As of last year, Boca del Rio holds an International Salsa Festival boasting some pretty awesome internationally recognised salsa artists (this year included Orquesta Adolescentes, Victor Manuelle, Tito Nieves, Oscar de León, Los Van Van, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Willie Colon just to name a few) and claiming to be the largest of its kind in the world.
Held over 4 days, this year it was the 17th to the 20th of May, one of the main avenues along the coast of the city gets blocked off and stands are put up to create what is nicknamed the Salsadromo (like the sambadromo of Brazilian Carnival) where thousands of fans – some 160,000 this year – flock to enjoy their favourite artists in concert.
Like many things Latin American this festival is a family affair; appropriate for all ages and free of charge for all. It is great for anyone who just wants to sit and enjoy the music, take the kids out for the evening, wants to dance the night away or for anyone who just feels like watching some amazing salsa dancers up close.
Although the festival lasts for four days, this year I only managed one (thanks to having to work) but still had a chance to see Ruben Blades and Luis Enrique live which was beyond cool considering how famous they are in the salsa world. The venue is really quite cool; a long beachside avenue with stands either side for those who want to sit and watch with the pavement below for anyway who wants to practice their moves, huge screens and speakers placed along the avenue for those who are further back and stalls selling food, cerveza and of course micheladas for if those who get a bit peckish.
Even if you are not a huge salsa fan this is a neat event to attend with a truly great atmosphere and some extremely talented artists all for free. Even if you just spend your nights watching everyone signing and dancing to the music its well worth your time as I doubt you will find anything quite like it anywhere else.