Yordi Crosses the Bay of Santiago de Cuba: Video

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Many people believe the real soul of Cuba is found in the intriguing history of Santiago de Cuba, the country’s largest city and capital for many years. After all, Santiago de Cuba boasted a major port that unfortunately had appeal for pirates and foreign powers. Nevertheless, the port served as a major shipping and receiving hub to the country and the southern tier.


As Cuba’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba is a great destination for People-to-People Cuba tours. The spellbinding history, the backdrop of the Sierra Maestra mountains, the beautiful bay and the friendly persona that this rich culture center offers have great appeal.

Yordi’s hometown is also her favorite city in Cuba. She enjoys visiting her family and extended family there but as you can tell in this video, there is a certain amount of local pride in the city and the culture.


Santiago de Cuba was first plundered by the French in 1553. 100 years later, British naval captain Christopher Myngs would take the city in 1662. Should you include Santiago de Cuba on your custom People-to-People tour? Contact Yordi or Dave at Info@travelguidecuba.com.

Wreck of the Spanish Reina Mercedes, Santiago, Cuba 1898

Wreck of the Spanish Reina Mercedes, Santiago, Cuba 1898

The Bay of Santiago de Cuba is quite spectacular. In addition to the natural surroundings, there is the famous San Pedro de la Roca Castle and the accompanying Castillo del Morro built and added on to from 1638 up until recent renovations by the UNESCO World Heritage Foundation.

View from Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca

The British attempts to capture Santiago de Cuba with a large naval expedition occurred during The Battle of Santiago on July 21, 1741. This battle was one of the turning points in the War of Jenkins’ Ear and signaled the dismal defeat of Admiral Sir Edward Vernon who followed his unsuccessful invasion of Cartagena with his failed attack at Santiago de Cuba.

William T. Sampson's Eastern Division firing at Santiago defenses 1898

William T. Sampson’s Eastern Division firing at Santiago defenses 1898

The British were more successful with attacks launched on August 4th and 5th. The morro led by Carlos Riva Aguero and local militia leader Captain Pedro Guerrero only had a force of 350 regulars and about 600 militia to hold off the massive British invasion.


The force retreated and resorted to very effective guerrilla attacks that devastated the British forces that were ill-prepared to survive the climate and new surroundings. Four months later, Spanish forces and the militia pushed the British away from Santiago’s shores.


The American’s had their own experiences at the Bay of Cuba. In order to support the naval force of Admiral William T. Sampson, Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders under the command of General William Rufus sought to add land support to the naval attack.

Lightouse and restaurant

Lightouse and restaurant

The Rough Riders successfully captured San Juan Hill in 1898 and proceeded to Santiago de Cuba. Sampson effectively destroyed the Spanish Fleet in the Bay on July 3, 1898.

Cayo Granma

Cayo Granma

Yordi has it right. A trip to Santiago de Cuba is a trip back in time to a culture than many Americans cannot fathom. Rich in music, art and culture but with little income, the city’s residents celebrate life with uncommon gusto.

Santiago People

Santiago People

Many People-to-People Cuba tours in Santiago de Cuba begin with a tour of Parque Cespedes. At some point, tourists gather to take the ferry across the Bay to one of Dave and Yordi’s favorite restaurants. The trip across the bay crosses one of the most picturesque settings in all the Caribbean, much less in Cuba.

Young Woman Reads a Book Overlooking Santiago de Cuba

Young Woman Reads a Book Overlooking Santiago de Cuba

In addition to the Sierra Maestra backdrop, the Bay of Santiago de Cuba also features terrific marine life. For those lucky enough to have a guided fishing tour, anything can happen as monstrous deep water fish are expected on every trip. The best restaurants in the area offer fresh fish daily.


Adding to the personal feel of Santiago are the deep streets that naturally lead down toward the water. These inclines give each street a sense of its own community. Want to learn more about Santiago de Cuba? Contact Yordi or Dave at Info@travelguidecuba.com.

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Rich in history, set spectacularly between the Caribbean and the highest mountains in Cuba and with a wonderful, proud culture and friendly people, Santiago de Cuba is a special place. Hotels are as good as they get in Cuba and the nightlife is magnetic. There is a lot to like about time spent here, including the opportunity to meet with a local population known to Dave and Yordi.


Travelguidcuba.com is not a licensed People-to-People tour provider but works closely with licensed providers. Complete Cuba People-to-People tour is licensed (CT-2013-299822-1) by the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to engage, organize and conduct authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba that engages participants in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.