What I did:
I traveled with a group that put on sports clinics for children that played soccer and baseball.
I was able to see a good amount of the city of Santiago. It feels like being in a time machine because, due to the political situation, there have been very few cars imported and relatively little construction in recent years.
Visited the Faro del Morro-
The Faro del Morro is a historic lighthouse located on the southern coast of Cuba. It was originally built in 1842, then quickly rebuilt after it was destroyed by bombers in 1898. It uses a unique mirror system to project light, and it provides amazing views of the coastline from the top of the lighthouse.
Visited the Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca-
The Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca is an old fort located next to the Faro del Morro. It is over three hundred years old and was originally designed by the Italian engineer Giovanni Battista Antonelli to defend against pirates.
Visited the Estadio Guillermón Moncada-
The Estadio Guillermón Moncada is the Cuban professional league baseball stadium that houses the Santiago de Cuba Avispas baseball team. Baseball is the number one sport on the island of Cuba. While I was not able to see a game, I was able to see the stadium.
Where I ate and where I stayed:
I both ate and stayed with friends in Cuba. I got to eat some traditional Cuba food. However, because cows are so scarce on the island now, Cuban dishes such as Ropa Vieja and Picadillo that are common in the United States are rarely found in Cuba.
How I got around:
Although I did use some taxis, I traveled around with friends most of my time in Santiago. Due to the embargo, Cubans have to be very creative with their resources. For the majority of the time I traveled around in a car with a 1950's Jeep body with a chevy engine and Russian transmission pieced together to make it run.
My Favorite Thing:
The Cuban people I met were amazing. I really enjoyed experiencing the Cuban culture, and the weather was amazing.
My Least Favorite Thing:
Due to the political climate, Cuba does not have the same resources as the rest of the world. As far as I could see, while everyone had some access to housing, food and medical care, all of the citizens of Cuba lived well below the economic average of much of the developed world.
For next time:
While I was able to go to the coastal area by the Faro del Morro and the Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, I was not able to visit any of Santiago's beaches. I would like to explore the beaches Santiago de Cuba has to offer.
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