Set in an attractive bay surrounded by the impressive Sierra Maestra mountains, Santiago de Cuba is a vibrant, cultured city that used to be the country’s capital - second only to Havana in size, it rivals the capital in many ways.
Throughout Cuba’s history Santiago nurtured the seeds of revolution which then blazed west to Havana.
The city’s roots are predominantly Afro-Caribbean but today it is a true cultural melting pot and a music lovers’ dream. In July the city explodes for carnival into a rum-fuelled musical street party, a riot of colour, drum and dance.
Fidel Castro’s original command post is in the beautiful Sierra Maestra mountains together with excellent hiking trails and Cuba’s highest peak, Pico Turquino.
Compared to Havana, Santiago has more limited accommodation options, but there is a simple historic hotel and a larger, more comfortable hotel ten minutes drive from the city centre. Staying here for a few days is a highly rewarding experience, especially for those interested in music.
Suggested Santiago de Cuba itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Santiago de Cuba, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Santiago de Cuba
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Santiago de Cuba
Accommodation choices for Santiago de Cuba
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Santiago de Cuba. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Santiago de Cuba
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Santiago de Cuba, and which use the best local guides.