Destination Cuba
Click on map locations for more information...

Havana, University of Havana

In the Thirties, the university became a political hotbed. Fidel Castro entered politics as a student activist in the mid-1940s.

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Isla de Juventud, Presidio Modelo

After Moncada, Fulgencio Batista's regime imprisoned Fidel Castro for almost two years on this island -- known then as Isla de Pinos.

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Sierra del Escambray

After Castro's revolution turned to Communism, an anti-Castro opposition movement launched attacks from this mountain range.

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Playa Giron, Bay of Pigs

Fourteen hundred CIA-trained Cuban exiles invaded Cuba on April 17, 1961 to overthrow Castro. The force surrendered within 72 hours, overwhelmed by Castro's army.

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San Cristobal

In October 1962 American surveillance planes detected Soviet missile bases in Cuba, including one in a rural area near San Cristobal. The Cuban Missile Crisis took the world to the brink of nuclear war.

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Havana, Fortaleza de la Cabana

Revolutionary Ché Guevera seized the prison at this 18th-century Spanish fort during the 1959 coup. Decades later, human rights organizations reported Castro's torture and execution of political prisoners there.

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Mariel

In April 1980, asylum-seeking Cubans created a crisis that led to a massive boatlift to Florida. Castro branded the refugees escoria -- "trash" -- and opened the port of Mariel to over 125,000 Cubans wishing to leave.

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Old Havana

American tourists first flocked to tropical Cuba in the 1920s, dodging Prohibition. In Old Havana, rum drinks flowed at watering holes like La Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio.

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Havana, Plaza de la Revolucion

Fidel Castro delivered many speeches in Havana's largest open square. The Ministry of Interior building, adorned with a giant mural of Ché Guevara, faces the square.

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Varadero

American chemical magnate Irénée du Pont built a luxurious vacation home, Xanadu, in this area. Varadero became popular with tycoons and gangsters alike, and is still a prime international resort.

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Cienfuegos

French emigrants from Louisiana established this scenic coastal city on a beautiful bay in 1819. It is known for its historic architecture.

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Matanzas

In 1874, rival Cuban teams played the first recorded baseball game in Cuba at Matanzas. Havana crushed Matanzas, 51-9.

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Florida, Key West

The 90-mile distance between Key West and Cuba is less than the 150 miles separating Miami and Key West. Nineteenth-century Cuban immigrants developed a cigar industry in Key West.

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Florida, Miami

Cuban Americans built Miami's "Little Havana" in the years of exile following Castro's 1959 revolution. Calle Ocho, Little Havana's main street, hosts a Cuban festival every March.

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Pinar del Rio region

Many of Cuba's world-famous cigars come from the tobacco plantations and cigar factories of Pinar del Rio.

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Miami/Havana route, Pan American Airways

Juan Trippe pioneered passenger flights between Florida and Havana in 1928. Prohibition-era ads enticed, "Fly to Havana... bathe in Bacardi rum two hours from now."

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Santiago de Cuba, Moncada Barracks

Fidel Castro targeted this army base on July 26, 1953 to strike a blow against the corrupt Batista regime. The failed assault led to brutal reprisals -- and Castro's emergence as a people's hero.

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Granma province, Playa de los Colorados

In November 1956, Fidel Castro and 81 revolutionaries returned to Cuba from Mexico in a 65-foot yacht, the Granma, landing on this swampy, crab-infested beach.

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Sierra Maestra

Fulgencio Batista's forces pushed Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries into the forbidding Sierra Maestra, Cuba's largest mountain range.

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Banes

After the Spanish-American War, American enterprises set up shop in Cuba. The United Fruit Company established a massive sugar cane processing plant on the Bay of Banes in 1901.

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Baracoa

Remote Baracoa, one of the first cities established on the island by 16th-century Spanish colonists, sits in the shadow of the Yunque de Baracoa mountain.

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Santiago de Cuba, San Juan Hill

Colonel Theodore Roosevelt led his Rough Riders to victory over Spanish forces at San Juan Hill in 1898, during the Spanish-American War.

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Guantanamo Bay

In 1903, the United States Navy leased 45 square miles of land and water for a military base at Guantanamo. The oldest overseas American base, it is the only one in a Communist country.

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Oriente region

In the early 20th century, distinctive folk music emerged from the eastern parts of Cuba. Musicians from this area, including Compay Segundo and Ibrahim Ferrer, reached new audiences in the 1990s.

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Camaguey region

Cubans raise beef and milk cattle in the flat, grassy plains of Camaguey.

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Havana, University of Havana Santiago de Cuba, Moncada Barracks Isla de Juventud, Presidio Modelo Granma province, Playa de los Colorados Sierra Maestra Sierra del Escambray Playa Giron, Bay of Pigs San Cristobal Havana, Fortaleza de la Cabana Mariel Banes Old Havana Havana, Plaza de la Revolucion Varadero Baracoa Cienfuegos Santiago de Cuba, San Juan Hill Matanzas Florida, Key West Florida, Miami Guantanamo Bay Oriente region Camaguey region Pinar del Rio region Miami/Havana route, Pan American Airways
Fidel Castro American Experience PBS