Exceptional luxury at Santiago de Cuba

City founded in July 1515, capital of the province of the same name. Life here centers on the old main square, today Parque Céspedes, which is surrounded by buildings of imposing architecture and great historical value. Each July this most Caribbean city in Cuba is the venue for the Fire Festival, during which intellectuals, researchers and artistic groups representing the region's folk cultures meet.

Things to do in Santiago de Cuba?

Ave del Paraíso Botanical Garden, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Ave del Paraíso Botanical Garden

An important reserve which is home to species native to eastern Cuba. Situated in the Sierra de la Gran Piedra, it is home to several hundred plant species, including 222 ferns, 352 orchids, eucalyptus, pines, cypress trees and a wide variety of fruit trees, as well as the plant that gives its name to this spot. Climbing its 459 steps, the visitor comes to a natural viewing point, with wonderful views of the unrivalled beauty of the south-east coast.

Carnival Museum, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Carnival Museum

The Carnival Museum was opened in June 1983 and takes the visitor through the different stages of this popular event which fills the city with music and dancing every July. Its exhibits include models of floats, trophies, costumes, capes, street decorations, as well as musical instruments from the main bands taking part in the festivities: cabildo carabalí, tumba francesa and conga santiaguera.

Castle of San Pedro de la Roca (El Morro), Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Castle of San Pedro de la Roca (El Morro)

A historic military structure at the entrance to the bay of Santiago de Cuba and a World Heritage Site. The heartbeat of the old town, this beautiful square is a popular meeting place for both locals and visitors. On one side of the Church of La Soledad, you can take different routes through the popular streets such as Calle República, the boulevard or Calle de los Cines.

Cayo Granma, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Cayo Granma

Situated at the entrance to the bay of Santiago de Cuba, Cayo Granma is a small island and fishing community. It is renowned for the unique architecture of its dwellings, as well as the traditions of the local community.

Céspedes Park and surrounding areas, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Céspedes Park and surrounding areas

The main square of Santiago de Cuba is a very vibrant space. With an architecture of various converging styles, it is surrounded by some of the most iconic buildings: the Town Hall, the Museum House of Diego Velázquez, the Cathedral, the old San Carlos Club and the Hotel Casa Granda. It stands on the original site of what initially in 1515 was the seventh village on the island, now the second largest city in the country.

Emilio Bacardí Museum, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Emilio Bacardí Museum

It was the first institution of its kind to open in Cuba, in 1899. Its founder and promoter was Emilio Bacardí Moreau, the first mayor of Santiago de Cuba. It houses some remarkable examples of Pre-Columbian culture, national art and Cuban history, including various objects that belonged to the National Hero of Cuba, José Martí. It boasts an important collection of colonial paintings, as well as works from the Spanish Renaissance and pieces by Cuban artists.

Holguín, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba

The third most populated city in Cuba boasts a wealth of history, culture and natural landscapes.

La Gran Piedra (The Great Stone), Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
La Gran Piedra (The Great Stone)

The beautiful natural landscape of the Sierra Maestra. One of the highest points in the Sierra Maestra, renowned for the impressive monolith rising from the summit. The climb to the top rewards you with a wonderful view of the wealth of nature in Cuba's eastern mountain range, with its numerous species of flora and fauna, many native to the region. On a clear day, you can see as far as the coasts of Haiti, as well as stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.

Loma de San Juan, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Loma de San Juan

A historic complex dedicated to the wars of independence. On the outskirts of the city of Santiago de Cuba stands this historic park which reflects many of the historical events of the struggle for independence in the region, specifically the events of the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century.

Moncada Barracks, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Moncada Barracks

This military barracks entered the history books following the attack carried out by a group of young people led by Fidel Castro. Their objective was to take the enclave and then make their way into the mountains of Santiago de Cuba to commence the struggle against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Today it is home to the Ciudad Escolar 26 de Julio and also houses a museum that recounts the events that took place there on 26 July 1953.

Padre Pico Steps, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Padre Pico Steps

Built in 1899 under the auspices of the Mayor Emilio Bacardí and in honour of the Catholic priest Bernardo del Pico Redín, it is one of the most well-known streets in Santiago de Cuba. It forms a natural viewing point and is one of the ways into the district of El Tivoli. It has 52 steps, divided into 13 flights of 4 steps each, with 12 landings.

Plaza de la Revolución Square, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Plaza de la Revolución Square

Located at the entrance to the city of Santiago de Cuba, it is considered to be the most important 20th century monument to have been created in the city. Commemorating the hero Antonio Maceo, it boasts the country's tallest statue, 16 metres in height, a work by the Santiago-born sculptor Alberto Lezcay. Inside, by means of holograms, visitors can admire a collection of objects belonging to the man known as the Bronze Titan.

