Cuba’s Disco Ayala is housed in a space that has been around for many thousands of years. You would have found a different kind of club there ten thousand years ago. That’s right: older than the Pyramid of Giza and the city of Babylon, the Disco Ayala is located in a natural cave formation one hundred feet below the surface of the earth in Trinidad, Cuba.
At party time, the cave’s dreary interior is lit up with the neon lights of a New York City nightclub and disco balls and projector screens hang next to stalactites. Don’t think that just because you’re surrounded by rocks that the Disco is stuck in the stone-age. Everything from top 40 hits to classic funk and hip hop are echo off the stony walls every night as throngs of energetic youth dance the night away.
Patrons pay a reasonable entry fee (that also includes a drink) then descend a narrow stairway carved into the rock floor. Behind the corner, the room opens up to a dance floor. Five massive dance floors and three bars, to be exact. The Disco Ayala is so large that it can easily fit up to 4,000 mojito sippers.
It’s been said that after midnight, special shows involving live animals, firewalking, and glass eating are put on for the more adventurous partiers, though if you’re looking for some good old-fashioned salsa dancing, you can get that there too. Best yet, most drinks are priced at $3CUD, so you party to your heart’s content without breaking the bank.
If the fact of this unique club’s existence wasn’t enough, its history is just as thrilling. Before they smoked out the bats thirty years ago, the cave was the hideout of a notorious killer named Carlos “Coco” Ayala. His reign of terror has since disappeared into Cuban folklore, making him a popular fable among the locals. Almost a hundred and fifty years have passed since Coco Ayala took his last victim in the cave. while its origins and location are spooky, locals don’t see its reputation as anything but exciting.
Even finding the location is an adventure waiting to happen. There are no signs pointing to the Disco Ayala along the road; in fact, you won’t even find a parking lot in sight. The Disco is within walking distance, in the outskirts of town.
To get there, follow the dirt trail that heads behind Trinidad’s largest cathedral towards the large, dark tree at the top of the hill. Beneath its shaded trunk, a short flight of brick stairs leads to the cave entrance. If the bars are chained shut, you’re either too early or too late. If the gates are open, head on inside. You will not be disappointed. Just remember to watch your step, drink a three dollar mojito, and dance the night away. And be sure to tell all of your friends about the night you partied in the cave hideout of a former serial killer.