This museum is located in the former Moncada Barracks, a military fortification which came under attack on 26 July 1953 by a group of young revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro Ruz. This event launched the final stage of the struggle for the country's freedom. The museum exhibits some of the revolutionaries' personal belongings, some of the weaponry used and photographs of the historical event, as well as a valuable coin collection.
One of the most beautiful Biosphere Reserves in Cuba. This park covers an extensive area of forest, offering visitors numerous attractions such as the Valley of Prehistory, the Museum of Land Transport, the Great Lagoon of Baconao, Daiquirí beach and the Great Stone, a stunning viewing point in the ruins of a French coffee plantation.
Baracoa was the first settlement founded by the Spanish conquistadors in 1512. This attractive city is located in Guantánamo, the eastern most province of the country that borders Santiago de Cuba. Visitors can enjoy one of the most beautiful natural scenic views in the Caribbean, especially El Yunque Mountain that dominates Baracoa's horizon.
The silent witness of history, as this is where the final battle of the Spanish-Cuban-American war was fought, bringing the end to an era. At the helm of a brigade at this battle was a future president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. This is the only place in Cuba with a monument to the American soldier.
This is one of the continent's oldest cathedrals, the seat of the fourth bishopric of America, although the building that it currently occupies was built in 1922, thus reflecting the eclectic style of architecture. One of its sides houses the Ecclesiastical Museum, with a valuable collection of furniture, paintings and sacred artefacts.
This is undoubtedly one of the city's most well-known streets. It offers an excellent natural viewing point and is the only stepped street in Cuba. It also marks the boundary between the upper and lower areas of Santiago de Cuba and leads down to the Tivolí district, the finest stage for the famous Santiago carnival.
One of the city's most famous popular celebrations, the carnival originated as a religious procession organised by the church authorities every 25th of July, in honour of St James the Apostle. Their Spanish, African and Franco-Haitian roots distinguish the Santiago carnivals from those held in the rest of the country and that is why there is a museum dedicated to them. In Santiago, festivals are a part of life.
The basilica of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the Patron Saint of Cuba, can be found 27 km from the city centre, in a mining town founded in 1830. The Basilica stands on a gentle hill and contains display cases with items such as the medal received by the writer Ernest Hemingway on being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre was crowned by Pope John Paul II in 1998, during his visit to Cuba. Every 8th of September, her feast day, thousands of pilgrims come here to give thanks and beg favours of the blessed virgin.
The Great National Park, covering around 38,000 hectares across the provinces of Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo. This is not only the site of the highest point on the Island, the Pico Turquino (1,974 metres above sea level), but also the peaks of Cuba, Caracas and Magdalena, ideal for mountain climbing. Of particular interest to visitors is the place known as El Saltón-Cedrón, ideal for ecotourism and health tourism.
The construction of this house dates back to 1515 and it is therefore thought to be the oldest building in Cuba. In the 16th century it was a trading house and was subsequently used for the establishment of a gold and silver foundry. The walls, ceilings, some of the doors and the furnace are original. It now houses the Museum of Cuban History, displaying furniture and domestic items dating from the 16th to the 19th century.
Every night, the Santiago Tropicana cabaret offers its performance "Viaje al Caribe" (a Journey to the Caribbean), which narrates the history of the people of Santiago, the most Caribbean city in Cuba, where one can feel the influence of Haiti and its voodoo religion and French customs, Dominican Republic and its merengue, Jamaica and its reggae and Puerto Rico among others. This modern facility has been elegantly decorated with traditional elements that blend-in with the lush natural vegetation surrounding the area.
As the sun sets over the eastern part of the island, the city of Santiago comes alive with the joy of its people. On every corner you will find people in animated conversation or striking up an improvised melody.
You can also find some amazing nightspots. The popular Casa de la Trova is not to be missed if you want to enjoy traditional Cuban music in true Santiago style. Meanwhile, the Iris Jazz Club has an excellent atmosphere and some great sounds. If dancing is your thing, the Tropicana Santiago Cabaret is highly recommended.
On the Avenida de las Américas, the hotel Meliá Santiago de Cuba awaits those wishing to spend a relaxing evening in the attractive Bello Bar, with its terrace and stunning views of the city. Its “Santiago Café” nightclub is the perfect option for those seeking a few hours of fun and good music.