Alice Alosja Beatriz, Alosja, Alice Beatriz Melina Scott

About Us

Salsa Retreat was founded in 2008 in order to offer meaningful vacations that connect visitors with locals based on the common passion for music and dance.

It is our mission to provide sustainable dance retreats and workshops with the goal to offer authentic learning experiences to the traveler while maximizing the positive impact on the local community.

We have lead our first tour to Oaxaca in January 2009, and have welcomed many groups and individual travelers in Oaxaca since.

In 2013 Salsa Retreat has received a specific people-to-people license issued by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). Pursuant to section 31 C.F.R. § 515.565(b)(2) of the Cuban Asset Control Regulations, this license allows any American who books a trip with Salsa Retreat, LLC to travel to Cuba legally. As a registered guest on one of our people-to-people trips, you will receive a copy of our OFAC issued license, and Letter of Authorization allowing you to travel to Cuba and re-enter the U.S. legally. Salsa Retreat handles all of the paperwork and requirements for your visit to Cuba.

Our first visit to Havana, Cuba took place in January 2014, exactly five years after our first dance trip to Oaxaca.

Salsa Retreat was founded by Alice Kupcik — avid traveler, dancer and music fan, yoga enthusiast, software engineer and project manager, and now Retreat Director. After travelling and dancing around the world for many years, she noticed that there is no one offering dance vacations where you can learn to dance Salsa from professional dancers. Although dancers can travel to Salsa congresses in the US, they don't offer the opportunity to immerse into another culture, nor can you really afford a series of private classes, which is usually needed to take your dancing to the next level. With no particularly appealing option to choose from and a surplus of project management energy, in 2007 Alice had the idea to create a dream vacation called Salsa Retreat: Yoga in a lush garden setting in beautiful and sunny Mexico, Salsa lessons with professional dancers, healthy and tasty food enjoyed in a small group of fellow dancers, and excursions to cultural and archeological sites. After a three week research trip to Mexico, Oaxaca was selected as the perfect location for a Salsa and yoga retreat.

Scott Saunders teaches Spanish, Salsa Basics, substitutes in public schools and plays congas percussion in Latin, funk and jazz groups. He is excited to partner with Salsa Retreat and share its passion to provide meaningful experiences for travelers to Cuba. He is an enthusiastic supporter of cultural exchange through music, dance and language and has been active in creating and leading opportunities to learn and experience the powerful intersection of music, dance, language and culture for over 25 years. He has led, organized and participated in workshops, festivals, performances, classes, presentations, and artist in residences in the US, Canada and Cuba.

What matters?

What really matters? What makes a significant experience? When the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. When we are able to give even as we are receiving. These are things that make a difference.

Sustainable Tourism

Our retreat was created with the principles of sustainable tourism in mind. By employing and partnering solely with local businesses and individuals for our dance and yoga instruction as well as tour and transportation needs (where possible, there are limitations in Cuba), we are supporting the local economy. The various hours of dance instruction we receive provide great value for us as dance students and a good source of income for the local dance stars who teach us.

You can see a principle of reciprocity at work in this--where the visitors and the locals both gain from their involvement with each other. As you gain insight into the local culture through the rich cultural experience of Salsa dancing, the local dance instructors and performers also gain as they see how much their culture and tradition of dance is valued through your appreciation and enthusiasm.

On the environmental responsibility side, our guest house in Oaxaca operates a recycling program. On the environmental impact side, we will try to keep our own footprint small. One practical way to do this is by offering you the simple option of bringing your own water bottle. You will be able to fill your own water bottle from the hotel’s ample supply of clean, filtered drinking water. This will greatly reduce the number of empty plastic water bottles we leave behind as trash for the local landfill.

Salsa Retreat is a member of the International Ecotourism Society:

Pricinciple of Ecotourism International Ecotourism Society

Giving the Gift of Education

In spite of its immense beauty, tragically Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in Mexico. Probably due to its secluded location in the south of the country, historically the Spanish influence in Oaxaca was less significant than in other parts of Mexico. This may be the reason for the rich culture and variety of traditions in the area - which take the form of music, dance, cuisine, festivals, handicrafts, and art.

Unfortunately, poverty is a reality in Oaxaca. We believe that education can help to improve the situation over the long-term: We transfer 2% of our net sales (as opposed to profits) to Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots, a local non-profit organization dedicated to educate children that otherwise wouldn't attend school. Salsa Retreat is currently sponsoring two young women, one is finishing her last year of college prep school, the other is finishing her undergraduate degree in computer science. We encourage you not to hand out money to streetchildren, but instead help them in a more meaningful way. Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots currently sponsors the school education of over 600 children, adolescents and young adults. Our retreats include a visit to the facilities and we can help to arrange volunteer engagements as well.

Copyright © 2014 Salsa Retreat, LLC