Travel Guide to Santiago de cuba – Best Tips and Advices
In a rush ? read this first
- 1 day in Santiago de Cuba : stroll in Cespedes Park, Enramada Street, have a Mojito at the Artex patio, visit the Tivoli neighborhood, enjoy a sunset on the roof of Casa Granda, and see a concert at La Trova in Calle Heredia.
- 2 days : Go to see a concert at the Casa de las Tradiciones, Ifigenia cemetery, stroll on the port Alameda, the Plaza de Marte, el Castillo del Moro…
- 3 days: del Moro, the Gran Piedra, the Virgen del Cobre, the Cartel de Moncada, the Revolution Square, Ferry to Cayo Granma, or the Casa del Caribe.
- 4 days : you are ready to marry a Cuban 😉
Helpful Links :
- Best things to do in Santiago de Cuba
- Best Hotels in Santiago de Cuba
- Pictures of Santiago de Cuba
Why Santiago de Cuba?
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.
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).
How to get to Santiago de Cuba
The fastest way to get to Santiago is by plane, but there are few international flights. The second best option is the Viazul bus or colectivo taxi.
Flights to Santiago de Cuba
The city’s Antonio Maceo Airport offers daily flights to and from Havana, as well as direct connections to Canada (Montreal and Toronto) and Europe (Paris and Rome).
Flights from the USA have been discontinued since the arrival of Trump.
Within the country, Cubana operates non-stop flights from Havana to Santiago de Cuba two or three times a day (about 100 Cuc one way, 1½ hours).
The Aeropuerto Internacional Antonio Maceo de Santiago is 8 km south of the city centre; a taxi ride to the city costs about 20 Cuc.
Havanatur operates an airport shuttle service, but reservations must be made in advance.
Bus 213 also goes to the airport from the same stop, but first visit Punta Gorda. Both buses stop just past the western end of the airport parking lot, to the left of the entrances.
Bus Havana – Santiago
Tourist buses such as Transtur can be booked at major hotels, Havanatur offices or other travel agencies.
Víazul has modern, air-conditioned buses that run from Santiago to Havana; trips cost 51 Cuc per person in each direction. Payment is accepted in cash and with major credit cards.
- Tel: 22 62 84 84
- Website: www.viazul.cu
Prices and timetables of Departure Viazul from Santiago
- Baracoa 15 4¾ 1h50, 8h
- Havana 51 13-14½ 12:30, 6:30, 4pm
- Trinidad 33 11½ 7:30 pm
- Varadero 49 15 20h
Rumbos. | Parque Céspedes | Santiago | 22 62 59 69.
The national bus station is 3 km northeast of the city center. Buses to Víazul leave from the same station.
In general, city buses, reserved for Cubans, are not recommended. They are crowded, relatively slow, and tickets are always in high demand.
The main roads connecting Santiago are well maintained, and once you leave the cities, traffic is light.
For a short trip, it is better to take a taxi, or even better, an old American chevrolet.
In high season there is often a lack of rental cars.
The airport offices usually have better availability than those in the city.
The signage is bad and it is easy to make mistakes. Do not hesitate to ask for directions: Cubans will be happy to help you.
Gas stations in the state of Servi-Cupet line the main roads.
Many are open 24 hours and sell food and beverages. Stations are also plentiful in the cities.
Car Rental Agencies
- Tel : 22 68 71 60
- Hotel las Américas, Equina Avs de las Américas & General Cebreco
- Schedule : 08h – 22h
- Also rents mopeds for 25 Cuc per day.
- Address: Parque Céspedes, Centro Histórico | Santiago
- Tel: 22 64 11 21
Distance Havana – Santiago: 860 km (534 miles).
Recommended route: Havana – Bayamo (127 km) then Bayamo – Holguín (140 km),
Around Santiago: The astonishing 200 km road that stretches west of Santiago de Cuba along the coast is wedged between the Sierra Maestra and the Caribbean Sea.
Santiago – Baracoa – 250 km : A beautiful road, called the Farola, runs along the coast before turning north through winding mountain roads. Count 5 hours plus your breaks.
