Central & West Cuba Baseball Tour – FEB 12-20, 2016

Central & West Cuba – Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, and Havana – FEB. 12-20, 2016

Map of Cuba

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Experience the Forbidden Tropical Paradise!!

Buenos Dias Amigo! Get used to it because you’ll hear it a lot in friendly Cuba. Cuba is the largest and one of the most beautiful countries in the Caribbean. This is a rare opportunity to be a Baseball Ambassador and play baseball in this tropical paradise.

Despite the embargo the US has with Cuba and the ban on travel, there are many legal means for travel to Cuba. One of them is amateur athletic competitions and this trip is set up under those conditions. It’s a long and arduous exercise and there is no guarantee the trip will happen until full approval is obtained from both countries. We’ve been invited by the Cuban sports authorities and they are in the process of planning for this trip.

Cuba is known for it’s beautiful tropical climate, rum, great music, cigars, friendly people and of course baseball. The people of Cuba are generally very congenial towards people from the USA and are very pro American. They are very friendly and welcome tourists with open arms. We’ll be playing in several cities which will give us opportunity to see these historic cities, dense tropical jungles, beautiful beaches, and interact with Cuban nationals. The Cubans are always glad to have visitors from far away lands are are anxious for us to return to play baseball with them and show us their country.

There is no need to feel intimidated. Cubans are generally pro American and generous hosts. Cuba is a very popular vacation resort for Canadians, French, Germans, Spanish 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, this trip is perfectly legal.

We’ll visit both rural and urban areas and stay in nice tourist 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 which make for a great trip. Between baseball, tours, site seeing and some free time on your own, we’ll have a full time agenda to keep you busy. We’ll be playing in at least 4 different cities so you will have a chance to see various parts of Cuba. Our traveling baseball experience will begin by playing in the city of Santiago, with day trips to Guantanamo and either Gramma or Santa Rita, all about an hour away from Santiago.

5-minute Visual Tour of Cienfuegos, Cuba – 2014

Cienfuegos settled by French immigrants in 1819 – is a city on the southern coast of Cuba and capital of Cienfuegos Province. It is located about 160 miles from Havana, and has a population of 150,000. The city is dubbed La Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South). Cienfuegos literally translates to “One Hundred fires”. Cien meaning one hundred, and fuego(s) meaning fires.

These trips are a lot more than baseball

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 and other activities. Just about everything is included on this trip, all baseball, license, airfare to and from Cuba, tours, travel visa, tour guide, all lodging, most meals and much more. Each day will be a new Baseball Adventure. Once you’ve done one of these trips, your perspective on Cuba and the Cuban people will change forever.

This trip is in the planning phase at this time. Final dates and itinerary will be confirmed as we get closer. The final costs will be determined probably after the New Year. If you are interested in joining this trip, please let me know your intentions. This trip is for members of Dodgertown West only. Just forward a completed application and deposit and you are on your way.

This is a custom designed trip for baseball players. It’s the only one of it’s kind to provide a baseball experience for amateurs in Cuba with a full time baseball itinerary. Baseball is one of many mediums between our cultures. We’ll eat at some great restaurants, stay at nice hotels, be entertained by a full time agenda, see some great sights and Play Baseball, Cuban style.

This trip is open to any adult person who plays baseball with Dodgertown West, DTW. The average age of our teams is usually in the mid 40’s to mid 50’s with players ranging in their 30’s through their 70’s. The trip is scheduled in mid winter to allow for a tropical vacation and chance to get away from the cold, snow or rain in your area. We’ll be limiting ourselves to a maximum of 15 players. We will need 3-4 good pitchers, a couple of catchers and several good position players.

You should also be aware that there are strict requirements on spending in Cuba. All persons will be required to read the embargo requirements and sign a document agreeing to the requirements.

