Río Cristal, a tourist center inaugurated in 1960, is located on Avenida Rancho Boyeros, close to one of the airports in the capital, after passing the Aqueduct of Wind. It’s on the site where, in the 18th century, a slave barracks existed, and, later, a convent for nuns. Remodeled on different occasions, it still enjoys being the choice for the people of Havana, above all those who can pay with CUCs to stay there.
The entrance is still the same, wide and shady.
The swimming pool is in great demand all year.
…surrounded by a tranquility and a vegetation that is absent in the best hotels of the city.
And, for the kids, the park.
…in particular the little castle, in good-enough shape.
Inside the same installation, not only are there unattended areas, there is also the river. According to data published on Cubanet on September 22, between 2008 and 2009, five young people drowned in the Cristal River, which borders the recreation center of the same name.
Because of the deaths and accidents. the police have put up a sign prohibiting swimming in the river, but the young continue to do it. They say it’s because they don’t have other places where they can go to have fun.
Alexander, a lifeguard at the Rio Cristal swimming pool, said that on many occasions he has had to help kids who were on the point of drowning, but he did not always arrive on time.
Ana Lidia, the mother of a child who lives in the area, asserted that the river water is very contaminated. “The time my son escaped from me and went into that filth, he contracted a staph infection.”
Iván García, with text and photos by Robin Thom, of Flickr.
Translated by Regina Anavy