Between beaches, mountains, monuments, hikes, Santiago de Cuba will have something to delight you for days. Here is a selection of the most beautiful activities
- Santiago de Cuba : Complete Travel Guide
- Best Luxury Hotels in Santiago de Cuba : Full List
- Best Casas Particulares in Santiago de Cuba
- 28 Best things to do in Santiago de Cuba
- History of Santiago de Cuba
- Excursion and Tours in Santiago de Cuba
- How to Get Around in Santiago de Cuba
- How to get to Santiago de Cuba
- Santiago de Cuba Nightlife: Best Bars, Salsa Live Music
- Santiago de Cuba Events : Best Carnivals & Festivals
Basilica El Cobre
To discover the famous Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Cobre, about 20 km west of Santiago de Cuba! A multitude of pilgrims rush there every year to pay homage to the “Cachita”, the Virgin of Charity.
After a drive through the countryside west of Santiago, you will see the red Tile tower of the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre- dedicated to Cuba’s patron saint in 1926- before the copper mining town of El Cobre in which it is located.
A taxi is the fastest way out of here.
Most of the excursions in the region include a visit to the basilica…
- Tel : 22 34 61 18
- Address: Carretera Central, El Cobre | 20 km (12 miles) west of Santiago de Cuba
- Opening Hours: Daily 6:30 am – 6 pm.
- Taxi: about 50 Cuc the round trip
Read More : History of Basilica del Cobre
The Gran Piedra
Weighing more than 75,000 tons, and located 1,234 meters above sea level, the Gran Piedra is located northeast of the city of Santiago de Cuba.
Every bend in the road reveals a new view of the mountains and the sea,
On a clear night, you can even see the lights of Jamaica…
La Gran Piedra is an ideal place for climbing. The ascent of the steps of the Gran Piedra is not free (2 Cuc).
Lodging at La Gran Piedra
Most people come for the day, but you can stay at the Villa Gran Piedra, an “eco-lodge” with comfortable rustic cabins along the mountain ridge, and stunning views.Close to the Gran Piedra you should not miss the Jardín Ave de Paraíso (Garden of Birds of Paradise; daily from 8am to 5pm).
Castillo del Morro
To the south of the city, the Spanish fortress of Castillo del Morro rises majestically above the bay of Santiago, offering a breathtaking view of the bay and the city. Built to keep the pirates at bay, the Morro now houses the Museo de la Piratería.
Signage is in Spanish only, but English-speaking guides can guide you for a voluntary tip.You can enjoy an excellent lunch in the restaurant or simply buy snacks and drinks (and souvenirs, of course) in the stands outside.
There is little shade: sunscreen and a hat on board are the musts. Consider an early morning or late afternoon visit.
A cannon shooting ceremony is held every day at sunset.
Learn More : Castillo del Moro
How to get to Castillo del Morro ?
A taxi from Parque Céspedes costs around 25 Cuc for the round trip, with a waiting time of
It is best to get there by taxi, unless you have a rental car.
The Ruta Turística runs along the bank of the Bahía de Santiago from the city, passing through the Punta Gorda marina and the port of Ciudadmar, near the fortress, from where the ferries to Cayo Granma and La Socapa in the estuary depart.
- Address: Carretera del Morro, Km 7.5
- Tel: 22 69 15 69
- Price: 5 Cuc
- Hours: Every day from 10am to 8pm
Located 75 kilometers from Cuba, the town of Chivirico has little interest in itself, but the road from Santiago de Cuba is worth the detour.
Hiking trails (for experts only; beginners refrain!) start from Chivirico and lead to the discovery of the Sierra Maestra.
In the vicinity of Chivirico, there are also a few beaches where you can take a refreshing dip.
Pico Turquino National Park
The park owes its name to Pico Turquino, the highest peak in Cuba (1974 meters).
Pico Turquino National Park is unanimously recognized as one of the most beautiful in Cuba.
Numerous hikes of varying duration and difficulty crisscross the park to the summit, located 130 km west of Santiago de Cuba.
The most adventurous will choose the long hike of 2-3 days (starting from Santo Domingo or Alto del Naranjo in Granma Province).
