lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel

Sexy Cuban-Caribbean jazz and cha-cha-cha are filling a hotel bar on Saturday nights in downtown Cozumel. Jorge Aquino, top international trombonist from Santiago, Cuba, plays to a passionate crowd in the courtyard bar and restaurant at the Hotel Flamingo. From Guantanamera to La Negra Tomasa, Aquino's latin-brass sounds get everyone moving – grannies, teenagers and toddlers alike.

Before settling in Cozumel four years ago, Aquino played his unique trombone style in a long list of countries. From Spain, to Venezuela to Mozambique - he's played with the demagogic likes of Ry Cooder and the Grammy Award winning group Irakere.

Now Aquino enjoys the "peace and tranquility" of his wife's native Cozumel. A familiar face around the island, he has been Musical Director of the municipality's Cuzamil band for more than three years, as well as being Director of the island's School of Music on the main square.

The Hotel Flamingo provides an intimate setting to enjoy the music of Aquino and his Mexican accompanist Olfo Licona. If you ever tire of dancing, you can sip a margarita at the bar, or eat one of the chef's specialties by the fountain, in the Aqua restaurant.

Tom Fryer, the hotel's owner-operator, first started visiting Cozumel from San Francisco to dive in the seventies. In 1996, he found the hotel for sale, bought it and completely remodeled it. Since then Tom has built up a strong base of customers and enjoys meeting and greeting old friends every time they come back.

Tom's love of Cuba is not only apparent from his ideas for Saturday nights. The hotel walls also display Cuban art for sale and the best Cuban cigars and rum are sold from behind the bar. The boutique hotel itself has a real Mexican colonial feel.

Cuban Saturday Night at Flamingos is well worth a visit if you want to experience an evening of beckoning beats, trombone rhythms and fine food.