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Must do's in Santiago de Cuba

Does anyone have anything to add to a list of “must do’s” while in Santiago?
We haven’t booked our trip yet but we are concidering this area. Just wondered what there might be there to do or see.

Parque Cespedes is the main square and you can have a drink at the Casa Granda Hotel, visit the house of Diego Velazquez, see where Fidel spoke from City Hall and visit the Cathedral that has been on that site since 1522, all in one square. Several cigar shops, and then on Heredia Street (goes along the hotel), there is the house of poet Heredia, Casa de la Trova, and the Elvira Cape library which has art exhibits.

After 7 trips, I still haven’t made it to the Bacardi Museum (which is behind the Casa Granda). There are musicians playing in the streets, and lots of vendors along the roads. Careful of the traffic! Also, bring a water bottle, and your puffer if you have asthma - lots of diesel fumes. It’s a beautiful city, and you get a great view from the Hotel Rooftop Bar at Casa Granda. Prepare to fall in love!

That sounds wonderful … thanks so much.

I would second all the suggestions made by eloisegirl - also we had a look around the carnival museum - a little bit run down but interesting and the people in charge very proud of the museum and more that happy to show us everything!

Great … thanks for the idea’s.

This should give us something to do if we decide to wander off the beach.

Does anyone have an idea of approx the cost of the excursions in this area?

A day trip to Gran Piedra is nice change from the city. Gran Piedra is the highest mountain in the area and on a clear day you can see Jamaica from the peak. There is also a botanical garden and a restored coffee plantation near the top of the mountain, both of which are worth seeing. It is best to go in the morning when the air is clear, but bring a jacket because it is cool at the peak. Gran Piedra is about 15km east of the city on the road to El Oasis - Baconoa.
Morro castle at the entrance to Stgo harbour is worth a visit for the view if nothing else.
I have visited the rum museme previously mentioned. It is 1CUC to enter, which is a good thing because the place is essentially empty and is really only a front for a few of the employees to sell rum on the side.
Similar to Cespedes close by is Parque Dolores which is also a good place to sit down for a drink.

Don’t forget the morro castle .It is probably part of a package that goes from most resorts.What a view.

Vallero and Eloisegirl pretty well covered it, as far as the main sites to see in Santiago de Cuba. I have been to Santiago de Cuba several times, and have a goddaughter there (she lives in Vista Alegre district), which is a lovely area just to stroll around in.

Santiago is certainly not as varied as Havana, it is a small city. There are historical sites, such as La Moncada, on CAlle Trinidad and Moncada. It is a large yellow barracks that was part of the attack of the rebels on this building, inside are photos, letters and other documents.

Museo Emilio Bacardi on Pio Rosado y Aguilera, one of Cuba’s first museums, houses items from Spanish conquest and War of Independence.

Cementerio Santa Ifigenia at Calzada Crombet, many beautiful monuments, in particular one to Barcardi and Jose Marti.

The Museo “La Isabelica” , Carretera de la Gran Piedra, shows history of the French settlements in the area.

Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Caridad, CAridadad del Cobre, a must see…beautiful church.

Siboney beach is 19 km. east of of Santiago de Cuba as well,
and not far from Siboney is Finca por venir, a large swimming pool, that tourists and Cubans can go to. We took my Cuban goddaughter and family there, and they loved it. Pool is heavily chlorinated, not so great for swimming, but there is a concession stand to buy drinks and snacks, lounge chairs and beautiful setting.

The San Juan Hill memorial should also not be missed if you are interested in the history of the island. It was the site of the deciding battle for Cuban independence from Spain in 1898. The park is large and very well maintained, and interspersed with monuments and relics from the battle. Informative, and also very scenic, it’s worth a visit. To get there just follow the directions to get to Hotel San Juan, its property borders on the park.

And, Yanet, you are absolutely correct reparto Vista Alegre is a beautiful neighbourhood. I always try to find a casa there when I am in Stgo. The area oozes with colonial Caribbean architecture and charm