Those who are in a hurry will be satisfied with a 4 hour / 6 km hike (Province of Santiago de Cuba).
As far as prices are concerned, count 15 to 48 CUC per person depending on the hike you choose.
To prepare your hike, you can get information from the local agency Ecotur in Santiago de Cuba.
Be aware that in the Cuban natural parks, every hiker must be accompanied by a guide.
Baconao National Park
Baconao National Park is an unusual place to say the least! Classified as a biosphere reserve by Unesco, the 80,000 hectare park has, among other points of interest, a car museum, life-size reproductions of dinosaurs and an aquarium! Heteroclite, you may ask? Yes, without any doubt!
Cayo Granma is a charming fishermen island, to visit absolutely if you spend several days in Santiago.
As there are no cars or hotels on the island, the atmosphere is quiet, like in the good old days.It has a beautiful beach, a small park where locals gather to play dominoes, a school, a few shops and a good seafood restaurant.
You can walk up to the small, whitewashed Iglesia de San Rafael, at the highest point of the key, or walk around the island in 15 minutes.Many residents offer rooms, and the island is a pleasant and relaxing place to spend a night.
How to get to Cayo GranMa?
There are 3 docks for Cayo GranMa: Malecon de Santiago, CiudadMar or Punta Gorda.
The ferries leave about every hour and a half during the day and follow an itinerary with small stops on the shores of the bay
- Malecón de Santiago: Departure every day at 1pm for 1 Cuc.
- Ciudad Mar: The ferry to Cayo Granma leaves from the Ciudadmar pier, 1.6 km from the small beach at the foot of El Morro.
- Punta Gorda:, Located below the Fort del Morro. 5 Cuc by taxi from the centre
Eating at Cayo GranMa
There is a unique restaurant that offers a magnificent view of the Bay.
Speciality: Fish and seafood. Speciality of the house: Filet du Cayo (Fish fillet with shrimps and cheese).
- Possibility to reserve for dinner, only by reservation.
- Tel : 22 69 71 09 | 22 65 27 55 ext. 215 | 22 65 16 03
- Service: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The island was once called Cayo Smith, after the rich English slave merchant who owned it, but the name was changed after the Revolution.Today, Cayo Granma has about 750 inhabitants, some of whom still fish and build boats for a living, although most of them travel by ferry to Santiago to work in factories or offices.
Parque Histórico Abel Santamaría
The Parque Histórico Abel Santamaría is a very busy place, where plants struggle to survive, boys play baseball and groups of elderly people take exercise classes.
The impressive monument in the park is dedicated to Abel Santamaría, Fidel Castro’s second-in-command during the uprising and attack on the Moncada barracks in 1953.
The rebels were captured and tortured, and most were executed.
It was Santamaría’s responsibility to create a diversionary fire at the hospital, which he continued to do, unaware that the main assault had failed, until he was surrounded.
Batista’s men gouged out Santamaría’s eyes and presented them to her sister, Haydée, a revolutionary comrade, to make her speak, but she remained silent.
Ophthalmological hospitals in Cuba now bear the name Abel Santamaría.
Beaches of Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is certainly not known for its beaches, but you will find nice places to swim near the city.
These beaches are very nice to enjoy the Cuban atmosphere. The idea is to arrive early to reserve a beach umbrella, and the beach team will be very attentive to your needs. They will offer you all kinds of services, drinks, massages. You will not be bored for a second. Possibility of eating very good lobster there
The most famous are Cazonal beach and Siboney beach in the Baconao National Park. Otherwise, the beaches along the Chivirico road are known to be the most pleasant in the area.
To go there, negotiate a cab from Santiago
The Carnival of Santiago de Cuba
It is the most famous carnival of the island, if not of the Caribbean! The Carnival of Santiago de Cuba is an unavoidable event of the year and the Santiagueros prepare it months in advance.
During the festivities, costumed processions parade through the streets of the city to the rhythm of the conga.
Now Your Turn
Now I would like to know, do you have any question ?
Or maybe do you have some information to add ?
Either way, let me know in the comments below