Somehow Tropicana Cabaret divides tourists. For some it is a must-see, a showcase of Cuba’s natural talent in music and dance. For others Tropicana Cabaret is a classic tourist gimmick, over hyped and overpriced. On arrival into Havana, we had already been told by a friend it was a ‘must see’ and then had it recommended further by our travel representative who described it as “Cuba’s Tropicana Cabaret show.”
Being on honeymoon and with more money than usual to spend, we decided to purchase the tickets which were 85 convertible pesos each about 120 USD. Considering the costs of other activities in Cuba, the show ranked easily as the most expensive but we were probably swept along by the “don’t want to miss out just in case it’s really amazing” temptation you can get when away.
“Tropicana Cabaret about 120 USD each”
We spent $200 to see this and that doesn’t include dinner. The show was moved indoors due to inclement weather which meant that the show was nearly an hour late starting and they don’t serve your inclusive drinks or snacks until the show starts! With the exception of the balancing act, the show was tired and repetitive. The dancers looked bored and disinterested. Because we had booked a taxi to collect us at the time it would normally have finished, we had to leave early. In some ways this was a relief. We have seen many of these tourist type shows over the years and this has been the worst.
On arrival to Tropicana Cabaret, having paid our 5 convertible pesos to use our camera, we were seated in the middle row, which we had paid for, although found ourselves at the very back of a table of ten people – and observed that the cheaper row behind us would in fact provide a less obscured view. The show is open air and it had been raining for several hours before, resulting in a tick-tock of droplets on our heads! Despite there being drink and food at Tropicana Cabaret as part of the ticket price, we spent the first 20mins without them and were instead offered to order drinks – we ordered a lager and a water which came to 8 convertible pesos, again very expensive. All this resulted in us feeling uncomfortable and pretty negative about the show from the start, which probably impacted on the rest of our night.