The Quiteños love to dance and there is no shortage of dance floors to chassé your way across in Quito. While salsa is generally the beat of choice, rumba, merengue and reggaeton rhythms are also popular with the locals. If you’re a budding salsero or just like to let your hair down on the weekend, here’s our guide to where to shimmy and shake it Latino style in Quito.
Most of the dancing action takes place in Mariscal Sucre, the city’s nightlife hotspot. You’ll find numerous dance clubs around the streets of Calama, Mariscal Foch and Reina Victoria. On certain nights, you can also watch live music and show off your dance moves al fresco in Plaza Mariscal Foch to an audience of bystanders.
Dancing venues in Quito
Azúcar El Portal de la Salsa
Where: Juan de Dios Morales OE1–84 y Maldonado, Quito
When: Everyday from midday to midnight (2am on Fri and Sat)
This cozy little restaurant turned salsa dance club serves up tasty local and Caribbean food during the day but as soon as dinner is over and the live band comes on, the dining tables are cleared and the punters take to the floor to dance the night away. Expect a mix of classic and contemporary salsa beats.
Where: Iñaquito y Naciones Unidas, Quito
When: Weds to Sat 9pm to 3am
This salsoteca is the number one spot for salsa dancing in Quito. There’s a huge dance floor illuminated by multicolored disco lights that flash to the beat of a variety of different salsa styles. Check their calendar of events as they hold regular themed nights that range from Cuban salsa to classic salsa and rumba. There’s always a live band playing and you can take notes from the local salsa pros that often take the stage and perform. Even if you’re no twinkle toes, you can still go along and watch from the sidelines, soaking up the atmosphere over a mojito or two. The venue attracts an international crowd so it’s a good spot to meet both locals and foreigners.
La Bodeguita de Cuba / El Varadero
Where: Reina Victoria Y La Pinta, Quito
When: Daily from midday to midnight (and 2am on Fri and Sat)
If Salsa Cubano (Cuban-style salsa) is your thing (which unlike other forms of salsa, is danced a contratiempo) then head to La Bodeguita de Cuba. This laidback restaurant and bar serves up delicious traditional Cuban cuisine and cocktails every day and the adjoining space comes alive from Wednesday to Saturday night with a live band pumping out fun salsa beats and a crowd of hip shaking dancing enthusiasts. If you’re lucky, you might catch the talented Cuban owner herself in salsa action, as she sometimes performs. After you’ve danced yourself silly, you can head up onto the venue’s terrace and cool down.
Where: Calama E4–381 Y Juan Leon Mera, Quito
When: Weds to Sat 8pm to 3am
Don’t be deterred by the name, this is a fun, no-frills, old school bar with a great vibe, decked out with disco balls and drinks posters. While it feels a little less authentic than some of the other more serious salsa clubs, it’s a lively establishment that’s always buzzing and the DJs mix it up with something for everyone, from salsa and rumba to Latin pop, reggaeton and some international tunes to make you feel at home. The place attracts a young crowd and keeps them happy with a cheap cocktail list.
Where: Diego de Almagro y Calama, Quito
When: Weds to Sat 8pm to 3am
This multilevel nightclub attracts a great mix of salsa beginners and veterans to their pumping dance floor on the weekends. Ladies might also want to go down on Wednesday for Ladies Night when there’s free drinks for girls until 10pm and a long line of guys outside queuing to get in and join them. The DJs usually play a mix of salsa and reggaeton, depending on the night. When you’ve exhausted the dance floor, you can refuel in the restaurant or have a few cocktails on the outdoor terrace.
- Quito can be dangerous at night so if you’re out after dark in the bars and clubs, be sure to take a taxi home.
- Most places tend to be fairly quiet through the week and totally packed from Thursday to Saturday. Most venues are closed on Sunday.
- For a full listing of events and parties in Quito, check out Quito Cultura, a Spanish-language guide.
- Dancing fans will want to be around for the first week of December when the Fiestas de Quito take place and the city is transformed into one huge party with people dancing through the streets in never-ending parades.
Come across any other great dance clubs in Quito or have any other tips for fellow dancers? Please share them with our readers in the comments section below. And if you’d like to improve your rhythm and take some dance classes in Quito (while learning Spanish at the same time), we offer an optional add-on Spanish and Dancing package that includes two one-hour dance classes per week.
Originally published on Ailola by Sophie Lloyd on November 3, 2017.