Coming by taxi colectivo
Modern and well-maintained tourist taxis, which charge in CUC, gather in front of hotels, transport centres and major tourist sites.
Private taxis with yellow plates are much cheaper, and you can rent them for a day’s city driving for about 20 CUC.
Travel by train
A night train runs between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, once a day in both directions, with stops in Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila and Santa Clara in central Cuba.
Check departure times in advance.
Another, slower motorized train (through the island) runs to Havana when a Tren Francés is not running, stopping at Las Tunas, Ciego de Ávila, Guayos and Matanzas.
The modern French-style train station is located near the rum distillery on the port, six blocks west of Céspedes Park.
Payment is only accepted in cash.
It is best to buy your ticket as far in advance as possible.
- Address: Estación de Ferrocarriles – Av Jesús Menéndez & Martí
- Tel: 22 62 28 36
- Price Havana – Santiago: 50 Cuc aprox
Travelling by Truck colectivos
Intermittent passenger trucks leave from the Serrano Intercommunal Bus Station (Equina Av Jesús Menéndez & Sánchez Hechavarría; MN $ 5) near the train station to travel to Guantánamo and Bayamo throughout the day.
Prices are a few pesos and the best time to board is early in the morning. For these destinations, don’t bother with the ticket office.
just find the truck parked in front going in your direction. Trucks for Caletón Blanco and Chivirico also leave from here.
The intercity bus station (Terminal Cuatro, Equina Av de los Libertadores & Calle 4; MN$1), 2 km northeast of Parque Céspedes, offers two buses a day to El Cobre.
Two buses per day also leave from here to Baconao.
Getting around Santiago
In Santiago everything is close: you can walk almost everywhere. However the city is hilly, so get ready to pour a few drops of sweat.
And like everywhere in Cuba, there are taxis that will take you wherever you want.
Taxis are waiting on Céspedes Park near the cathedral.
Always set the price before getting into a taxi.
At the airport, costs vary between 8-30 Cuc, depending on the duration and condition of the car.
There is also a Transtur taxi station (tel: 22 68 71 60) in front of Meliá Santiago de Cuba.
Proposed destinations: Castillo del Moro, Cementeria Santa Efigenia, Plaza de la Revolucion, Cuartel Moncada, Fábrica de Ron Bacardi, La Gran Piedra, Iglesia Caridad del Cobre, Loma de San Juan, Playas y otros
Here are some useful numbers:
- Frank Alexis Cabrera Tel : 52 6874 82 | 22 65 73 83
- Orlando 52 51 45 73
- Pablo 52 07 30 97
- Roberto Carlos 53630703 Whatsapp (o Argelio 52 98 22 00 )
Useful city buses are :
- Bus 212 to the airport and Ciudamar (1 MN$),
- Bus 213 to Punta Gorda (1 MN$) (these two buses leave from Av de los
- Libertadores, in front of the Hospital de Maternidad, and go south to Felix Peña in the casco histórico),
- Bus 214, 401 and 407 (1 MN$) to Siboney (near Av de los Libertadores n° 425).
- Bus 5 for El Caney stops at the esquina northwest of Plaza de Marte and at General Cebreco and Calle 3 in Vista Alegre.
These buses run every hour; more frequent trucks serve the same routes.
Northbound trucks leave from Av de las Américas, near Calle M.
In trucks and buses, you should be careful of pickpockets and carry your backpack in front of them.
It’s the newest fashionable transport.
Prices in national currency rarely cost more than 5 Cuban pesos MN
In principle they are forbidden to tourists.
The famous bicitaxis, or bike taxis, are a relaxing way to see the sights.
Always set the price before boarding a taxi.
Some will charge 5 Cuc per hour.
For Cubans a short trip often costs 5 pesos in national currency.
You can also rent a bike
Where to drink a coffee in Santiago de Cuba?
It’s the most authentic coffee in Santiago, to put on your bucket list.
A little dark atmosphere, the santiagueros love to spend there to relax and chat at the end of the service.
We relearn that we can talk to each other without hiding behind our phone screen.
