Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city of the island, built at the foothills of the legendary Sierra Maestra, is the most Caribbean city of Cuba.
The renowned and unique Carnival, the Festival del Caribe and Fiesta del Fuego, the music and the traditions are all expressions of its deep African roots, due to the colonial slave trade and the vicinity with Jamaica, Hispaniola and other tropical isles.
Rich of several architecture’ style and influences the city has many sites of tourist and historic interests like El Morro castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), or the colonial casas of Parque Céspedes, the Diego Velázquez Museum, the oldest house still standing in Cuba or the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, which makes Santiago the Cuba’s most sacred pilgrimage site.
At night, the Caribbean’ soul of this city comes out through the rhythms of the Caribbean music and passionate dances. Places like “Casa de la Trova”, or “Patio de los dos abuelos” are all good places to be overwhelmed by the Afro-Caribe mix of dance and music, all night long. For the Rum drinkers, Santiago de Cuba is the native city of the worldwide known “Bacardi”.
Heading out the city, the amazing region offers the UNESCO-recognized Baconao Biosphere Reserve on the East, while the highest peaks of the Sierra Maestra, being the most extensive mountain range in the island, rise to the west.
Reaching the shore, this area of the Caribbean Sea has been the tomb in the past for many ships, which the wrecks today are a great attractive activity for divers and snorkelers.