This experience is both cultural and heavy on history.
This city is fascinating and will be very engaging!
Santiago is the second largest city in Cuba. It sits in a valley of the Sierra Maestra mountains with a pretty bay on the Caribbean Sea. The entrance to the bay is almost invisible offshore but as you arrive, the scenery opens up to the city behind the sandy beachfront. The city is the centre of an agricultural and mining region and exports copper, iron, manganese, sugar, and fruit, and it is no surprise that the southern terminus of the country’s Central Highway and Cuba’s major railway is here to move all those products.
The second largest city in the country, it nestles in a valley of the Sierra Maestra Mountains that is pierced by a pouch-shaped bay on the Caribbean Sea. The bay’s entrance, cutting into high bluffs that rise from the sea, is nearly invisible offshore. The chief bluff, about 200 feet (60 metres) high, is El Morro, crowned by a colonial fortress, Morro Castle. And as you arrive, if by ship, into Santiago, it will appeal slowly as you meander through the bay.
A highlight of the city is Céspedes Park, the main square of Santiago de Cuba, and, as such, bursts with life and joy from morning until evening, although activity gradually increases as it gets dark. It is the epicenter of Santiago de Cuba and offers a perfect insight into Cuban life. The romanticism of Cubans is demonstrated here through; talking, hustling, flirting, guitar strumming groups who offer impromptu musical serenades. Under the watchful eye of the bronze bust of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, famous founding father of the Cuban independence in 1868, street life seamlessly continues before your very gaze.
Another park is the Plaza de Marte Park, which was used by soldiers as training camp. It was place where plans were devised during the Revolution. Today it is a square which recalls the combative and fighting spirit of the inhabitants of the city. Your visit to this park will be symbolic and you will find it one of beauty and serenity where you can admire its sculptures.
Of major interest are the San Juan Hills. pivotal feature of American involvement in the Spanish-Cuban-American War. As soon as American forces landed and began moving west, this area became the major strategic element of both the Spanish defense of Santiago and the American offensive aimed at dislodging the Spanish fleet. Today, a modern parkway crosses the San Juan Heights. There is much to talk about here and plenty to see from days past.
Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca is your final stop. This 17th-century fortress, situated on a rocky promontory at the coast of the city, is the best-preserved monument of Spanish-American military architecture. It was designed in 1637 and used primarily to guard against commercial and political rivals in the Caribbean region, European colonies, and raiding pirates. The castle went through a massive restoration project in the 1960’s. Today it is one of the best preserved castles in the America’s, as well as the best example of a renaissance fortress. Since 1997, it is a World UNESCO Heritage Site.
- Please dress according to the weather and wear comfortable shoes.
- Sunscreen, camera with secure strap, perhaps a hat, will protect you from the sun.
- You are traveling under a general license, 31 CFR 515.574 - Support for the Cuban People. Travelers must keep a copy of their voucher for 5 years per OFAC regulations.
- We will make arrangements for meaningful dialogue with locals throughout your day! These memories and personal interactions will last a lifetime.
- Please note the availability of private guides in Santiago de Cuba is limited so please book in advance.
- This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility. We must be notified in advance of any walking problems.
- At the conclusion of your tour you will have to return to your cruise ship. If you wish to shop or spend more time, we will extend your service by the hour after your tour. This must be done in advance as the guides commit their time.
- It is unusual to have your ship tendered in this port. In the event it is necessary, your arrival on to land will be later than planned. Your guide will be waiting for you and will help you determine the best itinerary under the circumstance. This is so rare but, as your guide will be waiting for you, there will be no adjustment to the cost.
- If you are part of a group, you will be split into smaller groups for a more enjoyable experience.
Days offered: 7 days a week