Baseball in Cuba

Spend a week in the Forbidden Isle doing what you love, Playing Baseball!

Cuba PicturesCuba Pictures CrewConrado Marrero and Paul RaymondCuba Pictures Lunch

 

Cuba is a fascinating place to visit – Fascinating for many reasons, primarily that there are no Americans.  Because of the embargo it’s been forbidden for Americans to travel to Cuba for 4 decades.  The government does issues legal license to travel to Cuba for certain reasons.  One of these if for amateur athletic competitions.  Because of this I’ve been making trips to Cuba since 2002 that have included over a dozen baseball trips.  This is a rare opportunity for amateur baseball players to visit this beautiful island and meet with the Cuban people.

In January, 2015, the government announced – sweeping changes to the ‘license” requirements to visit Cuba.  In most cases, travelers do not need to file an application for a “specific” license.  A “general” license is allowed, so long as the traveler meets one or more of the so-called exceptions of categories, one of which is amateur athletic competition.  Click here for a link to the categories. 

Per the government regulations – these trips are for established teams only.  You cannot join as a pool player.  If you are interested in baseball in the Caribbean or other parts of the world you might consider some of our other trips.

In the meantime, feel free to take a look at information on some of our most recent trips:


Videos — Photos — Links

Spend a week in the Forbidden Isle

Videos — CLICK on PLAYLIST to see all 8

Photos — We Have Several Albums

 

LINKS — to other Cuba Resources


Play Baseball in Cuba!

Play Baseball in Cuba! – Baseball and Cuba go hand in hand.  It is one of the most prominent links between Cuba and the US.

Image of Cuban hotelCuba is only 90 miles from the US – and has been forbidden to us for 4 decades. It is still not legal to go to Cuba on your own but there are ways that allow you to visit.   The US Treasury Department, who has the embargo against Cuba, allows a limited number of licenses.  One of these is the specific license program which allows for Amateur Competitions in Athletics.

If you are a baseball player and would like to become a Baseball Ambassador, this is your chance.  Come and play baseball in the Caribbean this winter in a country unspoiled by western culture.  These are legally licensed trips open to Dodgertown West Baseball Players and other teams, and their support staff.  You don’t need to go through Mexico or Canada, we’ll have a charter flight directly from Miami.

This is a rare and limited chance to become a Baseball Ambassador – by dealing with civilized Cuban nationals on a grass roots level. Cuba has a very strong tie to the US in baseball and they play it very good on all levels.  They are pro American, very congenial hosts and a warm and friendly culture.  Cuba is a beautiful tropical country with low crime rate, high education standards and a healthy population.  The country is very safe to visit.

What could be better than playing winter baseball on a beautiful tropical island.  Cuba is very much like Hawaii with sugar fields, palm trees, pineapple, coffee, sandy beaches and tropical winds. No volcanoes and no American tourists.  We are well received everywhere we go and treated like celebrities.  Cuba is the jewel of the Caribbean and this is your rare opportunity to visit this exotic island culture before western culture steps in.

You’ll have opportunities to see many local sites and experience this Latin culture like you have never imagined before.  We’ll visit both rural and urban areas and stay in great hotels.  The food is mild Creole style, the baseball players are very good, the music is hypnotic, the architecture is beautiful, and the people are  hospitable and friendly.

These trips are a lot more than baseball. – You’ll be interacting with Cuban Nationals every day on various levels.  Each day is a full day agenda of baseball, tours and entertainment.  Just about everything is included on these trips, all baseball, license, airfare to and from Cuba, tours, travel visa, tour guide, all lodging, most meals and much more.  Each day is an adventure.  Once you’ve done one of these trips, your perspective on Cuba and the Cuban people will change.

 There is no need to feel intimidated. – Cubans are pro American and generous hosts.  Cuba is a very popular vacation resort for Canadians, Germans and Italians.  The Cuban government is very concerned about making sure of the safety of tourists and has very strict penalties for anyone causing problems with them.  There is plenty of police and security protection if you are concerned.  On the other hand, the Cuban people are very warm, friendly and helpful people.  They are always very glad to see you or speak with you.  There are plenty of first class hotels, good places to eat, great music, beautiful sites and lots to entertain you.  Plus, these trips are perfectly legal.

Cuba Fort in Havana


PICTURE ABOVE: The Morro fortress in Havana

There are 2 trips set up for this coming winter – Tentatively, one trip is set up for us to visit Eastern Cuba and surrounding areas (Santiago, Guantanamo, Bayamo) and Havana.  The second trip is to begin in the resort and historical area of Cienfuegos in Central Cuba and will end in Havana.  The Eastern Cuba trip is by invitation only and will be a sell out.  When the roster is full, you can get on a waiting list.  Some people will drop out between now and the trip date so spots will open up.  This trip is for players only with a limited number of support staff.  It is not a vacation for you and your wife, girlfriend, kids or whatever.