- Adress : Aguilera esq Porfirio Valente, Plaza Dolores
- Service : 7am – 9pm
Plaza de Armas Cafeteria
- Address: Aguilera Esquina San Pedro
- Tel: 22 62 22 29
Velazquez’s balcony cafeteria
The Café offers a magnificent view of the city. It has little shade, prefer the late afternoon.
- Address: Corona c/o San Basilio and Heredia
Jardín de los Enramadas
You want to try a good ice cream in Santiago de Cuba ? Look no further, that’s where you have to go.
Ice cream is served with marshmallows and cookies.
Located down Enramada street, 2 blocks from the Malecón,
- Tel : 22 65 22 05
- Address: Equina José A Saco & Gallo
- Price: Ice 1 – 2 Cuc
- Service: 9:45 a.m. – 11:45 p.m.
Where to have a Drink in Santiago de Cuba ?
Casa Granda Roof Garden Bar
The roof terrace of Casa Granda will offer you one of the most beautiful sunsets in Cuba.
The view of the Parque Céspedes and the cathedral at nightfall is breathtaking.
You have to pay the price of 3 Cuc to be able to access the terrace.
- Address: Heredia N° 201
- Price: 3 Cuc
- Hours: 11h – 01h
Cervecería Puerto del Rey
Popular place for Cubans, La Cervecería Puerto del Rey is a brewery located on the malecon of Santiago.
They offer excellent beers in national currency, as well as very good quality meals.
Ideal if you go down to take a walk on the Malecón.
- Tel: 22 68 60 48
- Address: Paseo Alameda & Aguilera
- Hours: 12h – 00h00
Bar Sindo Garay
Both a museum of one of Cuba’s most famous trova musicians (Sindo Garay, best known for his composition Perla marina) and a bar, it is a chic, usually crowded, two-level place that serves large cocktails on pedestrian Tamayo Fleites.
- Tel: 22 65 15 31
- Address: Esquina Tamayo Fleites & General Lacret
- Hours: 11am – 11pm
A small café nestled in a busy Saco (Enramadas), with air-conditioning that enriches the meals, interesting coffee paraphernalia (plantation) and enough Italian customers to keep the staff of the coffee maker on the lookout.
- Tel: 22 62 26 60
- Address: José A Saco, between Hartmann & Pío Rosado
The Paseo Alameda, with its lively ranchón-style bar suspended above the water and its breathtaking view of the bay, is a place where the breeze allows you to escape the torrid heat of Santiago.
Food is not a highlight – come here for drinks and views.
- Address: Paseo Alameda
- Hours: 12h – 23h
Casa del Daiquiri
La casa del Daiquiri has taken the place of the old Museo del Ron.
Although it is not very crowded, the place is beautiful with a nice lounge and a beautiful courtyard.
Small groups often play there in the evenings.
- Address: Calle Bartolomé Masó (San Basilio)
- Tel: 26 62 37 37
Best Beaches in Santiago de Cuba
- 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.
Where to see music in Santiago de Cuba?
In Santiago, “the choice is difficult” would be an understatement. To find out what’s going on, check out the biweekly Cartelera Cultural. The reception at the Casa Granda Hotel usually has copies.
Casa de la Trova
One of Santiago de Cuba’s Absolute musts is the Casa de la Trova.
For Cuban musicians it is an honour to be invited to play here, where all the greatest musicians of Cuba have performed, such as the musicians of Buena Vista Social Club.
Upstairs is a large hall known as the Salón de Grandes Personas.
Daytime concerts are organized downstairs for a minimal cost.
Travel agencies offer evening packages that include transportation, drinks and a CD, but it is cheaper to come on your own.
Evening concerts start at 10pm, but there are often daytime festivities in the downstairs living room.
Please note that you are not allowed to record the music.
- Address: Heredia 208 entre . San Pedro y San Felix 208
- Tel : 22 62 39 43 | 22 65 26 89
- Price : 1 Cuc – 2 Cuc during the day | 5 Cuc in the evening
- Schedules: 11:00 am – 1:00 am.
La Casa is dedicated to the Cuban Trovador pioneer, José “Pepe” Sánchez (1856-1928) and opened his first trova (traditional poetic song) house in Cuba in March 1968.
