Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa

Last week after I finished up four of my five classes, I was able to travel to the other side of Cuba to visit Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa. After a very long 500-mile bus ride that lasted all night, I arrived in Santiago and was able to see Diego Velazquez’s house, the Moncada Barracks, Cementerio Santa Efigenia, Cayo Granma, Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, and a baseball game between Santiago’s Avispas (Wasps) and Matanzas’s Cocodrilos (Crocodiles). My favorite parts of Santiago were the Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, an impressive castle completed in 1700 at the mouth of the bay of Santiago, and Cayo Granma, a small fishing village located on an island inside the bay.

After spending two days in Santiago, I left for Baracoa, a small coastal town just before the easternmost point of the country. Founded in 1511, Baracoa is the oldest town in Cuba and a possible place that Christopher Columbus visited on his first voyage. I really liked Baracoa because it was a laid-back town and I was able to visit a plantation just outside of the town where they grow and process the famous Baracoan cacao and coffee.

In addition to my trip to the other side of the island, I was also able to eat at Coppelia, a famous ice cream parlor in Havana. The design of Coppelia is so unique that it would be too difficult for me to describe and the ice cream is so cheap ($0.20 for a four-scoop sundae) that one of the people next to me kept ordering sundaes until she had filled a medium-sized bucket with ice cream to take home.

I only have 10 days left in Havana, so I will be trying to knock out as many things on my list as possible. I’ve posted a couple pictures of Santiago below and will post another update about the little time left I have in Cuba by the weekend.

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