Fortaleza del Jaguar & Playa Rancho Luna – Cienfuegos, Cuba
We took a taxi from Cienfuegos to Rancho Luna beach (18km) then a small “row boat with an outboard engine” over to the Fort of Jaguar, a Spanish Fort built to keep out the British Armada and the pirates (or even the British Pirates).
The huge bay of Cienfuegos has a very small entrance so the Spanish built the castle to fire cannons at any unauthorised ship trying to get in, the “enemy” were sitting ducks so they stopped trying immediately, it didn’t take them long to find an alternative way into the bay via a series of small rivers so their pirating went undetected for a while, when the Spanish realised they were still being robbed from right under their noses they blocked the river mouths with huge wooden stakes.
We asked if they had a guide to show us around, they seemed surprised anyone would want a guided tour but a few minutes later Lenier turned up, what a lucky break ! Lenier, a young history buff, was a great guide for a “kid friendly” tour of this Spanish Fort,
ZZ & Lenier picked up cannon balls to test their weight, climbed down the well to shout “Forca Barca” into the echo and even raised the drawbridge with the rope pulley system – a really hands-on visit !
We were the only ones in the whole fort !
Cost: Return Taxi from Cienfuegos $25 USD/CUC (Our taxi driver was an old cuban in an ancient Lada, he drove us around all afternoon and even tagged along on the boat and up to the Fort).
$1 USD/CUC each entrance fee, $10 USD/CUC for Lenier the tour guide.