11 Days of the Worlds Best Festivals
On the beach, in the pool, on the social floor, at workshops it never ends!
Getting Rovinj in Croatia certainly isn’t easy, the closest airport in Croatia is Pula which is a tiny regional airport with limited flight options and no direct link to Rovinj. There is an option of catching a taxi to Pula and then bus to Rovinj, but after usually minimum of 3 flights to get there (mine was 4 from Wroclaw) I ended up finding another person travelling to Rovinj and split the 60 euro taxi.
Further research and probably what I’ll be doing in 2014 is flying to Venice and catching a ferry into Rovinj, less time in airports and a nice scenic arrival by sea.
Which ever option you take make sure your there for 2014!
Everything books out quickly so make sure you get your accommodation sorted out early (I’ve already reserved my hotel for 2014), I stayed for the first 9 days at the Park hotel which was ok, nice indoor and outdoor pools (though the beautiful ocean is right there), it’s hosts workshops, 5 minutes walk to parties.
My main issue was my room (supposedly all non suites) face towards the rising sun and the curtains don’t block the sun too well. So expect early morning rises which isn’t so great after a long night of social dancing.
Due to me booking in March, rooms at the Park hotel weren’t available for the full duration so I had to move to Amarin resort (1 of 4 official hotels), given that Salsa festival pool party was being hosted here.
Big mistake, it’s miles away from everything, pool isn’t that great, during the day you have the option of taking a boat or bus between venues, but in the evening you 1 bus per hour as your only real option. It is more apartments than hotel and rooms have a basic kitchen.
On the topic of food, avoid the hotel breakfasts at both Park and Amarin, so many better options available throughout the city.
The other option that was popular with lots of other festival goers was avoiding official hotels and looking at apartments or small boutique hotels in old town (the later is what I went with for next year).
When you finally manage to get through the massive queue of people lining up to collect passes, you will most likely be utterly overwhelmed.
There are different wristbands for pool parties and festivals. Booklets outlining the upcoming festivals and a very impressive workshop foldout. Being what was originally thought to be the token Aussie I got a bonus tshirt and bottle of olive oil (yeah…) thrown into the package. A really appreciative gesture, given the length of my travels.
So, so many workshops but tonnes of class in the line up, rooms were really well setup to allow people to see, from the performance workshop by Ataca and El Alemana to the special pre salsa festival workshops with Super Mario and Eddie Torres. There was never a shortage of workshops the difficulty was too much choice!
So make sure you’re there for workshops, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the sun and beach.
Live Band and some brilliant performances from some of the best in the world, Eddie Torres to Jorge and Tanja kept the indoor parties entertained, we then go out into the city for performances by amateurs competing in the Stargate Competition literally under the stars. While this is all going on there is the option to go social dancing for those who prefer to be dancing rather than watching.
And finally the parties, room upon room of people dancing cuban, LA/Mambo, Kizomba, Sensual rooms to keep you dancing all night long with people from all over the world attended that attend festival and it’s this amazing mix of people who come to the summer in Croatia to dance that make it so amazing, I even managed to run into a few more Australians at the festival. During the parties they organise a fund raising event that you dance with the international stars that attend the festival which is a lot of fun and the stars compete to get the most tokens.
The parties then range to the pools, sensual days was run at Hotel Katarina on the island just off Rovinj. The pool, the atmosphere, the DJ’s, everything about this party was amazing, out of all the parties at the event this was number 1. For the Salsa festival we moved across to Resort Amarin which personally I didn’t think worked as well for a venue but was still a pretty amazing party.
From the pools the parties then head to the boats, make sure you get in early to get your tickets for these, destination is the same so do 1 or the other and enjoy some rest at a beach party in Croatia on the other days. The parties almost never end, if you wanted you could spend day after day dancing at parties that are organised on beaches.
Writing this after having visited festivals around the world in 2013, covering most of the big name events, this is the number 1 festival to attend. If in 2014 you attend only 1 festival make sure this is it, with the 10th anniversary this year it can only be bigger and salsaier than ever. See you there.