Cabaret Tropicana

  based on 1 review   write a review

72 A Línea del Ferrocarril, La Habana, Cuba
(07) 2671717

Cabaret Tropicana La Habana Reviews

starship1 starship1
40 reviews
The Legendary Tropicana Cabaret Oct 24, 2017
If you love glamorous movies from the 1930’s to the early 1960’s, or lavish stage productions, you may enjoy the Havana’s Cabaret Tropicana as much as we did. A vestige of Havana’s more glorious past, the Tropicana continues its long tradition of offering a grand show of Cuban music and song and troupes of costumed dancers and acts to appreciative audiences.

Located in Havana’s Marianao section, the Tropicana opened in the early 1940’s on the site of a lush tree grove and former ranch. The Tropicana’s reputation as a popular tourist destination grew rapidly due to the quality show production, celebrated performers, a fine restaurant and casino. No doubt the show was more risqué in its earlier years, the Tropicana is probably less so today --there are still scantily dressed women AND men but none of the acts or dancing are done in a lascivious way. There is no longer a casino.

Usually the Cabaret Tropicana is performed in a natural outdoor setting in a tree grove under the stars, but the night we attended there was a light rain and the show moved indoors to the “Living Room with Glass Arches” or “Arcos de Cristal” which seats 500 people.

Prior to attending, we were informed of the dress code required by the Tropicana which aims to keep the atmosphere classy, and for the most part, attendees did honor the code. And, while probably not dressed as formally as guests must have in the past, women dressed quite well and most men wore shirts, ties, and jackets or something nice. I liked this!

The 2-hour performance was quite spectacular and at this point I realized that Cuban music has a distinct sound and cadence that separates it from other forms of Latin music and I realized that I really liked most of it. (The following day we bought a CD from a group performing in the afternoon at La Bodeguita del Medio.)

The evening began with a small group of elegantly dressed ladies, and one gentleman, who played violin music for quite a long time while people were still being seated. This was followed by the main show with a series of separate acts of vividly-costumed dancers, some with enormous decorative headpieces, and a singer or groups of singers who were marvelously talented. It really was quite a show.

Each woman received a carnation and each man a cigar upon entering the club. Tables which were arranged “stadium” or step style in a semi-circular shape, and sat 4, 6 or more people. Later in the show each table received a whole or partial bottle of rum, and a can of coke to be shared by everyone seated at the table. There was also a very small plate of appetizers for the table to share. Our waiter apparently did not speak English, and didn’t seem too friendly though that did not take away from the ambiance here. Additional food could be ordered but no one at our table did.

When the show ended around midnight, we still had a few minutes outside to admire the lovely fountains on the grounds of the Tropicana. Since Havana often bills itself as the “City of Fountains,” it was special to be able to see two of the fountains considered most important, and these are right at the Cabaret Tropicana. Just outside the main entrance is the fountain known as “Fountain of the Ballerina” which was simple but very lovely. It was designed by Cuban sculptor, Rita Longa. I thought the most beautiful fountain here was “The Fountain of the Muses.” This fountain, designed by Italian sculptor Aldo Gamba, was finished in 1920 after which it was installed at the entrance of the National Casino; for some reason it was relocated to the entrance of Cabaret Tropicana in 1952 where it remains to this day. Featuring a low circular pool with a central dais upon which Botticellian figures of nude women sculpted in smooth marble blithely dance around the spraying fountain – almost as if dancing around a May pole. Of course, the figures do not move, but it seems as if they might -- the fountain is magical as it is bathed in constantly changing shades of pastel light.Too soon we boarded our bus and once again made our way back to the ship via the dark, but lively, streets of Havana.

Tickets to the show obtained online begin at approximately US$75 pp with the aforementioned rum, coke and small plate of appetizers included (although these accoutrements are for the table and not per person). You can also purchase a combo ticket for the show & dinner. Our tickets were much more expensive because we obtained them as a ship’s excursion. Still, even $75 pp is quite steep compared to the general prices in Havana so obviously they have determined that tourists are more than willing to pay the price.

You are allowed to take photos for a small additional fee which I remember was 5 CUC pp.

Attending the Cabaret Tropicana is an OFAC compliant activity for US citizens.
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
starship1 says:
@odeseya - Thank you very much!!
Posted on: Jan 14, 2018
odiseya says:
Congrats on your featured review! Nice!
Posted on: Jan 13, 2018
starship1 says:
Thank you so much, Paul!
Posted on: Jan 13, 2018
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
La Habana Map
La Habana
photo by: WandaMichelle