Sailing Santiago de Cuba

Siboney is a quiet village and “popular council” east of Cuba’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba. On her recent trip to her hometown, Yordi and family spent a day at Siboney Beach, a sandy beach on Cuba’s rocky southern shore. Locals and tourists love this beach and as Yordi’s images show, good times were had by all.

Siboney Beach 3

The village rests on the Caribbean Sea off the road that connects Santiago de Cuba to Boconao. In 1898, Siboney and a neighboring village, Daiquiri, were designated by US military commanders as the most strategically suitable landing zones for their forces during the Spanish-American War and for their assault on Santiago.  In fact, a WWI transport ship, the USS Siboney was named after this village.

Siboney is also regarded by Cubans as the launching point for Fidel Castro’s successful overthrow of the President Fulgencio Batista. In Siboney, Castro gathered his fellow revolutionaries and planned the successful assault on the government’s Moncada Barracks. This event is regarded as the first hostile attack on government forces in the Revolution.


Siboney 6The village of Daiquiri lies 14 miles east of Santiago de Cuba. Daiquiri played a lesser role in Castro’s revolution than it did in the Spanish American War. Spanish General Arsenio Linares y Pompo ordered that the shore between Daiquiri and Siboney be heavily fortified prior to the US military landings in 1898.

Unbeknownst to Pompo, US Army general William Rufus Shafter and Cuban General Calixto Garcia had planned that as the navy shelled Daiquiri, their Cuban collaborators would attack Spanish forces from the ground. Other Cuban nationals were carried by US ships to Cabanas where they successfully cut communication lines between Spanish forces and shut down Spanish army supply lines.

Santiago fun 1

Two days later, 16,000 US troopers followed waded to Daiquiri’s shores and dispensed 300 Spanish resistance fighters. Other troops landed at Siboney and established a large supply fortification. The supply chain remained in place until US forces captured Santiago de Cuba.

Daiquiri actually has interesting connections to Cuba’s culture. There still remains an active iron mine outside the town. The word daiquiri language is of Taino Indian origin.

Siboney Beach Santiago de Cuba 1

The daiquiri cocktail was supposedly invented in a bar known as Venus in Santiago de Cuba just 23 miles from the Daiquiri iron mine. The first daiquiri is believed to have been created by a group of American engineers in 1900. The group of engineers included; Jennings Cox, General manager of Spanish American Iron Co. J. Francis Linthicum, C. Manning Combs, George Pfeiffer, DeBerneire Whitaker and others. The rumor persisted that Cox actually invented the daiquiri when the bar ran out of gin. As lime and sugar were easily available they were put to work in a drink that has become a trademark for Cuban sociability.

Do you want to see all the historic sights of Cuba? Contact Yordi at for details.

Siboney fun 2 is not a licensed People-to-People tour provider but works closely with International Expeditions, a licensed provider. This International Expedition 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.

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