The trip is far more economical than any travel agent could do if they could do it at all.  This is a unique opportunity that we have for local Cuba baseball associations to sponsor us and give us use of their fields, stadiums, teams and parks.  Cuba is a fairly economical country to visit but most all your expenses will be paid for in advance.  We’ll be going at a reasonable cost that includes first class treatment in every step of the way.  The trip will include all lodging, ground transportation, all baseball, and many meals.

4-minute Visual Tour of Santa Clara, Cuba – 2014

Santa Clara founded in 1689 is the 5th largest Cuban city. The Parque Vidal and the Catedral de Santa Clara de Asís are in this video.

Most days we’ll be in a different areas, see some local attractions and play a local baseball team.  Each evening we’ll have group outings or dinners at the hotel.  Occasionally there may be joint meals with the local  teams that will allow the locals and USA players to get together, swap lies and make new friends.  You’ll find baseball enthusiasts of all age groups and levels.  They are eager to meet and play baseball with you.

Don’t be just a tourist, be an International Baseball Ambassador, get to know the people not just the postcards.


Baseball and Cuba go hand in hand. They play baseball in Cuba with much more passion, much like it used to be in the USA. They play everywhere and at all ages. You’ll see kids in fields playing with sticks for bats, taped up rocks for balls and a milk carton for a glove. It is their passion. In our previous 12 trips we’ve played in many cities often using their major league stadiums. Most of the players we’ll play are former professional players and members of the Cuban national or Olympic teams. You’ll need to be on the top of your game as they play competitively and don’t like to loose. It is however, all done in fun.

The Cubans have very little baseball gear so you should plan on bringing baseballs and allowing them to use our gloves, bats and other equipment.


You will need to make your own flight arrangements from your origination to and from Miami (MIA) International Airport. We’ll be on a charter flight from Miami to Santiago and return on another charter flight from Havana. Once in Cuba, we’ll be met at the airport by our guide and our luxury bus. We’ll have the bus and guide to transport us throughout the trip. In addition, there may also be members of the Cuban baseball organizations joining us.

Upon departure, you’ll be transported from the hotel to the airport and assisted by our tour guides. We’ll be taking a domestic flight between Santiago and Havana and fly air Cubana.


Cuban Cuisine can be good to excellent depending on where you eat. It is mostly Caribbean or Creole style with a lot of black beans and rice. There is also lots of seafood in the diet. Chicken, fish and pork are the primary proteins and not too much beef. Most the beef I’ve had there has been pretty tough. We had a lot of lobsters on our last trip.

Breakfasts are included with the rooms at the hotels and will be buffet style breakfasts. Most lunches are included and will be at various restaurants wherever we are. Some dinners will be at the hotel and included. On nights we go to other restaurants you may be responsible for your own meals.

Some meals may be with the local Cuban nationals prepared by them after games or evening social activities.

You won’t find any McDonalds, Starbucks or other chain food restaurants you are used to. The only fast food chain type restaurants are El Rapido which is government owned and in almost every city. Deep fried greasy chicken and the worst pizza you’ve ever had. On the other hand they have plenty of cheap beverages and are generally open all night. You’ll also find restaurants that serve Italian, American, and Chinese foods.


Per the requirements of our license, we are not limited to the things we can do but we are limited to the amount of money we can spend each day which, on last review, was about $195/day. Much of that is already taken up by pre paid lodging, food and transportation. There will be time each day for tours, site seeing and evening entertainment.

We’ll be starting our trip in Santiago, the home of the Cuban music beat, which is the eastern part of Cuba and has several places to experience the local music and culture. From there we will be going to Havana to finish our games. Havana has a variety of discos and entertainment areas as well as entertainment at the hotel. Schedule permitting we’ll be attending a professional game while in Havana or Santiago.

Since we are limited on time and money, we’ll never be able to do all there is to do but we’ll have plenty of activities to keep us busy. We’ll also have some time for you to explore on your own in each city.

With the baseball, tours and your own outings, you’ll be exhausted by the end of the trip. Sleep when you get back to work.


