The Nameless Gym In Havana Cuba
Desague, (between Havana centre and Vedado), about halfway down the street, a gym in Havana, Cuba lies down some steps at the front, in a blue building.
Opening times: Mon-Fri: 800-1200 and 1500-2000
Price: 10 CUC per month or 1 CUC per session. BUT, ask to pay in CUP (the more local currency) and you might get it cheaper. He agreed I could pay 20 CUP for 2 days, which I paid as 10 per day separately. It’s literally the cheapest gym I’ve found anywhere in the world!
Location and Entry
Please note there is no sign outside this gym in Havana. From what I can gather it has no name, does not exist on Google or anywhere else, but I’m definitely not imagining it. I found it by asking my accommodation host (Casa Goicochea on Hostelworld) where I could find a gym and then asked people on the street where it was. If you go and have a look during its opening times, you’ll be able to see inside it through the open door. If you turn up on a Sunday afternoon as I originally did, you won’t have a hope of identifying it as a gym.
Now unless you’ve been wandering around Cuba with your eyes shut, you might have noticed that the country is looking rather run down and sorry for itself. This gym in Havana is no exception. It is as shabby looking inside as out, comparable only to a gym I found in Botswana last year – but treat it as an experience, it’s a gym like no other.
After visiting Rafa’s Gym, I was actually pleasantly surprised. The Nameless Gym (as I will call it!) is fairly small by normal standards but has a usable range of free weights – dumbbells, fixed weight barbells and adjustable ones in addition to several benches (flat and inclined) and squat racks. It also has some rather curious looking resistance machines, although these have nothing on the (even more curious looking) cardio machines, which look like something out of the fifties. Did gym equipment exist then? I’ve never seen anything like them anywhere.
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Computerised displays? You must be kidding. They don’t even have colour. They are effectively just levers with places for your feet. I wasn’t sure if they were usable when I first entered but people did get on them and nothing broke. I opted to run outside for my cardio, but however you do it, go early – the heat and humidity are intense here.
Resistance Machines With A Difference!
As for the resistance machines, you’d be forgiven for wondering where the pin is to adjust the weight. Probably around the same time as you notice there actually are no weights. Every single resistance machine here from the lat pull down to leg extension requires you to go and get some disc weights off the racks and load them onto the machines. And don’t think you can leave them there when you’re done either…
Amusing Gym Signs
Around the gym, you’ll see signs in Spanish telling you not to leave weights on the machines – you need to return them to the racks. Presumably because there wouldn’t be enough discs to go around if you left them there. There are even more interesting signs up, telling you not to smoke there or bring bikes, animals or small children into the gym. Cubans like their rules. I was amused by these so I translated the others too.
“Don’t stay here once you’ve finished training.” (Oh but I have nothing else to do here!) And finally:
“Don’t exceed a training time of 1 hour 45 minutes”. No idea where they pulled this time from but okay.
In addition to the weights, I found a rather grubby looking Swiss ball in one corner and a roller in another. There was also a skipping rope hanging up down the far end.
Summary of The Nameless Gym in Havana Cuba
Whilst everything looks rather tatty at this gym in Havana, the chin-up bars are about a foot too low (due to a fairly low ceiling), and the cables are oily, remarkably everything I tried to use worked. There are several fans which were on and although they help, you should expect to leave covered in sweat and possibly grease from the cables, as I did on my first visit. This brings me to the issue of water. Currently it is not advised to drink tap water in Cuba and I was therefore surprised how hard it is to find bottled water there as many shops do not stock it, only selling fizzy drinks. Larger supermarkets do however, or boil some on the hob. Either way, ensure you have a good supply ready before starting your workout.
At 8:30am when I arrived, the gym was quiet – although by the time I left on a Monday morning, around 12 people had turned up. It was quieter on Wednesday morning, with only around 6 or 7 people.
See also Rafa’s Gym, Havana.
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