Why take a tour to Santiago de Cuba?

Why take a tour to Santiago de Cuba

Every single year, more than 5 million people visit Havana. Even though the capital of Cuba is undoubtedly an unforgettable destination, there are other corners of Cuba which are also stunning and rich in culture but are overlooked by many travelers. That is the case of Santiago de Cuba. In this article we tell you why you should take a tour to Santiago de Cuba and everything you can discover.

Santiago is placed on the eastern side of the island, close to Haiti. It was founded in 1514 and, even though it is one-sixth the size of Havana, is the second largest city in Cuba. 

Reasons to visit Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is full of life, traditions and historic sights that will help you understand the authentic Cuba. That is why you should definitely consider a Santiago de Cuba tour when planning your trip to the island. If you are starting to get curious about this city, keep reading. In this blog, we will summarize some other good reasons why you should include a trip to Santiago de Cuba on the itinerary. 

Revolutionary past 

Santiago de Cuba has many interesting sights associated with the Cuban Revolution. In fact, the city saw some of the first moves of Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries. Nowadays, during your Santiago de Cuba tour, you can visit the museum of the former Cuartel Moncada, where the rebel forces led by Castro threw a historic attack in 1953. You can also visit the city hall, where Castro proclaimed the victory of the Cuban Revolution. Another important site associated with the Revolution is the Cementerio de Santa Ifigenia which became the resting place for some of Cuba’s most remarkable revolutionaries, such as Emilio Bacardi and Frank Pais.

santiago de cuba tour

Immense cultural significance

Thanks to its geographical location and mixed origins, Santiago de Cuba merges Caribbean, Spanish, African and French cultures and has influences from Haiti and Jamaica, among others. Traditions remain strong on this side of the island where music and dance are part of day-to-day life. Santiago de Cuba is also home to Cuba’s hottest carnival. Held in July, this festivity is prepared for months and showcases costumed parades through the streets of Santiago to the rhythm of conga. Santiago’s carnival is extremely popular among Cubans and the reason why a lot of them visit Santiago de Cuba in July. 

Breathtaking monuments 

Apart from important sites associated with the Revolution, there are other historical sights and important monuments  that are worth including in your schedule during your trip to Santiago de Cuba. Perhaps, the most important one would be Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro. This UNESCO World Heritage site is an enormous fortress from the 17th century placed in the bay of Santiago de Cuba. It was built by the Spanish army to protect the island from pirates and nowadays holds a magnificent museum. Views from the fortress are stunning, so we would recommend visiting it at sunset. 

Another site you shouldn’t miss is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. This ancient church has a unique architectural style that blends with the surrounding buildings creating a beautiful postcard. 

visit santiago de cuba

Affordable prices

Santiago de Cuba offers great prices compared to Havana. Accommodation, transportation and restaurants are considerably cheaper there than in the capital. This means that, if you visit Santiago de Cuba you will do a favor to your senses but also your wallet!

Discover Granma Cay 

If you spend several days in Santiago, you should consider a trip to Cayo Granma. This beautiful fisherman islet offers a peaceful atmosphere to live a truly authentic experience. If you decide to visit it, get ready to eat the freshest seafood and tastiest fish while enjoying the sea views in one of its restaurants. As there are no hotels in Cayo Granma, staying in Santiago and arranging a day trip to the islet is a popular option. 

Visit Cuba’s tallest mountain 

Pico Turquino National Park is not only a beautiful natural reserve but also home to the tallest mountain in Cuba. Moreover, the area has a great historical value as Fidel Castro’s rebel headquarters were placed there. Because of its unique biodiversity and easy access, Pico Turino is perfect for a day in nature, so you should definitely include it on your Santiago de Cuba tour!

Santiago de Cuba is a historical gem that offers a wide variety of sights to visit and activities to do. If you want more information about this area or are interested in booking a tour to Santiago de Cuba, you can check our Santiago & Eastern Cuba section. You can also check out other trip ideas here. Remember that you can always contact our team of experts in Cuba to ask any questions that you might have related to Santiago de Cuba or Cuba in general.

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