If a city has a soul, that city would be Santiago de Cuba. As the second’s largest municipality in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba has its fill of revered heroes, vivacious musical traditions and beautiful plazas. Its proximity to other tropical islands such as Jamaica filled the vibrant city’s music, art and architecture with a spirit that is distinctly Caribbean in nature. The people of Santiago de Cuba are proud of their heritage, celebrating it in festivals such as the Carnival and Festival del Caribe to show their pride.
What delights guests are the impressive eclectic variety architectural influences on the local structures. El Morro castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, a military fortress built in 1638. Parque Céspedes throbs with the very essence of Santiago de Cuba with its share of colonial casas. Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad Del Cobre is undoubtedly Cuba’s most sacred pilgrimage site.
Located on the east side of Santiago, UNESCO recognized site, is Baconao Biosphere Reserve, a coffee plantation. On the west is Sierra Maestra mountains, the highest point in the area. An undersea excursion presents a view of shipwrecks while a drive along the mountain-lined shores makes for a perfect, stunning drive.
What to Do
Whatever you do, do not miss going to the Casa de las Tradiciones located in the French quarter. For an evening of fine Cuban music, the Tivoli is the place to be. Most times, top Cuban musicians troop to the Tivoli to perform. Near the Tivoli is Casa de la Trova, a beautiful house dedicated to Jose “Pepe” Sanchez, a well-known Cuban trovador.