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The 2021 Santiago De Cuba Travel Guides

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Denigrated by many, Santiago de Cuba is often presented as a dangerous and licentious city.
These negative echoes in mind, it is a little bit backwards that we headed to the capital of the Oriente.

What a surprise to discover a colonial city full of charm! Don’t listen to the bad tongues.
We tell you everything about Santiago de Cuba!

Is Santiago de Cuba Worth Visiting ?

Bordered by the sea and the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, as soon as you set foot in Santiago de Cuba, you will notice that you arrive in a city that has its own rhythm, imbued with a natural and human warmth that distinguishes it from other places in the country.

It is the most Caribbean of Cuban cities, not only because of its geographical location but also because of its mixed origins, a mixture of Spanish, African and French, With Haitian, Jamaican, Guadeloupean and Martiniquan touches far more important than elsewhere on the island.

Coming to Santiago de Cuba is not just about coming to see the best musicians from the island, but probably from all over the world. Cradle of Cuban music, Afro-Cuban traditions remain strong and are reflected in the carnival as well as in the 100 daily concerts.

Walk in any street the musical notes emanate from everywhere.

You can feel here an air of Salvador de Bahia or New Orleans, one of those rare cities where an incredible magic reigns.

It is for these reasons that music and dance lovers often prefer Cuba’s second largest city to the capital…

So don’t let the Jineteros, the exhaust fumes from old Chevrolet cars or the heat get you down, and let the rhythm of the city carry you away. And Santiago de Cuba,… will certainly stir a revolution in you.

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Best time to go to Santiago de Cuba

July is the key month in the cultural calendar of Santiago de Cuba, where the city is caliente (warm) in more ways than one and the streets are full of festivities.

The festivities begin with the vibrant Festival del Caribe and end with the famous Carnival, and rightly so.

The Festival Internacional de Trova, in March, offers another excellent musical event, when the city rediscovers its musical roots.

From March to June, the city is renowned for its clear waters, which provide excellent conditions for wreck diving off the south coast.

Book well in advance during these peak periods.

During the spring and fall off-season, prices are as much as 25% lower in some areas, but hotels may offer fewer services (some may even close completely).

Best Beaches in Santiago de Cuba

  • Guaycabon
  • Sierra Mar

Swimming Pool Day in the Americas

Hotel las Amercias is one of the most renowned hotels in Santiago, and has a large swimming pool with a bar and good internet connection.

Ideal if you want to get away from the urban madness.

The 10 Cuc entrance gives you a 10 Cuc ticket to spend at the restaurant or bar.

Santiago de Cuba on Social Networks

Here are the best social networks to find out more about Santiago de

  • Cuba news
  • Facebook
  • El Chago Santiago
  • Instagram
  • On the Web

Denigrated by many, Santiago de Cuba is often presented as a dangerous and licentious city.
These negative echoes in mind, it is a little bit backwards that we headed to the capital of the Oriente.

What a surprise to discover a colonial city full of charm! Don’t listen to the bad tongues.
We tell you everything about Santiago de Cuba!

Santiago de Cuba in a few words

Located in Oriente, in the east of the island, Santiago de Cuba is the 2nd city of the country and the capital of the province of the same name.
It is in 1514 that the conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founded Santiago de Cuba, after having established a few years earlier the cities of Baracoa and Trinidad.

Santiago was quickly promoted to the rank of capital of the island but Havana took over a few decades later.

Deprived of its status of capital, Santiago nevertheless quickly became one of the most dynamic cities of the Caribbean.

As it is nestled in a bay, its strategic position makes it a first-class port for trade and smuggling.

Santiago de Cuba thus attracts migrants from all over the world.
It was mainly in the Santiago region that the French colonists fleeing Haiti took refuge at the beginning of the 19th century.
They brought with them the secrets of the coffee culture, which today has become an integral part of the Cuban heritage.
Thus, Santiago de Cuba has been a multicultural city since its origin.
It is to this mixture of cultures that the city owes its vibrant and unique identity.

Exuberant, Santiago is without a doubt!

And rebellious too! It is indeed from Santiago de Cuba that the famous independence fighter Antonio Maceo was born.
The city is also a symbol of the Castro Revolution.

It is there that Fidel and his companions launched the first offensive against Batista’s regime with the attack of the Moncada barracks on July 26, 1953.

Although the attack was a failure, it marked the beginning of the Revolution and gave its name to the revolutionary movement led by Castro: the M26.

Santiago de Cuba is also the birthplace of famous revolutionaries, including Frank Pais, who became the legendary martyr of the Revolution.

Getting to Santiago de Cuba

If the vast majority of tourists prefer to land in Havana, Varadero or Cayo Coco, you should know that there are also flights to Santiago de Cuba.

This is an interesting option:

  • if you only want to visit the eastern part of country (Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa…).
  • to visit Cuba from east to west, and thus explore the whole country by landing at Santiago de Cuba and leaving from Havana (or vice-versa).

The companies Air Caraïbes and Cubana offer flights to Santiago de Cuba from Paris Orly.

To book your flights and find THE good deal, we highly recommend the following two comparators: -eBookers -Skyscanner

Getting to Santiago de Cuba from Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is located in the Oriente, in the southeast of the island.

Most visitors unfortunately limit themselves to the west of the island and do not go as far as the second largest city of the country.

However, Santiago is relatively easy to reach from the rest of Cuba.

By plane

From Havana, it takes about 2 hours to reach the capital of Oriente.
Flights are also available from some of the country’s other major cities, including Cayo Coco.

If you would like more information about Santiago de Cuba airport, please take a look at our detailed article on Santiago de Cuba airport.

You can also book your transfer from the airport to the city center in advance.
For more information, click here.

By bus

Many Viazul buses also connect Santiago de Cuba to the main cities of the country:

Baracoa, Bayamo, Camagüey, Guantánamo, Havana, Holguín, Sancti Spíritus, Santa Clara, Trinidad or Varadero.

The journeys can however be very long…

By collective cab

You can also try to book a collective cab at your casa particular.

Be warned, however, that there are far fewer tourists in the east of the country, and therefore far fewer collective cabs available to make this trip.

On the other hand, it is easier to find bus places than in the west.

Our good addresses in Santiago de Cuba

Accommodations in Santiago de Cuba

If you don’t have a place to stay in Santiago de Cuba, we highly recommend Casa Dulce Domenech (23 CUC per night, breakfast at 4 CUC per person).

The rooms are very good and the terrace overlooking Santiago is charming! Not to mention that the owner is a very good cook.

For travelers with a higher budget, we also recommend the Hotel E San Basilio.

It is located in an old colonial house full of charm.

Inside, you can lounge in rocking chairs in the middle of green plants: it’s really Cuba as you imagine it!

Restaurant in Santiago de Cuba

If you dream of eating something else than the usual ropa vieja, the Rumba Café will make you happy! On the menu, international dishes: club sandwiches, spaghettis, milkshakes… A real pleasure after a few weeks in Cuba!

A vous de jouer

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

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