CUBA CRUISE 2019: Part 6: Cienfuegos continued


Wednesday, January 10, 2019

A beautiful day greeted us on our second, and last, day in Cienfuegos. Today we participated in the cruise line shore excursion, a bus trip to the old fortress located around the opposite side of the huge bay. After a 45 minute ride, we arrived at Nuestra de Jagua, a fort built in the late 1500’s and of the same design as the one in Havana, although considerably smaller. Here too cannons projected out through the battlements where they had long ago helped protect the island from attacks and invasions. 


Entering the fort, we crossed over the functional drawbridge. Below that, the deep moat once filled with water was now dry. Our guide provided many details about this historic place and more local history. We were free to roam about, including climbing up in the watch tower on the old circular stairway. 


In the lower levels was a prison with an assortment of leg and arm shackles, a chapel and other rooms occupied by the Spanish garrisons. To offset the lack of water, this fortress was built to collect rainwater in an underground cistern. It was all very interesting.


On the drive back to Cienfuegos, our guide pointed out apartment buildings that had originally been planned for workers at a nuclear power plant that was begun by the Russians. However, when the Russians abandoned Cuba in the early 1990’s, that project was left unfinished. The apartments, though, are occupied. Nearer to Cienfuegos, is the electric power plant fueled by diesel. Solar and wind generating power stations are soon to be added to the island’s power generating infrastructure.


Our bus took us on a tour through the city and out along a more affluent peninsula with several finer homes. Along the drive to lunch, the bus stopped to watch a photo session in front of one of the mansions. We were told it was for the quinceañera, a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday. 

Version 2

Dressed in her full skirted red gown the photographer was meticulously arranging the shot with the mansion in the background. Continuing on, we stopped for a very tasty lunch buffet at the Hotel Jagua.


From lunch we walked up the street where we were to hear a concert. Surprisingly, the concert was with an all female flute ensemble and a male bongo drum player. This was an excellent performance that included several songs that Mark and I were familiar with after our Cuba trip in 2017. The musicians were lovely, extremely talented and so grateful to be able to perform for us. 


Continuing by bus we arrived at the town plaza and spent the remainder of our time exploring in the area. We were allowed inside the old theatre/performance hall that is undergoing extensive renovation.


The plaza was a pleasant place to sit on park benches watching the passing scenes: boys going home from school, old cars puttering around on the streets, the old buildings, people engaged in conversations. 

On a side street a vendors market offered a large selection of gifts and souvenirs. Along the sidewalk, artists had their paintings on display and for sale. This all mixes into a colorful, flavorful image of Cuba today.

Back on board by 3:30 pm, we watched from the sun deck as the ship left port heading out of Cienfuegos harbor and back into the sea. 

We would sail overnight and well into the next afternoon to our last Cuban destination - Santiago de Cuba.



Cienfuegos, Cuba town square


                                                         Sorry pup, this is not a Cuban boat lift to the US.

u © Donald E. Kline 2012