Cuba from East to West

Beginning the Cuba series with a cliche
Beginning the Cuba series with a cliche: a minor bus breakdown in Havana led to a bonus taxi ride for us all!

These posts show some photos from the 17-day Road Scholar tour I just took in Cuba. We flew from Miami to Santiago de Cuba, the main city in the southeast of Cuba. We had a comfortable bus and drove all the way from Santiago to Havana, with stops (mostly in cities) along the way, but also the Unesco World Heritage town of Trinidad. The U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control specifies requirements for Educational and People-to-People travel. We’re supposed to have two educational and/or people-to-people events every day. This makes for a trip with a lot of interesting content: lectures from university professors and other professionals; dance and music demonstrations; meetings with artists; and a lunch with some seniors who run an activity center for jubilados  (retired folks).

I’m going to concentrate here on showing you some interesting photos rather than try to explain what we learned about life in Cuba, its situation in relation to the U.S. etc. As I write, I’m at Amy’s house in Miami for a couple of days. As soon as I get home I’ll be busy looking for a new apartment and preparing to teach English in Costa Rica during January. So we’ll see how many photos I manage to publish of Cuba!

Santiago Bay- Spanish fleet was penned in here during the Spanish-American-Cuban war.
Santiago Bay: The Spanish fleet was penned in here during the Spanish-American-Cuban war.
View of Santiago de Cuba
View of Santiago de Cuba
Snapshot of the countryside from the bus
Snapshot of the countryside from the bus
The Cubans make nicely carved cane chairs. Don’t know why these are in the street (!)
During economic hard times in the 1990s (the “Special Period”, Cubans returned to using horses for public transport.


The cities we visited had pedestrian malls that ran two or three blocks. This is the city of Guantánamo. It’s a pretty mall, but shopping for Cuban residents is very, very sparse: not only do they have very little money, there’s not a lot on the shelves. (¡Cuidado! With a little reflection, most will realize that the bay and prison were named after a city where people have actually lived for a few centuries.)

Quick shot from the bus.

3 thoughts on “Cuba from East to West

  1. Costa Rica: Jumpstart is a month-long English program during the January school break for kids about to go to middle school. They’re all over Costa Rica and mostly run by PCVs, but Portland’s connection with Costa Rica via Partners of the America also supplies volunteers – looks like at four sites this year. I’ll be paired with another volunteer who’s fluent in Spanish. The Jumpstart program has a good curriculum and they furnish all the materials needed. I’m hoping to stay with a host family and working hard on my Spanish.


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