If you are a second-time visitor or you just simply don’t want to be surrounded by other tourists, eastern Cuba is for you. Known by locals as the ‘Oriente’, this side of the island is an open door to an authentic Cuban experience. Get on an adventure to discover Baracoa, hike until you reach Fidel’s hideout – the headquarters for the Cuban revolution- or get amazed by the history of Santiago de Cuba.
Why visit Eastern Cuba
There are plenty of reasons why you should visit eastern Cuba. Here is a list of Espíritu Travel’s top six reasons.
The history of Cuban revolution
Eastern Cuba is known to be strongly linked to Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution. In fact, Santiago de Cuba, the second biggest city in the country, is referred to as ‘the cradle of the revolution’. Revolutionaries obtained great support in this city during the revolt against General Batista in the fifties. Actually, Santiago is where the first attack against the regime took place.
Nowadays, there are several places in the city that commemorate that important part of Cuban history. Museum of the Clandestine Struggle, the Plaza de la Revolution Square or the Frank and Josué País House Museum are just some of the museums related to this topic you can visit.
To truly feel like a revolutionary, you can embark yourself on a hike through Sierra Maestra’s mountains up to Fidel’s hideout. This place was once the headquarters for the Cuban revolution and, 70 years after, you will still be able to see in good conditions the huts where Fidel and Che Guevara led revolutionaries.
Breathtaking nature and cocoa plantations
As the wonders of this side of the island remain unknown by most tourists, nature and wildlife are at their finest there. Choosing an eastern Cuba travel means witnessing natural treasures such as El Yunque, a mountain declared a National Monument because of its beautiful characteristics.
Another great site to enjoy wildlife is the city of Baracoa. Known to be the oldest colonial city, Baracoa is placed between mountain ranges covered in green and paradisiacal beaches with crystalline water. This hidden gem is perfect for outdoor activities such as climbing, hiking or camping. Baracoa is also Cuba ‘s capital of chocolate. Cocoa plantations are typical of this area thanks to the perfect weather conditions. Visiting the plantations is highly recommended to understand the history of Cuba and having a delicious cup of hot chocolate in one of its onsite cafes.
Traditional Cuban gastronomy
The biggest Caribbean island is a great destination to try delicious dishes, and eastern Cuba is no exception. Coconut, banana and fresh seafood are the main ingredients of this side on the island. You will find them combined in different ways. Our personal favorite is cucuruchos, a sweet dish made with dried coconut, sugar, honey and seasonal fruits. Buy it as a snack in one of the street stalls of Baracoa, we promise it is as tasty as it sounds!
If you are interested in Cuban cuisine, you can also check our Guide to enjoy popular food in Cuba.
Local music scene
Santiago de Cuba is home to the traditional Afro-Cuban music and dance scene. This city has its own rhythm and is one of the best places to experience Cuban local genres such as son cubano or tumba francesa. There are several venues in the city where you can enjoy music while having a drink, but street musicians will surely be the soundtrack of your trip to Santiago de Cuba. One thing is clear, when you visit eastern Cuba you know that you can dance all day and all night!
Have you fallen in love with eastern Cuba already? Check out our Santiago and eastern Cuba trip. An itinerary specifically designed to get an authentic Cuban experience while visiting all the main sites of this side of the island. Do you have any questions about how to organize an eastern Cuba travel? Contact Espíritu Travel, our expert team will be more than happy to help you.