Autopista: Road To Nowhere

By BobbyRica | January 4, 2012

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If you’re one to explore Cuba by way of a car (or better yet, a motorcycle), there’s no better place to have a road trip than seeing Autopista. This is Cuba’s arterial eight lane freeway. Autopista is where one finds all sorts of cattle, onion sellers, vintage Buicks, vultures and an occasional hitchhiker. One also can find an odd sight on the road: steam trains that were made to ply a supposed route that stretched from Pinar del Rio in the west to Guantanamo in the east.

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Though the road was later discontinued, the path stops after 650 km at Jatibonico in Sancti Spiritus Province. But traveler beware, it’s not a smooth ride. But if you’re used to toughing it out in rough terrain, the Autopista might be your cup of tea.

The construction of Cuba’s ambitious national highway was largely bankrolled by Soviet money during the Eighties. But once the fall of communism in Easter Europe
left the country in shambles. The Soviet money had dried up and stopped coming. Plans to finish Autopista Nacional fell to the wayside and was soon forgotten.

One can see how abrupt the construction had stopped when one looks at the condition of the road. Lane markings were left unpainted. Half-finished bridges dangle are crumbling with age above the highway. Roads that veer off main traffic lead to sugarcane fields.

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