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Whether you’re a natural born dancer or you’ve never stepped on the dance floor, not diving into the salsa scene in Bogota would be sacrilege. Though it isn’t Cali, the Colombian capital moves to the beat of this music, a genre which has been an important part of the country’s musical history.

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Feeling nervous about not knowing how to salsa? Take a couple of shots of aguardiente (the local fire water), be comforted by the fact that most people will be happy to teach you some steps, and head to one of the following bars, rated as the top places to dance salsa in Bogota.

1. Son Salomé

It’s easy to pass by Son Salomé without seeing it. Located on 19th street, it’s surrounded by a multitude of shops, restaurants, and street food stands. Listen out for the salsa beats which will guide you straight to it. As one of the most popular salsa bars in downtown Bogota, you’ll find hardcore salseros moving to the rhythm of the genre’s giants, as well as local bands playing live music. The room is dark, the prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is always on fire.

Address: Calle 19 #4-20
Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 6.00 p.m. – 3.00 a.m.

2. El Goce Pagano

The city’s most infamous salsa bar during the 70s and 80s, El Goce is a sanctuary for the salsa community. The bar has a branch close to the Universidad de los Andes, so expect plenty of students. The bar is located in a building that has seen the not-so-secret embraces of Bolivar and his lover Manuelita, acted as the dwelling of a prince and been a popular whore house. Today, it’s where you’ll be able to dance in a dimly lit room, throw back a couple of beers, and borrow books from Don Gustavo, the owner.

Address: Carrera 5 #26-42
Hours: Friday-Saturday, 6.30 p.m. – 3.00 a.m. Unofficially, when Don Gustavo wants to open.

3. Taberna Rincón Cubano

This is the place to get close and cozy as you listen to the best of Cuban rhythms. Salsa, son, and mambo fill the air as tables and chairs are moved to make more room for dancing. Drinks are cheap, the crowd is friendly and you’ll always find some interesting personalities. El Rincón is a good starting point for your salsa hopping night.

Address: Calle 19 # 3A-37 Local 125
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7.30 p.m. – 3.00 a.m.

4. El Titicó

Unarguably the best salsa bar in Chapinero, El Titicó is a tribute to Cali. Feel the rhythms of the salsa capital of the world in the chilly breeze of “la nevera” (the fridge), as caleños call Bogota. Decorated with pictures from the golden era, you’ll find experts skillfully moving their feet and rookie enthusiasts eagerly practicing. Drink prices tend to be a little over the top, so if you need some liquid courage before taking to the dance floor, try visiting some of the cheaper local bars beforehand.

Address: Calle 64 #13–35
Hours: Thursday to Saturday, 7.00 p.m. – 3.00 a.m.

5. Quiebra Canto

This two-story bar started out as an alternative place. Caribbean salsa dominated, and small bands who later gained fame would play gigs here. Today, the bar has added diverse styles including jazz and funk into its repertoire. One thing that hasn’t changed is its tradition of hosting emerging artists. Its commitment to good music, cheap prices, and chilled vibes attracts large groups of locals and foreigners alike.

Address: Carrera 5 #17-76
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 6.00 p.m. – 3.00 a.m.

6. Salsa Camará

Bringing salsa to Bogota for more than a quarter of a century, this bar is considered part of the cultural patrimony of the city. Its guest artists light up the bar with covers and originals, and include some big names like La Orquestra Aragón de Cuba, Calambuco, and la 33. The atmosphere and the crowd are upbeat and its location is perfect for those looking to salsa outside of the city center.

Address: Calle 71#11-19 Piso 2
Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 6.00 p.m. – 3.00 a.m.

Though Bogota’s nightlife goes beyond salsa, the genre is an intrinsic part of the culture. It is present in every major event in the life of a Colombian: birthdays, Christmas Eves, weddings, and casual Sundays spent with family. They say there’s no better way to get to know a culture than through its food and music.

Put on your dancing shoes and get the Colombian experience through the unique rhythms of this music. At the end of the night, pass by a street food stand and stuff your face with some empanadas or an arepa rellena. It’ll be the quintessential rolo (Bogota native) night out.

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