The former Beatle Paul McCartney once visited; his autographed photo hangs on the wall
Bar la Claqueta
If you are passionate about Salsa Casino, this is a must.
You will find some of the best dancers in the city and even in the country.
There is live music here in the evenings and on weekends.
- Address: Calle Santo Tomás between Heredia y San Basilio.
- Telephone: 22 65 22 43
- Schedule: 9:00 pm to 1:00 am Monday to Sunday
Casa de las Tradiciones
Smaller and more intimate than the Casa de la Trova, is the Casa de las Tradiciones, in a large colonial house with a central courtyard.
An ideal place to come in the evening for an authentic trova, concerts are organized there every evening.
They also have a restaurant for lunch.
- Address: Rabí 154 entre José de Diego y García
- Tel: 22 65 38 92
- Timetable : 21h00 23h30
Casa del Queso
The Artex Patio
The patio of Artex is the first place you have to go if you want to see music in Santiago.
Excellent groups in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere every morning between 11h-13h and 17h-19h.
The program changes every day
If you want to take dance lessons, Leo gives dance classes in the late afternoon, on a voluntary basis.
They also have a restaurant service.
- Address: Heredia 304 enters. Carnicería y Calvario
- Tel: 22 65 48 14
Patio los Dos Abuelos
The Patio de los Abuelos was once one of the bastions of Live music in Santiago de Cuba.
More intimate than La Trova, there is always excellent live music throughout the week.
- Tel : 22 62 32 67 | 22 62 33 02
- Address: 5 Pérez Carbó Street, between l’Escario and Garzón Avenue.
- Price: 2 Cuc
- Hours: 21h-1h from Monday to Saturday
Casa del Caribe
- Address: 13th Street / 8th Street and Manduley Ave. Vista Alegre
- Phone : 22 64 86 09 | 22 64 48 46
- Schedule: 18h00-21h00
- Address: Carnicería 268 / Habana y Trinidad
- Telephone: 22 66 94 43
- Timetable: 21:00-12:00 Tuesday and Thursday
Hotel Casa Granda
At lunchtime, a music band plays in the bar-café under the porch of the Casa Granda Hotel.
Its rooftop bar occasionally offers live music shows and is also a great place to enjoy a drink.
- Address: Calle Heredia 201, Parque Céspedes
- Telephone: 22 65 30 21
Arts & Entertainment
the highly renowned Afro-Cuban Ballet Folklórico Cutumba is the first Cuban Ballet, founded in 1959 as a symbol of the cultural triumph of the Cuban revolution.
It is undoubtedly the most prestigious in the whole country, rivaling the national ballet.
When they are not on tour, it is possible to attend rehearsals.
They present a show most Saturday nights at the Las Americas Hotel.
Address: Calle Trocha in Santa Ursula Centro Histórico
- Tel: 22 65 51 73
- Price: 7 Cuc to attend the rehearsal
- Rehearsal times : 09h to 13h Tuesday to Friday
- Comercial Management: Leydis E. Aldana Salazar ( Calle L #101 e/3ra y Ave Cespedes Rpto Sueño) 54 53 99 65 | 22 66 39 61 | 22 66 31 01 | Email : [email protected]
- Office Gestor Ventas : Jorge Jorge Movil 53 14 74 05 | 22 62 02 14 | Email : [email protected] | [email protected] | [email protected]
Conjunto Folklórico de Oriente
The Folklorico de Oriente is a branch of the Folklorico Cutumba.
They perform a wide range of Afro-Cuban dance genres, from gagá and bembé to tumba francesa.
- Tel: 22 64 31 78
- Address: Teatro José María Heredia – Esquina Avenue de las Américas & de los Desfiles
Casa de la Cultura
The Casa de la Cultura is another symbol of the cultural triumph of the Cuban revolution. Free courses are offered to the Cuban people.
In the morning you may have the chance to attend the rehearsals of the folklorico Cazumbi, children’s shows or even santiagueros rappers.
Santiago’s huge modern theatre and congress centre was built during the city’s renovation in the early 1990s.
Rock and folk concerts are often held in the 2459-seat Sala Principal, while the 120-seat Café Cantante Niagara hosts more esoteric events.
