Santiago to Baracoa


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Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Este » Santiago de Cuba
February 27th 2018
Published: March 10th 2018
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Today we were up early bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for our journey to Baracoa on the north coast. We had arranged for Robbie, our driver from yesterday to take us to the bus station. We said good bye to our hosts and made our way out. Well I almost got run over crossing the road without looking but no harm done. Just a very angry Cuban driving his kids to school.

We made it to the bus station with plenty of time to spare and this today the bus was on time…. departing. Arriving was a very different matter. Along the way the bus pulled off the main road near what appeared to be a large hay shed (sans hay) with a few guys milling about and working on the roof. We thought it might be a rest break but couldn’t understand why there were no cafeteria’s nearby. We got off the bus to see the driver and conductor poking around in the engine. They called over the guys from the hay shed, they all stood around talking for a bit. Then the conductor went to the front of the bus and grabbed a spare part. (I think it may have been a fuel filter) The all stood around and talked while one guy pulled the old part out. They all had a look at it, talked a bit more, put the new part in, talked a bit more, started the bus, revved the guts out of it and obviously decided that was good enough. Well it was until we got to Guantanamo and then we were all ordered off the bus while further repairs were made. We didn’t roll into Baracoa until 3. Scheduled time of arrival was 12.30. Ahhh Cuba!

The countryside on the way was ever changing. We started with the mountains just outside of Santiago. This gave way to low lying pasture land and then the rugged coastline around Guantanamo. I didn’t see any marines, in fact I only got a brief glance of the controversial bay, and we were miles from the US navel base. Finally, the coastline was traded for more beautiful mountains. We wound up through the mountains, and back down, and up, and down. I think there were rainforests here, they were certainly lush and green. I tried to get some happy snaps from the bus but the photos just don’t do it justice. Some of the more entertaining sights on the road today (apart from the usual Cuban craziness)

· A ute overtook the bus, there was a guy lying in the back on top of whatever bags of produce they were transporting. Looked like he was just kicking back on his couch

· Way up in the mountains in the middle of nowhere, on dude standing on the side of the road selling a bucket of oranges.

· Two cute little black kid goats, climbing up the side of a rock face eating whatever grass they could find

· There were surprisingly few potholes on this road. Just a rather large chunk of the road that had started to wash away as we cruised along the side of a mountain.

When we finally made it to Baracoa we waded through the crowd of taxi drivers in the bus yard to find our Casa which was blissfully just around the corner. It wasn’t far to walk but the heat had set in and it certainly felt taxing. Our casa overlooks the bay which is just lovely. The hosts however do not speak a word of English so this is going to be interesting. We managed to organise breakfast for the morning and a taxi to the airport for Thursday. So, all good.

We made our way into the centre of town in the search of some lunch. We found a nice little restaurant that served the usual Cuban cuisine and sat down. While we were lunching the rain came, and it absolutely poured for about an hour. So, we were stuck sitting and watching the rain and drinking cervezas. We had a reasonably view of the main street, which is just as cute as a button. On the map Baracoa looks like a one-horse town, but on the way in I suspect it may be a lot bigger than it first appears. The town itself seems to drag on forever down the road, although I think it may only be four or five streets wide.

When the rain finally cleared we went for a wander down the street and found the Museo de Chocolat. This is the one thing that I really wanted to see. And apart from the chocolate, I was somewhat disappointed. I thought we would be walking through a chocolate factory seeing how the break it down from cocoa beans to the glorious sugary treat I love. However, it was really just a café that tells the story of chocolate (in Spanish) and then you can do a taste test. We sat down for a warm chocolate and that was pretty much all there was to it. The chocolate is nice…but its not Lindt.

After the chocolate shop we made our way down the main drag. We found the Infotur shop which was closed, but Cubatur was open so we checked in for a tour tomorrow that looks quite cool. Then we made our way back to the casa to relax for the evening. Its been a long day and I’m really quite beat.

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