Baseball in Havana: What You Need To Know

Though the United States and Cuba haven’t met eye to eye on many things for over six decades, we do happen to share a national pastime. Baseball has been a historically unifying game, which serves as a great way to take in an afternoon in Havana among locals cheering on the home team, the Industriales.

 The first baseball game in Cuba was played in Matanzas at the Palmar de Junco Stadium in 1874. Source: Ballpark Digest

The first baseball game in Cuba was played in Matanzas at the Palmar de Junco Stadium in 1874. Source: Ballpark Digest

Catching a baseball game in Cuba is fast paced, fun, and exciting.  This isn’t necessarily only because of the players or the game, but the fans are incredible, creating an unforgettable atmosphere to enjoy 9 innings.

The Industriales play at the Estadio Latinoamericana, a stadium famous for being a rowdy atmosphere in the heart of the working-class municipality of Cerro.

 When President Obama became the first American president to visit Cuba since 1922, he and Cuban Presidents Raul Castro attended a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team. The Rays won the game 4-1.

When President Obama became the first American president to visit Cuba since 1922, he and Cuban Presidents Raul Castro attended a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team. The Rays won the game 4-1.

Tickets: Tickets cost 3 CUC for foreigners and can be purchased at the ballpark the day of the game. Seating is completely open, so it’s good to get to the game on time to find a good seat. Cubans pay subsidized prices of just a few cents to watch a game.

Season: August – October is what’s called the “primer turno” or first round, and  involves all 16 teams in the Cuban Major Leagues. The “second turno” or second round starts in November, and the bottom 4 teams in the eastern and western conferences are left out.  The unique and exciting part is the best players from those eliminated teams are drafted by the remaining teams and compete in the second round.  The 4-team playoff that starts in January drafts one last time, once again adding reinforcements from the eliminated teams, making the playoffs even more interesting with the best players all on the field. 

The schedule can be viewed here.

How/When: Cuba Educational Travel (CET) recommends visiting Cuba to enjoy baseball between November and February, always checking the calendar beforehand to see what teams are playing and when. Taking in an Industriales game at “El Latino” is a must. Matanzas (1.5 hours from Havana), Pinar del Rio (2 hours), Cienfuegos (3 hours) and Santa Clara (3 hours) are also close enough to Havana to include a day trip or overnight to check out more stadiums and teams. CET also works with youth baseball teams, retired Hall of Famers and top baseball historians to set up some great additional visits during your baseball-focused Cuba trip.

So, what are you waiting for? Visit Cuba, the land of baseball, cigars, jazz, rum, salsa and much more! CET organizes trips for baseball aficionados, youth baseball tournaments, adult softball visits and high school and college baseball competitions. Take in America and Cuba’s favorite pastime with our Cuban friends!

Be sure to check out our upcoming trip in February of 2019 with Eric Nadel, sports announcer on radio broadcasts for the Texas Rangers: HAVANA BEHIND THE SCENES THRU MUSIC, BASEBALL & MORE

Matt McLaughlin