Santiago de Cuba is reached in -twelve hours by steamer from Kingston, Jamaica, and is the eastern terminus of the railroad to Havana, which city is reached in twenty- five hours. The harbor of Santiago is one of the finest in the world, the entrance being only six hundred yards wide, thus effectively protecting the Spanish Admiral Cervera's fleet from the blockading Americans. Across the entrance Lieutenant Hobson sunk the "Merrimac," but Cervera, refusing to be shut in, came out to fight, and lost every ship.
A short distance from Santiago is San Juan Hill, the scene of the victory over the Spaniards in which Colonel Roosevelt's rough-riders took a prominent part. The city of Santiago is the oldest in the West Indies, having been founded by Velasquez in 1514, and has at present a population of 70,000. The railroad to Havana, through the states of Santiago, Puerto Principe and Santa Clara, a distance of about 540 miles, has only recently been constructed, and opens up comparatively new country, passing through picturesque and fertile agricultural regions and by millions of acres of tropical forests of mahogany, cedar, lignum-vitae and ebony trees. The open spaces are covered with parana and guinea grasses, standing from six to twelve feet high; and palm trees of majestic aspect and variety abound everywhere. Most of this magnificent country has been opened up since the Spanish-American war.
Matanzas is twenty-two hours by rail from Santiago on the line to Havana, and is a city of about 50,000 inhabitants. In the immediate neighborhood is the famous Yumuri Valley, one of the most beautiful in the world. There are also wonderful caves at Bellamar.
Havana, three hours by rail from Matanzas, is the Paris of the West Indies, and is a delightful place to visit, with its magnificent Prado and Malecon Promenade, old Morro Castle and the adjoining Cabanas For- tress, its Cathedral, where the remains of Columbus reposed for many years, its churches, clubs and outdoor life.
The harbor will always be of special interest as the scene of the sinking of the battleship "Maine," which precipitated the Spanish-American war. The traveler's visit here terminates his tour of the West Indies, and he can return to the States by the way of Florida or by stea'mer to New York; or direct to Europe. Should he, however, wish to prolong his stay in the tropics, he can return by rail to Santiago and. take the Ward Line to Nassau, New Providence.
Nassau, New Providence, Bahama Islands, is four days' sail from Santiago, about the same distance from New York, and sixteen hours from Miami, Fla. Although it is a British possession, it is the most fashionable American resort of the West Indies, for there are sumptuous hotels, splendid drives, sea bathing, shooting, fishing and outdoor sports of all kinds, besides a beautiful climate, with abundant sunshine. The natural attractions are the sea gardens, — beautiful islets of coral formation, — the highly phosphorescent Waterloo Lake, called by the natives the " lake of fire," and the caves. Altogether, Nassau is one of the most agreeable places on the face of the earth for a short or a long sojourn.