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Social Dance Destination Review: Tenerife 2023

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Previously, I have written dance festival reviews. Today however I am sharing a ”destination review”, since I spent two months in Tenerife, Spain and also took part in social dance events there. It is not my first time on that tropical island, but definitely the longest I have been consecutively, which was a great opportunity to visit salsa and bachata events at different parts of the island.

North vs South

Let’s start with a short description of the area. Tenerife is figuratively divided into “North” and “South”. South would be considered everything from El Médano to Los Gigantes, and North would be considered the whole north coast, La Laguna, Santa Cruz area and I think Candelaria as well. Generally speaking, South is where most tourists go since the weather is sunny and dry and North is where locals live and work.

Even though it is an island known for tourism, you still need to know basic Spanish to get around, so my recommendation is to take learning the language seriously. Even more so if you’re planning to visit social dancing events, which is not the most touristy activity.

From my observations, the follower-leader balance was better in parties in the North. Leaders there are also super good! In South it happened a couple of times that there were more ladies at the social, so they literally had to grab men from the dance floor, giving them no time to rest. This made me favor the parties in the North, even if it was sometimes a long drive from where I was staying.

Party Recommendations

My favorite parties in the North were:

I didn’t make it to any Golosina Session parties in “Cine mas Copa” in the city of Santa Cruz on Wednesdays, but I heard those are good as well, would have wanted to go! In addition, occasionally there would be a bigger event in Liceo de Taoro in the city of La Orotava, which I regret not going to because the venue looked amazing!

Some of the more popular parties in the South were:

  • Golosina Session” in Discoteca Habana in Costa Adeje area on Thursdays
  • La Jaima SBK” in Xanadú Hipico Centro in the small town of Guargacho (has kizomba as well)

If you want to check out more events then they often get advertised in Tenerife Salsa Calendar Facebook group.

Dance School Recommendations

I didn’t visit any dance schools this time, but from my previous visits and talking with the locals I can recommend:



Comparison with Estonia

As I compare my local dance scene in Tallinn, Estonia with my experience with the Tenerife scene, I can see both similarities and differences.

First, the similarities. The parties are safe and nobody gets overly drunk. You can leave your bag anywhere in the room and most likely nobody will steal anything (you may want to wrap your jacket around it though). Both followers and leaders ask each other to dance. And beginner dancers are just as stiff as they are in Northern Europe : )

The way they dance salsa and bachata is not overly different – I was just fine dancing with whatever skills I had acquired in Estonia. There was only one leader, who danced cuban salsa with a different basic step, which I had to learn on the spot. He looked very South-American and was definitely not a beginner, therefore I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the “right” way to dance Cuban salsa.

Now to the fun part – the differences!

  • The venues for parties were mostly nightclubs, bars or restaurants, I didn’t go to any studio parties, neither heard of any. (In Estonia as of right now, studio parties are more popular.)
  • Since parties took place in nightclubs or bars, there were people at events who were not dancers and who just came to hang out. They didn’t bother dancers at all though and were definitely a minority.
  • There were SO MANY weekly parties. They were big and had the equivalent vibe of a Saturday party in Estonia.
  • Almost all parties had an animation at some point, if not two.
  • They seem to be getting many world-class dancers coming to the island often. During my short 2-month stay I casually had the opportunity to take workshops from Luis and Andrea, Alba Sanches, Maria Angeles and Simona Buonnanno. What are the chances??
  • Most parties had an entrance ticket of 7-10 € and included a drink. Sometimes if you only asked for water you could get two bottles.
  • There was a lot of social media coverage even for weekly parties – eg tons of Instagram stories, professional photographer at the event, a reel made of the event later.
  • Salsa and bachata were main styles being danced. Kizomba was definitely not a part of every party. Or maybe I just didn’t do enough research to find the kizomba parties.
  • In salsa they seemed to dance a mix of cuban and line.
  • Since everyone speaks Spanish there, people know the lyrics to salsa and bachata songs and sing along. One time I witnessed the DJ turning down the music for a few seconds and you could hear everyone shouting the lyrics, just like at a concert.
  • No brazilian zouk (or forró) on the island, to my knowledge. There is a small zouk group on Gran Canaria though.
  • Level overall was much better than in Estonia. I noticed that there were a couple of leaders who didn’t maybe have the best dance skills but they still had excellent leading skills. A big thumbs up to the teachers! Watching women dance salsa was also super inspiring, because they knew a lot of styling tricks to spice up their dance and had the characteristic salsa body movement.
  • There was a strange contingent of older men who dance cuban salsa and lead very roughly, I’d suggest avoiding them.
  • Estonian bachata community dances almost exclusively sensual bachata at the moment, in Tenerife it was more bachata moderna with an occasional sprinkle of sensual. Some leaders also played with Dominican footwork and left me room to do so, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
  • Something I have never experienced in my local community was bachata danced super close, super small, almost like kizomba. I had a couple of dances like this and it’s the complete opposite of the “big show-off performance” bachata. Made me wonder if this is the original bachata sensual.
  • There were a few leaders who danced bachata with the tap on 3 even though they weren’t necessarily beginners. I think it’s because in some Latin American countries it’s accepted to tap on any count. In Estonia the only accepted way is tapping on 4.


As a bonus to this blog post and to send you some sunny vibes, I put together a Spotify playlist of my favorite songs I heard at parties in Tenerife and on the local radio stations. Enjoy!


Overall, I got very inspired by meeting all the lovely dancers in Tenerife, so much so that I started working on my salsa and bachata technique again!

If I ever went to Tenerife again I’d probably find a place to stay in Santa Cruz and visit as many parties and dance schools in the North as I could. I also heard that the level is even better in Gran Canaria, so if this is true, would be interesting to check out this neighboring island as well.

If you have been to Tenerife, let me know if your social dancing experience was any different and how!


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