Castillo de San Pedro del Morro (Morro Castle), Santiago de Cuba - Stein Travel
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Castillo de San Pedro del Morro (Morro Castle)

Santiago's most impressive structure is poised ominously atop the cliffs at the narrow entrance to Santiago Bay, about nine miles (14km) south of Santiago. This enormous piece of military architecture, a maze of stairways and dungeons, was begun in 1640. The Morro was rebuilt in 1664 after the English pirate, Henry Morgan, reduced it to rubble. The castle now houses the Museum of Piracy, featuring excellent displays on piracy, colonialism, and slavery. There are old blunderbusses, muskets, cutlasses and Toldeo blades in glass cases. A UNESCO World Heritage site, and a fascinating place to visit, visitors to Santiago are encouraged not to pass this sight up.

Information & Facts

Address

Six miles (10 km) south-west of the city centre, near the bay

Admission

CUC$3; extra for cameras

Language

The official language is Spanish, but English is spoken in the main tourist spots.

Money

The official currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP), divided into 100 centavos, but the 'tourist' currency is the Peso Convertible (CUC), which replaces the US Dollar as currency in tourist related establishments like hotels, restaurants and so called 'dollar shops'. US Dollars are no longer accepted as payment, and a 10% commission or more is charged to exchange them, therefore the best currency to bring along is Euros, the British Pound or Canadian Dollars. The CUC is almost equal in value to the US Dollar. Some places only accept Cuban pesos and others only Pesos Convertible (usually tourist related establishments). Money should only be changed at official exchange bureaux or banks to avoid scams confusing the two currencies. Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted only in major cities and hotels as long as they haven't been issued by a US bank; Diners Club has limited acceptance, and American Express is not accepted anywhere on the island. Travellers cheques are less readily accepted than credit cards, but all major currencies are acceptable, except for US bank issued cheques. No US-issued credit or debit cards will work in ATMs, but those holding other cards issued in other countries should be able to get pesos at most major tourist destinations. Euro or Sterling travellers cheques are accepted at Cuban banks and Bureaux de Change.

Opening Times

Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 4pm

Time

Local time is GMT -5 (GMT-4 from the second Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

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