Plaza de Marte, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Plaza de Marte

It is one of the most central spaces in the city, created in the late 18th century. The square pays homage to the independence of Cuba. It is one of the favourite haunts of the city's locals. It is close to institutions such as the Iris Jazz Club, the Rex and Libertad hotels, as well as the Patio Los Dos Abuelos, a traditional music venue.

Plaza Dolores, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Plaza Dolores

One of the most popular spaces in the Old Town. Colonial-style houses in the surrounding area accommodate various restaurants and the Taberna de Dolores. The most striking building, the former church of Dolores, has been turned into a beautiful concert hall and is now home to the orchestra Orquesta Sinfónica de Oriente. It also hosts the Santiago de Cuba International Choir Festival, which is held every two years in November.

Port of Santiago de Cuba, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Port of Santiago de Cuba

It was built in 1494, coinciding with Christopher Columbus's second voyage to the island. Its original name was Puerto de Rey (King's Port) and it was from here that, years later (1516), Hernán Cortés sailed to conquer Mexico. At the end of the 18th century, construction work began on the quays and jetties, giving it an industrial appearance.

Remains of the coffee plantations, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Remains of the coffee plantations

An archaeological landscape declared a World Heritage Site. The archaeological landscapes of the first coffee plantations in the south-east of Cuba were declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2000 as they are unique evidence of a pioneering form of agriculture in difficult terrain.

Rum Museum, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Rum Museum

Located in the iconic warehouses of the port, this museum of Santiago de Cuba tells the story of rum production and has five exhibition halls, displaying photographs and items dating from the early rum production up to the present day. There is also an area with ageing barrels, displaying a range of rum labels and containers, from early brands that have since disappeared, such as Matusalén and Caribbean Club, to others that are still around today, such as Ron Santiago and Caney.

Sanctuary of La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Sanctuary of La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre

A place of worship dedicated to the Patron Saint of Cuba. This iconic spot on the outskirts of Santiago de Cuba is a place of pilgrimage for many Cubans. They come to worship the Patron Saint of Cuba and the last three Popes have visited and given Mass in the Sanctuary.

Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Santa Ifigenia Cemetery

The Santa Ifigenia cemetery is the second largest in the country and one of the key places to visit in Santiago de Cuba. It is the resting place for the remains of many members of Cuba's independence movement, including those of Cuba's National Hero, José Martí, and the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

Teatro Heredia, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Teatro Heredia

This is the most important cultural centre in Santiago de Cuba. An institution specialising in the planning, organisation and promotion of artistic performances, exhibitions, festivals, conferences, conventions, congresses and other events. It hosts the EXPOCARIBE International Trade Show and is one of the venues for the Festival of the Caribbean, commonly known as the Fiesta del Fuego (Fire Festival).

The Troubadour's House, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
The Troubadour's House

The Casa de la Trova José “Pepe” Sánchez ensures that the traditional Cuban music of the troubadours is continued, disseminated and taken to all corners of the world. This venue hosts small musical groups. It is also hosts the International “Pepe Sánchez” Trova Festival, which is held in the city every year in the month of September.

Tivoli District, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Tivoli District

A neighbourhood of Santiago de Cuba which is a melting pot of all Cuban cultures and ethnicities. The Haitian Revolution, at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, led to its urban development. It belongs to the city's French heritage and is symbolic of this history, which is closely associated with Tivoli. Even today, the neighbourhood reflects the harmonious blend of the cultured and the popular. Poets and trobadours have extolled its uniqueness, the warm and joyful nature of its inhabitants, making it one of the main tourist attractions in Santiago de Cuba.

Tumba Francesa, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Tumba Francesa

A symbol of the French-Haitian cultural heritage and Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Tumba Francesa “La Caridad de Oriente”, was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in November 2003. It is a recreational cultural space, with origins dating back to the 19th century. In this form of artistic expression, African slaves blended their rhythms with the French dances of the Caribbean. Tumba Francesa preserves authentic musical instruments, dances, music and songs of ancestors, as well as culinary customs, laws and native spiritual rules. Its drums, crafted by African hands, are over a century old.

Velázquez Balcony, Santiago de Cuba - Cuba
Velázquez Balcony

In January 1950, the construction project for the “Velázquez Balcony” was approved by the Santiago de Cuba City Council, in honour of the city's founder. The intention was to give the city a viewing point, which was to encapsulate the very beginnings of Santiago de Cuba, from its first bastion of defence, as well as prominent figures who transcended the era of the city's foundation.

Hotels in Santiago de Cuba where luxury is always on the menu

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