Costa Rica



  • Tobogan (see pict above), in Guadeloupe (not far from el Pueblo): a large, rustic “salon de baile”, with live orquestras playing bolero/chacha/cumbia/merengue/salsa, on thursdays thru sundays. the sundays are attended by a somewhat older crowd where you will find some older ladies blatantly staring at you because they’re desparate for a dance. On other days I’ve heard it might be a somewhat seedy place with some creepier dudes frequenting the place.
  • Trapiche Nidia, in Uruca: another salon de baile with live orchestra, on thursdays and sundays
  • Bongo’s, in el Pueblo in Guadeloupe, San Jose: salsa discoteca
  • Castro’s, in the center of San Jose: supposedly the best salsa discoteca in town but it looks more like a swimming pool because it has tiles on the floor and is packed with low-class types, worse than salsatheque in Montreal
  • Salsa 54, downtown San Jose: Was known to be a real salsero hangout. I went there on a friday night at midnight but it was dead. Apparently they’ve just refurnished the place so are still working on getting the crowds back. At least they were playing salsa.
  • Cantina, in the Centro Commercial in Trejos Montalegre: gets going after 2 am on fri/sat - they play salsa every once an hour and have a rather small dancefloor that allows about two couples to go at it
  • Club Cubano (Club Campestre Jose Marti, tel 215 2001), in Guachipelin: a rustic hangout, with a Cuban band called Chocolate, open from tuesdays to sundays from 11 am to 11 pm.
  • Tipico Latino in Heredia, often with live band, that plays bolero/chacha/salsa/merengue, is another one of these salones de baile, that are open during the afternoon - early evening but you may have the feeling that it is somewhat too much of an expired event (there are interesting displays of “former local dance champs” though)
  • Jazz Cafe: somewhat funky cafe/restaurant, rather spacious (has space for dancing) with a decent kind of people attending the live music, will occasionally feature salsa bands such as Timbaleo (very good cover band !) and latin musicians like Yorgis Goric (Cuban pianist)

Other clubs and bars

  • Ozio (or Ossio ?), in the Centro Commercial in Trejos Montalegre: variados (meaning they will play all kinds of latin music and even anglo musics) on thu/sat - I passed by on thursday once and it was rather packed with types that love house music
  • Utopia, Lindora, Santa Ana: variados, on fridays
  • Ebony 56 in el Pueblo in Guadeloupe, San Jose: packed with black babes (too bad I had company), they played mostly rap and R&B when I was there.
  • La Plaza in el Pueblo, Guadeloupe, San Jose: supposedly they play mostly salsa, but I’d think it’s probably more like a “variados” kind a place
  • Del Rey: it’s a pickup place for hookers
  • Key Largo: here you’ll most likely either run into a gold digger or a hooker, may have a live band playing various latin musics

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