Almost everything you see will be new to you. Each day will be a new adventure with playing baseball, meals at exotic restaurants and seeing the local sites.

While in each city we’ll visit the historical downtown areas, have a lunch and take in the sights. We’ll also probably visit a cigar factory and possibly a few other things. SInce this trip is mostly for veterans of previous Cuba trips we’ll not be doing as many tours as previously.


This trip is for amateur baseball players from Dodgertown West, preferably veterans of previous Cuba trips. Ages ranging in the 30’s through the 60’s. Average age of the teams is generally in the mid-50’s. Only team members are permitted on the trip per the license. You will need a valid passport and be able meet visa requirements and must be a full time participant in scheduled events.


When you travel a long distance to a foreign land, you want a comfortable place to stay. Each city has a variety of hotels from which to choose, many not so good. While in Santiago we will be staying at the 5 star Melia Santiago de Cuba, the best hotel in town. In Havana we will be staying at the 5 star Melia Cohiba in the Vedado district.

I’ve stayed at both of these hotels and find them to be pretty upscale for Cuba with nice facilities and the food is excellent for Cuba at the Melia hotels.

Schedule and Agenda

This trip is scheduled to take place in the dead of Winter of 2016. This will give you a break from the rain, snow, wind and cold of winter from wherever you are. There are plenty of flights to and from Miami to choose from. You should plan on arriving the day before we go into Cuba as it will probably be an early morning flight into Cuba.  You generally need to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight which means being there sometimes at 4-5 am. We usually plan a dinner in Miami the night before we go into Cuba.

Our departure flight from Havana will probably be in the morning or early afternoon.  By the time we get through all the customs, this will get you back to Miami where you can stay over night or catch a flight home right away. You are, of course, welcome to come earlier to Miami or stay later in Miami on your own. A preliminary detailed agenda is shown below.

All in all, between the baseball and the tours, this will be a very busy schedule that will give you a great experience and a chance to see some of the sights of Cuba and experience the Cuban culture. You’ll have lots of opportunities for evenings out after the games, tours and dinners.

Outline of Schedule for 9-days and 8 nights


February 12-20, 2016 – You will arrive in Miami by Friday, Feb. 11 for charter flight to Cienfuegos early Saturday morning Feb. 12.   We will return from Havana to Miami on Sunday, February 20, 2016.

Day 1
Feb. 12

Depart Miami and arrive in Cienfuegos, Jaime Gonzalez Airport
Drive to Cienfuegos
Lunch at local restaurant
Afternoon Free on your own
Dinner at paladar

Accommodations at Hotel Jagua or Hotel Rancho Luna

Day 2
Feb. 13

Breakfast at Hotel

Transfer to stadium for Game #1 with Cuban veterans. 
Lunch in Cienfuegos on Cienfuegos Bay
Dinner in Cienfuegos at local Paladar
Attendance at a professional baseball game (schedule permitting)

Accommodations at Hotel Jagua or Hotel Rancho Luna

Day 3
Feb. 14

Breakfast at the Hotel

Transfer to Abreus stadium for Game #2 w/Cuban Veterans
Return to Cienfuegos for lunch on your own
Dinner in Cienfuegos on your own

Accommodations at Hotel Jagua or Hotel Rancho Luna

Day 4
Feb. 15

Breakfast at Hotel

Transfer to Santa Clara for Game #3 w/ Cuban vets.
Lunch at Santa Clara Los Caneyes
Afternoon visit to Che Memorial

Dinner in Cienfuegos on your own

Accommodations at Hotel Jagua or Hotel Rancho Luna

Day 5
Feb. 16

Breakfast at Hotel

Transfer Cienfuegos to Havana
Lunch in Havana El Aljibe
Dinner at Havana on your own

Accommodations at Hotel Melia Cohiba

Day 6
Feb. 17

Breakfast at Hotel

Transfer to ballpark for Game #4 w/ Veteran Baseball Players,
Lunch in Havana at Havana Restaurant