The Conjunto Folklórico de Oriente is based here.
- Address: Av. de las Américas y Av. de los Desfiles
- Tel : 22 64 31 34 | 22 64 31 90
- Opening hours: Friday to Sunday at 9 pm.
The local office of the Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (Union ofCuban Writers and Artists) organizes poetry readings, artistic performances, conferences and literary discussions.
Inspired by its big brother in Havana, Santiago de Cuba’s cabaret offers a complete cabaret for an affordable price.
Hotels and travel agencies offer outings.
It is also possible to go there by taxi or rental car.
- Address: Circunvalación, Reparto Sueño
- Tel : 22 64 25 79
- Price: 30 Cuc / pers the transport (includes transport, entrance, and a drink).
- Timetable : From 10pm Wednesday to Sunday
Sala de Conciertos Dolores
Old church converted into a concert hall
The calendar of events is displayed externally.
- Address: Plaza Dolores – Aguilera & Mayía Rodríguez
- Tel : 22 62 46 23 | 22 65 23 56
Shows for children are presented at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in this theatre located near General Portuondo, opposite the Iglesia de Santo Tomás.
- Tel: 22 62 05 07
- Address: Félix Peña n° 313
This cinema, located next to the cathedral, is one of the few currently operating in Santiago de Cuba. Occasional films in English.
- Tel: 22 62 30 35
- Address: Félix Peña No. 654
Festivals and Events in Santiago de Cuba
Few cities can rival the variety and vivacity of Santiago de Cuba’s annual festivals.
Festival de la Trova
- Dates : March
Fiesta de San Juan
The summer season begins with the Fiesta de San Juan, celebrated with processions and conga dances by cultural associations called focos culturales.
- Dates: June 24th
Festival del Caribe
Festival of Caribbean culture held in July.
Together with the Fiesta del Fuego, it’s a warm-up for Carnival.
Santiago de Cuba’s Carnival
Synthesis of the identity of the Cuban population, it became the space that Africans found to express their religious faith, their customs and to add the dominant note of the drum.
This Carnival has its origins in the Festivals of Mamarrachos which took place at the beginning of the 17th century and which have evolved into the massive festival we know today and which takes place between the 21st and 27th of July.
If you are a photography enthusiast, this carnival is a great place to take beautiful pictures.
The Museo del Carnaval de Santiago offers a glimpse into the culture and history of the carnival.
Santiago’s cultural complexity makes the July carnival one of the largest and most authentic in the Caribbean, with a kaleidoscope of costumes, numerous food stalls and enough music and noise to summon the dead.
Unlike most Latin American carnivals, the annual feast of Santiago de Cuba has not developed around a Lenten celebration of deep religious significance.
Rather, it was an amalgam of several days of entertainment and diversion called mamarrachos, which fell around the time of the feasts of St. John on June 24th or St. Anne’s Day on July 26th (but had no other religious significance).
These festivities allowed the workers to stop after the sugarcane harvest period from January to May.
At one time they were even called “festivales de las clases bajas” (festivities of the lower classes).
The Spanish authorities tolerated these festivities as a means of distracting the poor from other, more serious forms of rebellion, and the carnival soon became synonymous with debauchery and scandal.
With a delicious touch of modern irony, Carnival now culminates in the Día de la Rebeldía Nacional (26 July), which honours Cuba’s most famous (though abortive) rebellion: the assault on the Moncada barracks.
Santiago de Cuba’s carnivals flourished at the end of the nineteenth century, although the people of the time only knew them as mamarrachos: a synonym for festivities where anything goes.
Horse races, large-scale bonfires, food fights, heavy drinking, cantos de pullas (mocking and satirical songs) and what the Spanish authorities considered to be overly sensual dances.
Nowadays, the carnival has become less intense. A little.
Don’t miss the comparas, satirical parades or even parades of ancient origin.
Neighborhood associations called Les comparsas compete to build the most colorful floats, create the most inspired costumes, and stage the processions.
More elaborate paseos are also presented, usually horse-drawn parades, sumptuous and similar to European-style carnival floats.
The men dress in colourful outfits and wear papier-mâché masks; the women wear bikinis and transparent scarves made of silk and feathers.
