Cabaret Tropicana, Havana
Tropicana has been the life and soul of Cuban nightlife for over 70 years. Today, the show still goes on. In fact, Tropicana has much of the same glitz and glamour that it possessed in its younger years – minus its legendary casino.
The live open-air cabaret show is undoubtedly its star attraction. Performed by a curvaceous, exotically-clad troupe of over 200 Tropicana dancers, the shows are a shimmering spectacle – a dazzling vision of sequins, feathers and glitter.
The cabaret starts at 9:30 pm and takes place between Tuesdays and Sundays. Ticket prices range between 70–90 CUC per person and include one free drink. However, tickets are highly sought after, so it’s definitely worth booking ahead to ensure you get a table.
Cheaper deals can be found at most hotels' tourist desks and they often give you better value since you get the best seats and the taxi fare is included.
A Bastion of Pleasure
It started out life as a casino and nightclub when it first opened back in 1939 and it soon gained a reputation in Havana as an iconic venue for sipping champagne, catching live cabaret, listening to live music and striking it lucky on the roulette tables.
By the 1950s, Tropicana was a club that had grown substantially in status. At the height of its popularity, it was frequented by some of the era’s most famous celebrities with illustrious patrons including the likes of Rita Hayworth, Ernest Hemingway, Marlon Brando, and Maurice Chevalier. Even J.F.K. himself dropped in for a visit.
To add to its global reputation, the Tropicana was also featured in Graham Greene’s 1958 cult classic Our Man in Havana. Nat King Cole, Bebo Valdés and Bola de Nieves were among the star performers that took to the stage in this legendary nightclub.
When the revolution swept across Cuba in 1959, the island’s casinos were shut down and the Government seized control of the club. But Tropicana hung onto its soul.
For anyone who spends at evening at Tropicana, prepared to be wowed by a mesmerizing dance show and sumptuous surroundings. Through the decades, this world-renowned nightclub has entertained Hollywood A-listers and U.S Presidents, survived a revolution and managed to thrill and titillate audiences from around the globe.
For all those reasons, it’s well worth a visit. So, get on your glad rags and make a night of it - because live entertainment in Cuba doesn’t get better than this.
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In its heyday, the rich and famous flocked to The Nacional Hotel to socialise with the wealthy elite and enjoy fantastic live entertainment. And as far as pure spectacle went, one of the main events was undoubtedly the Cabaret Parisien - a glittering cabaret show of elaborately costumed dancers that continues to this day. Read on to find out more about one of Havana's hottest nighttime attractions and dancing venues.
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