Tours of Habana Vieja
Dinner in Havana on your own (vets) Tropicana (rookies, maybe)

Accommodations at Hotel Melia Cohiba

Day 7
Feb. 18

Breakfast at Hotel

Transfer to ballpark for Game #5 w/ Veteran Baseball Players,
Afternoon Lunch on your own
Afternoon free on your own
Dinner in Havana on your own

Accommodations at Hotel Melia Cohiba

Day 8
Feb. 19

Breakfast at Hotel

Transfer to stadium for Game #6 with local vets.
Lunch on our own
Afternoon free on your own
Dinner in Havana at Local Paladar

Accommodations at Hotel Melia Cohiba

Day 9
Feb. 20

Breakfast at hotel

Transfer to Airport.
Return to Miami on same day.


We need at least 17 participants for this trip to happen, including any additional non playing staff members.  Costs is not determined yet but look for something in the $3200-$3600 range.  These costs are based on staying at Cuban 5 star hotels in double occupancy.  If you want a room to yourself, add around $450-$500. 

It’s best to exchange Euros, British pounds or Swiss Francs as you will get an even exchange.  If you exchange US dollars they will charge you 10% on top of their normal exchange rates.  This could be about 20% total.

Universal Currency #1
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Exchange rate,
1 USD = about .9 CUP

Current Weather in Havana

If you would like more information on playing in Cuba send an email to pwresq@gmail.com

Included is: 

  • Travel License & Visa Processing
  • Flights MIA-STG, STG-HAV, HAV-MIA.
  • 8 nights lodging, double occupancy. 
  • Luxury Bus & Transportation
  • Travel Guide & Interpreter
  • All Scheduled Local Tours
  • All Baseball Games
  • Most Breakfast, Lunches and some Dinners
  • Attendance at a professional Cuban baseball game (schedule permitting)
  • Transfers to and from Airport in STG & HAV
  • An experience of a lifetime and More!



Not included is:

  • Travel from your home to and from Miami, beverages, airport taxes.
  • Non-scheduled trips (taxis, buses, trains etc.).
  • Visa fee Approximately $75
  • Airport Taxes MIA: $50
  • Airport Taxes HAV: $25
  • You may have to pay a gift import tax in HAV: $20-$30
  • You may be limited to 44 lb. luggage and have to pay extra for extra weight, $2/lb if it is allowed.
  • You may want to have your luggage security wrapped at about $10-25 each.
  • Each player to bring 6 leather baseballs (to be verified)
  • Each player to bring their own playing gear & uniforms.
  • Gratuities
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Some lunches



Paul W. Raymond, Baseball Adventures
1001 Dove Street, Suite 190
Newport Beach, CA 92660

949-955-2886 fax

email: pwresq@gmail.com

Sign Up

To sign up for this trip you need to fill out the application form and send a $500 deposit.  The balance of funds will be due by the first week of January 2016.  If for some reason, the trip does not happen, all deposits held by me will be returned in full.  Any deposits forwarded to the travel agents are subject to their return requirements.  Other than threat of war, not obtaining the OFAC license or natural disaster, the only reason it would not happen is if we do not the min of 15 people on the trip. 

Early booking absolutely essential as Cuba is a HOT spot for tourists from everywhere, including the USA, and we need to secure our hotel rooms.


We need a minimum of 17 participants.  I usually try and keep the playing roster to 15 players for the week.   If you are interested, please contact me.  If you are interested in doing a second week of Cuba to include Cienfuegos and Havana, see the other program.  If you want to do both weeks you will need to fill out registration form and provide a deposit for each trip.  If you would like to get on a waiting list, please let me know.   Seems like almost always, someone has to drop out for some reason.  We can take an unlimited number of other team support staff.  They must however be part of the team and a member of DTW. 

Roster of Participants

Player  Status  Positions  

Dennis McCroskey
Aron Levinson
Mike Labanowski










15 Full time players

3 Full time coaches

Non Players Status       
Waiting List Status Positions