Santiago de Cuba Journals

Viva la Revolución

A September 2000 trip to Santiago de Cuba by Joel

Quote: Cut off from the Western capitalist world until the end of the Cold War, and only just emerging from a chronic economic crisis, the face of modern-day Cuba is in many respects frozen in the past - the classic American cars, moustachioed cigar-smoking farmers, horse-drawn carriages and colonial Spanish architecture all apparently unaffected by the breakneck tempo of modernization, brought on by the country's desperate need for dollars following the collapse of the Soviet bloc. The last ten years, Cuba has opened the floodgates to global tourism and it shifts from a socialist stronghold to one of the Caribbean's major tourist destinations, running on "Green Gold".

Viva la Revolución

Overview

Quote:
1) Parque Cépedes: Hotel Casa Granda, the Casa de Cultura, Museo de Ambiete Cubano, built by Diego Velázquez, the white Ayuntamiento or town hall and Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción.
2) Cuartel Moncada
3) Casa de la Trova

Quick Tips:

Best Way To Get Around:

Parque Céspedes

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Attraction | "Parque Cépedes"

Quote:
My vacation started in the eastern part of Cuba, defined by the Sierra Maestra. This large mountain range binds together the provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Granma. In this region you are not able to get around its stirring history. So Santiago de Cubo seemed to be a logical place to start a trip through Cuba. On the first day I visited several places around Santiago de Cuba and got wrapped up in the history of the immediate surroundings. The Sierra Maestra has played an important role in the struggle for independence between 1868 and 1898 as well as for the Revolutionary War of Cuba in 1959. At the end of the 19th century, these mountains were the perfect hide-out from where the city's most celebra...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 7, 2000

Parque Céspedes
Aguilera esquina General Lacret
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba 91100
Not applicable

Cuartel Moncada (Ciudad Escolar 26 de Julio)

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Attraction | "Cuartel Moncada"

Quote:
Another famous must-see is the Cuartel Moncada, just off the Avenida de los Libertadores, if only for the place it has in Cuban history. These barracks were futilely stormed by Fidel Castro and his band of revolutionaries on July 26, 1953. One building is peppered with bullet holes from the attack. The original were plastered over on Batista's orders and are hollowed out again when Castro came to power. They even used photographs to make sure the positions were as authentic as possible. Be sure you find a book to read about what happened here in 1953! Although the attack was a disaster in military terms, it was a political triumph and elevated Fidel Castro to hero status throughout Cuba. Inside this b...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 7, 2000

Cuartel Moncada (Ciudad Escolar 26 de Julio)
General Portuondo y Avenida Moncada
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba 90300
No phone available

Casa de la Trova

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Attraction

Quote:
I've read in several books that music is a vital element of Santiagero life. In this barren region, immigrants of Spanish, European, African and Haitian descent settled and established a supply of new elements in Cuba's African and Spanish mixture. African slaves brought rhythms and ritual dances to Cuba where they were blended with Spanish guitars. Son - the pearl among Cuban music - often contains an additional, sexual layer, which can be heavely chauvinistic. Because of the legandary record, Buena Vista Social Club, a musical project supported by Ry Cooder in 1997, the Cuban music scene has really boomed all over the world. Rubén Gonzalez and Compay Segundo, now known as the world's oldest and most...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 7, 2000

Casa de la Trova
Heredia esquina a San Félix
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba 90100

Pssst, pssst!

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Story/Tip

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Cuba is a very safe country and the worst you're likely to experience is incessant and irritating, loud psssst, psssst - the nation-wide method for getting attention - from jineteros, keen to take advantage of the tourists. We first met one of these guys near the hotel when we were looking for a taxi. A young man asked us if we would like to ride to town with an old American yank-tank that stood a few metres away from us on the street. It didn't look like a cab but why not. We were six and made a deal for 3 USD. When we met the owner of the Cadillac it became 4 USD. Why? Just because the young guy expects to receive an additional kickback (read commission) from the car owner. Remember, for any kind of...Read More

Snapshots, Béisbol & Mojitos

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Story/Tip

Quote:
As I loafed about the streets of Stgo de Cuba away from Parque Cépedes everything became very calm and quiet. There's less traffic and less commercialization in this part of town. While walking around, you can expect to receive steady gazes which are honest displays of interest and curiosity. Winking, the raising of eyebrows, smiling, or saying, 'Hola!' are all appropriate casual exchanges when passing by. Greetings of 'Beunos dias!' are always appreciated. And while you're strolling, you'll get to experience the highly social street life: citizens lingering in doorways, men playing domino, lining up for rations or beating the heat at the corner bar. In a narrow street I bumped into a bunch of little ...Read More