The Malecón, which has just been inaugurated, is the centre of the action of the parades.
Socialism is coming into play these days, with the Cuban revolution at the end of July, the holidays falling during the carnival. (The timing is no coincidence: Fidel Castro planned the attacks on theMoncada Barracks during Carnival, thinking that security would be lax.
He was wrong, but the event kick-started the Revolution, which would finally be successful six years later).
Think of the Santiago Carnival as a mixture of conga and with a touch of communism.
The city also has its own religious tendencies, with a significant number of inhabitants who continue to adhere to the Santeria faith, a combination of Spanish Catholic religious traditions and those of voodoo (or vodun) beliefs originating in West Africa.
Fiesta del Fuego
The literal carnival fire, this celebration in early July includes a ceremony where the devil is burned to the joy of the huge crowds on the Malecón.
Festival Internacional Matamoros Son
A tribute to one of the great musicians of Santiago de Cuba, Miguel Matamoros, begins at the end of October with dances, lectures, concerts and workshops. The main venues are the Casa de la Trova and the Teatro José María Heredia.
- Dates : October
Dance & Music Classes
The possibilities of courses abound in Santiago de Cuba, from architecture to music, official or not.
You can register in advance or take the train on your arrival.
Ballet Folklórico Cutumba
Santiago’s folklore groups are very open and can organize dance and percussion classes in groups or individually.
Start with the Cutumba, who often perform at the Hotel las Américas. The Conjunto Folklórico deOriente is also very useful.
- Adress : Teatro Galaxia, Equina Avs 24 de Febrero & Valeriano Hierrezuelo
Casa del Caribe
Portal of Santería and Folklórico, this cultural institution can organize conga, son and salsa dance classes for 8 cuc per hour.
Resident staff member Juan Eduardo Castillo can also organize percussion classes.
Real amateurs can inquire about in-depth courses on Afro-Cuban religions and culture. They are experts and very flexible.
- Tel: 22 64 22 85
- Address: Calle 13 No 154
Santiago and Cuba in general have allowed the best artists in the world from surrealist oil paintings to wood carvings.
The city’s painters are particularly gifted
If you buy a work of art, don’t forget to buy an 8 Cuc export permit from the artist.
Arte Universal. Exhibitions and works of art are for sale at Arte Universal.
Tel: 22 65 73 99
- Adress : Calle 1, between Calle M y Calle Terraza, Reparto Vista Alegre
- Hours: 9am – 7pm Monday to Saturday, 9am – 5pm Sunday
- Entrance: 1 Cuc.
Galería de Arte de Oriente
Probably the best gallery in Santiago de Cuba, the art is of high quality.
- Tel: 22 65 38 57
- Address: Général Lacret n° 656
- Opening hours: 9.30am – 6pm Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 12pm Saturday, 10am – 10pm Sunday
Casa del Caribe
This bookstore offers a good selection of books in Spanish with Cuban themes.
- Address: Calle 13, No. 154, esq. de Calle 5, Reparto Vista Alegre
- Tel: 22 64 22 85
Close to Parc Céspedes, this state-owned shop sells high quality paintings and a wide range of crafts.
- Address: Calle Bartolomé Masó y Calle Félix Peña
Fábrica de Tabacos César Escalante.
If cigars are your passion, this small factory uses the traditional method to roll some of the best in the region.
- Address: Av. Jesús Menéndez 703, esq. de Calle Bartolomé Masó (San Basilio)
- Tel : 22 62 23 66
- Opening hours: closed on Sundays.
La Escalera de Edy bookshop
A veritable museum of old and rare books stacked on the ceiling, plus vinyl records.
Trovadores dressed in sombreros often sit on the stairs and play music.
- Address: Heredia No. 265
- Hours: 10am – 10pm
Focuses on musical memories, with a respectable selection of CDs and cassettes.
- Tel: 22 65 48 14
- Address: Patio ARTex Heredia No 208
- Opening hours: 11am-7pm Tuesday to Sunday
On the south side of Parc Céspedes.
Decent selection of political titles in English; sells postcards and stamps.
