Santiago de Cuba
Cuba’s second most populous province.
The capital is hot and hilly, but at the same time seductively languid. Built on a sequence of hills overlooking a large bay with the Sierra Maestra in the background, Santiago de Cuba is one of Cuba’s most picturesque cities.
It has plenty to offer sightseers, blessed as it is with interesting museums, buildings and sites including the Moncada Barracks, Bacardí Museum, the Cathedral, and the Morro Castle.
Outside of town stands the San Pedro de la Roca del Morro fortress. This, along with the First Coffee Plantations in the Southeast of Cuba, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad – the patron saint of Cuba – in El Cobre, plays a very important role in the daily life of Cubans. El Cobre, once a mining town, is 22 km from the capital.
Climbing the 452 steps of La Gran Piedra – often shrouded in dense fog – is an adventure delivering magnificent views of the surrounding landscape and its vegetation rich in ferns, orchids and other species.
Nature lovers will also enjoy the flora-filled Baconao Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve 20km southeast of Santiago City.
Needless to say, the province’s location on the Caribbean Sea means it has some great beaches, such as Playa Siboney (14km from Santiago City) and Playa Daiquirí and Cazonal.