sonora Ponceña is one of the world’s oldest Salsa bands. Its founder, Quique Lucca, conducted the orchestra until his death at age 103, making him the musician with the longest career in the tropical genre.
• El Gran Combo is considered the world’s most famous Salsa orchestra. The many international awards received throughout its more than 50 years of musical history prove this fact.
• Marc Anthony, winner of several Grammy Awards, holds the Guinness record for being the tropical music lead singer who has sold the most albums in music history.


Let’s Dance!

There are many places where you can enjoy Salsa music. Hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs are great places for a free Salsa lesson. If you’re one of the people whose feet get going as soon as you hear the first chords, you will also find the right place to go dancing as well as the best days to attend.


Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort. 7012 Boca de Cangrejos Ave., Carolina / 787-791-0404 Friday and Saturday, 8:00 p.m.
InterContinental San Juan Hotel. 5961 Isla Verde Ave., Carolina / 787-791-6100 Friday, 10:00 p.m.
San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino Red Coral Lounge. 1309 Ashford Ave., Condado / 787-722-7000. Friday and Saturday, 8:00 p.m.

Clubs and Restaurants with a Salsa Ambiance

Blue Martini Paseo Caribe, San Juan. (35 Muñoz Rivera Ave., next to the Caribe Hilton hotel) / 787-923-5406. Tuesday and Thursday evenings
Code Bar & Lounge. 137 Roosevelt Ave., Hato Rey, San Juan / 787-225-5568. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8:00 p.m.
La Factoría. 148 San Sebastián St., Old San Juan / 787-412-4251. Friday and Saturday evenings
La Neurona Pub & Restaurant. 983 Américo Miranda Ave., Río Piedras, San Juan / 787-754-7321. Monday and Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. (seasonal)
Mijani, The Club. 252 Dos Hermanos Ave., Placita de Santurce, San Juan. Thursday, 9:30 p.m.
Nuyorican Café. 312 San Francisco St., Old San Juan / 787-977-1276. Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 p.m.
Océano Bar & Lounge. 2 Vendig St., Condado / 787-724-6300. Free Salsa lessons on Tuesday, 10:00 p.m.
Overtime. K-6 San Patricio Ave., Guaynabo / 787-221-1010. Wednesday evenings
Restaurante Triana. 251 Recinto Sur St., Old San Juan / 787-725-8819. Free Salsa lessons on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, 8:00 p.m.
Sal Pa’fuera. Plaza Shopping Center, Punta Las Marías, Isla Verde / 787-296-9665. Thursday, 8:00 p.m.
The A Bar & Lounge. 1412 Ponce de León Ave., Santurce / 787-922-5041. Thursday, 9:00 p.m.

To find other places that offer Salsa lessons, check out these Facebook pages: SanJuanEsSalsa, BayamónCiudadSalsera and EssenceDanceAcademy. You can also go to www.SalserosEnClave.com.

Sit Back & Listen

Salsa lovers have an additional option: visiting a picturesque bar, sipping your favorite drink, and listening to Salsa classics of while chatting with your friends–or making new ones. Here are a few local bar suggestions:

Local Bars

El Adoquín del Patio. Tanca St., Old San Juan. Saturday, 5:00 p.m.
El Balcón del Zumbador. At the end of Barbosa Ave., Santurce / 787-728-6323 / Facebook/CambioEnClave. Friday and Saturday evenings
El Boricua. 5 Saldaña St., Río Piedras downtown area / 787-429-0260. Wednesday and Thursday evenings
Taberna Los Vázquez. Dos Hermanos St., Placita de Santurce / 787-996-2253. Wednesday to Sunday
El Coabey. S-2 1 St., Puerto Nuevo, San Juan / 787-297-2416. Thursday to Saturday, 8:00 p.m.
El Naza Pub. Puerta de Tierra neighborhood, Old San Juan. Weekend evenings
La Esquina Watusi. 1003 Cerra St., Santurce / 787-388-7434. Monday to Saturday afternoon and evening.
Los Almendros. PR169 at km 1.8, Camarones district, Guaynabo / 787-948–0959. Friday, 6:00 p.m.

Time for Everything

Are you entertaining the idea of creating a journey in which you can dance to your heart’s content, enjoy our delectable Puerto Rican cuisine, and learn more about Salsa? Then you will be pleased to know that there are packages available that include transportation, lodging, visiting the route, lessons, and a Salsa night tour! Learn more at Facebook/VancentiveGroup page Corp. and HB Travel.