- Tel: 22 68 71 47
- Address: Heredia, between General Lacret and de Félix Peña
Centro de Negocios Alameda
The latest project for the regeneration of the port consists in opening this
shopping centre in a colonial building : internet, a pharmacy, the immigration office and a Cuban office, plus shops.
- Address: Av Jesus Menéndez esquina José A Saco
- Hours: 08:30 – 16:30
Security in Santiago de Cuba
There is much less crime outside the capital, but in Santiago de Cuba you have to take the same precautions as in Havana.
Be careful in the Tivoli district, especially if you come home late at night.
Being Jineteros is a sport in Santiago de Cuba, or rather a mode of survival.
Santiago is one of the cities with the most Jineteros in Cuba.
It’s part of the local folklore, which makes people either love her or hate her.
Everyone will approach you with a different approach: cigars, girls, currency exchange, internet maps, books, excursions…
It can be very tiring after a few days to be seen only on a wallet on paste, but with a little humour it goes very well.
Also, if you go outside the perimeter of Cespedes Park to the Plaza Dolores and the adjacent streets, you can walk very quietly everywhere.
Traffic and Traffic
Always walk on the sidewalk. Cubans respect the signs, so do the same.
Beware of electric motorcycles !!! They are totally silent and you can’t hear them coming.
Always look behind you before crossing, even if you don’t hear anything.
There is wi-fi in most public squares, in the big hotels and in some private casas.
Buy wi-fi credit on scratch cards at Etecsa Telepunto centres,
There is usually a long queue, allow 1 hour to buy your refills.
Don’t buy your cards from street vendors, it’s a scam.
You can also change them in hotel lobbies such as Casa Granda or the Imperial Hotel.
If you plan to come back to Cuba several times, consider taking a phone line, at 30 Cuc le ship, it will avoid you to enter the long code at each connection.
- Tel: 22 62 47 84
- Adress : Esquina de la calle Heredia & Félix Peña (Small office in Plaza Céspedes)
Prices : internet for 1 hour 1 Cuc ;
- Hours: 8:30 am – 7:30 pm
Purchase of Internet card + purchase of Chip and Cuban 3g Internet line.
- Tel: 22 65 75 21
- Address: Esquina de la rue Hartmann & Tamayo Fleites
- Timetable: 8:30 am – 7:30 pm
Santiago has the best access to medicine and related services in the region.
Clínica Internacional Cubanacán Servimed
- Tel: 22 64 25 89
- Adress : Esquina de l’Avenue Raúl Pujol & Calle 10, Vista Alegre
- Hours: 24 hours a day
Farmacia Clínica Internacional
- Tel: 22 64 25 89
- Address : Esquina de l’Avenue Raúl Pujol & Calle 10
- Hours: 24 hours a day
- Tel: 22 68 70 70
Meliá Santiago de Cuba
- Address: Esquina de l’Avenue de las Américas & Calle M
- Hours: 08h-18h
The city has many banks and exchange centres.
Banco de Crédito y Comercio
- Tel : 22 62 80 06
- Address : Felix Peña No 614 (In the modern building of Plaza Céspedes)
- Hours: 09:00-17:00 Monday to Friday
Banco Financiero Internacional
Has an automatic cash dispenser.
- Tel : 22 68 62 52
- Address : Corner Av de las Américas & Calle I
- Hours: 09:00-15:00 Monday to Friday
Has an automatic cash dispenser.
- Adress : A l’esquina de José A Saco & Mariano Corona
- Hours : 09h-15h Monday to Friday
Changing money (Cadecas)
Cadecas are the official places to change money.
Recently the guests in Casas Particulares have been offering much more advantageous exchange rates than in Cadecas.
- Tel: 22 65 13 83
- Address: Aguilera No. 508;
- 8.30 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday, until 11.30 am on Saturday.
José A Saco
- Address: José A Saco No. 409
- Hours: from 8:30 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday, until 11:30 am on Saturday.
- Tel: 22 62 21 08
- Address: Aguilera No. 519
- Hours: 09h-17h
Santiago de Cuba on Social Networks
Here are the best social networks to find out more about Santiago de
El Chago Santiago
On the Web