We’ve done over a dozen previous baseball trips to Cuba

Several of our Dodgertown West players participated in the first trip in the winter of 2001.  Each year, more players from the league from all over the country join us and several have continued to come each year.  We usually have at least 1 team each week for the 2 trips.  Your baseball playing ability is not an issue but we need good players to beat the Cubans.

The Cuban players are mostly retired professionals, Olympic or others who play in local leagues in their 40-70’s.  Many of these people played in the US and many knew some of our baseball coaches and baseball heroes. The games are much like many of our local amateur leagues.  The pitching is generally not too difficult, they are excellent fielders, fast of foot and usually all of them can hit well.  They also know how to play the game.  The baseball in Cuba is tough competition though, as they don’t like to lose so our losses are more than our wins.

We often play in their professional stadiums. – Other fields are local parks or smaller local stadium.  There are often special ceremonies, introductions and exchanges of gifts.  There will be anywhere from a couple of dozen to several hundreds of people in attendance at the games, sometimes even broadcast on the radio. In 2015, I as interviewed by the local media following our game in Las Tunas. 


Prior Baseball Trips

The first trip in 2001 – was based in Havana the whole week where we had our first introductions to Cuba and Cuban baseball.  We played several teams around the Havana area in 3 different ballparks including Estadio Latino Americano.  Since then, we’ve made trips each winter to see new sights and old friends. 

In the year 2002 – we expanded our horizons and began our trip in Central Cuba and ended up in Havana.  We played games in Cienfuegos, Abreus and Havana and used the Estadio 5th de Septiembre for most our games.  New friends were made and each day consisted of various tours, entertainment and events. 

In the year 2003 – the first week played in Vinales, Pinar del Rio and Havana.  The second week included Trinidad, Scanti Spiritus, Cienfuegos, Abreus and Santa Clara.  In Pinar del Rio, we played in Estadio Capitain San Louis and in Santa Clara, we used Estadio Sandino. 

In the year 2004 – the first week we played teams in the Havana area.  Teams were the Vetronos de Beisbol, Cortero and the Matanzas team.  The second week was in Cienfuegos, Santa Clara and back to Havana..

played in HolguinIn year 2005 – we travel to the south of the country.  We stayed and played in Holguin at the Calixto García Íñiguez Stadium (picture right). From there we went to Las Tunas, Bayamo, Santiago and Guantanamo.

In year 2009 – we returned to Cienfuegos for 3 games.  From there we went to Havana for 3 more games. We’ve done trips in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015.

One trip, I had the opportunity to work out with the local Cienfuegos baseball team in this stadium prior to being invited as their guest that evening in a game against the Industrialies of Havana.  We played there several times this last trip.  Cuba is the Pearl of the Caribbean and Cienfuegos is the Pearl of Sea.  Leisurely days were spent with our Cuban family on our private dock consuming rum, smoking cigars,  Cuban espresso, shrimp and lobster.   You’ll see plenty of political statements and billboards all over the country as well as many means of transportation while we cruise in our luxury air conditioned bus.

Your license will allow you to – visit Cuba only for the purposes defined, to play baseball.  You are NOW allowed to spend money on souvenirs, gifts or other tourist activities.  There are NO spending limitations on what you can spend in Cuba. You are NOW permitted to bring merchandise, as accompanied baggage acquired in Cuba, not to exceed $400 in value, including no more than $100 in alcohol and tobacco products, plus as many periodicals, CD’s and artwork you want.

These are all inclusive trips that include: transportation, baseball games, most meals, tours, guide, accommodations and a lot more.  Travel or other activities (other than that described in our license) is no longer limited by the amount of money we are allowed to spend each day.  Our trips will give you the opportunity to see lots of Cuba, enjoy the culture, and maybe even some Cuban night life.  Plus, and most important, you’ll meet new people and make many new friends, both from your teammates and the many Cubans we will interact with.

 

You should plan to bring some spending money to cover the cost of sourvenirs, alcohol, tobacco, gifts, etc.  You’ll find prices in Cuba to be very reasonable.  They are now beginning to accept credit cards or travelers checks drawn on US banks.

You can find lot’s of information on Cuba at the Cuba Links Page. You can read up on Cuba by checking out some of the books at Cuba Books.

Lots of information on Cuban baseball history at Cuba Beisbol

What You Need to Travel to Cuba is:

If you are interested in making a legal baseball trip to Cuba – please let me know as soon as possible.  A long lead time is needed as Cuba is a very popular vacation spot for everyone but Americans.