Saturday, 19 August 2017

Bahia de Cochinos, Cuba

Getting from Trinidad to Vinales was our big road trip day in Cuba.
(For our tips on driving in Cuba see our travel blog, Exploring the World.)

We were both very keen to get there via The Bay of Pigs and Australia.
The trip to Playa Giron and Bahia de Cochinos gave us lots of experience on the local roads.
We were puzzled, then fascinated by the rice drying process we passed on the local roads. 
The line of rice stretched on for hundreds of metres with various people raking it (and guarding it) along the way.

Obviously we avoided driving on it, but there were times when this was impossible. But no-one seemed to mind. 

I love road trips.
I love the road signs, verges, corners and bridges.
Driving through the local areas makes the transition from one town or area to the next feel more fluid and natural. I like to note the changes in vegetation, architecture, weather and all the socio-economic factors like type of work, housing, infrastructure etc.

First stop was Playa Giron and the Museo Giron on the south-eastern end of Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). 
A large sign on the beach announces that 'Here North American imperialism suffered its first major defeat.'
The small museum was a captivating mix of photographs, film, documents and weapons documenting the anti-Castro invasion. Having grown up with the American version of events, it was fascinating to finally hear and see the other side. Propaganda and revisionism played a part in both accounts.

Our next stop was right at the northern tip of the peninsula at Playa Larga.
Along the entire way from Playa Giron to Playa Larga, monuments and memorials honouring the Cuban defenders lined the road. Many had fresh flowers.

It was a beautiful (though blustery) day and the Caribbean was looking gorgeous. 
Snorkelling, diving, fishing and bird watching are popular activities around here (according to our Lonely Planet), but we didn't actually see anybody engaged in any of these things.

Ours was the only car in the car park and we were the only people on the beach.

Two Aussies travelling through Cuba couldn't not go through the little town of Australia!
According to wikipedia, Australia is named after the sugar factory (now closed), the Central Australia, which like other mills in the area, were named after continents.

During the 1961 invasion, Australia became famous when Castro used it as his base of operations.

However, there's not a lot to see there now.

Next week - Vinales!

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.


  1. Some surprises for me: signs promoting countrywide philosophies and the commonness of the horse-and-buggy as a mode of transportation. I rarely see signs like that; I mostly see signs to sell things here.

    1. The embargo has meant that the signs selling stuff that bombard our visual environment are completely irrelevant in Cuba. There is simply no stuff to sell!

  2. Your photos are fascinating to me. Having lived in Miami for a number of years, among Cuban ex-patriots, I have a somewhat ambivalent attitude about Cuba. Your photos gave me a glimpse of the reality of the island. I agree with Deb Nance -- the billboards full of propaganda were a surprise.
    My Saturday Snapshot post features the Elwha dam.

    1. All governments sell themselves to their people one way or another - the Cuban govt is just very open about it!
      Travelling through Cuba reminded me that one person's propaganda is another's truth - it just depends what side of the fence you're on!
      Many of the museums we went to emphasised the corruption that was rife in Cuba in the lead up to the revolution. What I got from these exhibitions was that most of the Cuban population was living in abject poverty except for those catering to the criminal element that had taken over the big cities. The final straw was the uber-corrupt US-backed dictator, Batista.

      The Cubans we spoke to seem to be very wary about letting that element back into Cuba again. I think they would like to have some form of capital growth and commercial enterprise, but they don't want it to be all about the mafia and drugs and gambling like it was pre-1959.

  3. I love road trips, too, but a road trip through CUBA - wow, amazing!

    As always, your photos are just gorgeous. Those pics of the blue sky and aqua-colored water - wow!!

    Thanks for sharing - it looks like an incredible trip. Hope you are enjoying your weekend -


    Book By Book

    1. Cuba was the first time I had seen the Caribbean - the colours were gorgeous although the beaches themselves were fairly ordinary (but then it's hard to impress an Aussie with beaches! We're rather spoilt for choice over here!)


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