Santiago de Cuba has personality. Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar made Santiago his second capital, Fidel Castro started the Cuban Revolution here, Don Facundo Bacardi set his rum factory her ... Known as the capital of Cuban culture, Santiago seduces you to the beat of trova, son and bolero, and that is because almost all the Cuban musical genres were heard for the first time in their rhythmic and bustling streets. Its architecture highlights the castle of San Pedro de la Roca, declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, and considered - along with La Socapa and La Estrella - the greatest example of European Renaissance engineering in the Caribbean. From the central Céspedes park, you will get to the the Catedral Metropolitana, Palacio Municipal, the stepped Padre Pico Street and the Diego Velázquez House, considered the oldest in the continent.
In the strip that separates Sierra Maestra from the Caribbean Sea lies the Baconao Biosphere Reserve, 80,000 hectares of dense vegetation that includes arborescent ferns, complemented by excellent beaches for diving and water activities. Baconao also offers the attractions of the Science Museum, an aquarium and a dolphinarium, linked to the Valley of Prehistory, which shows a real size 200 stone sculptures that represent the fauna existing on the planet millions of years ago. One of the main attractions of the park is the Gran Piedra, a rock of volcanic origin 51 meters long, 25m high and 30m wide. It is possible to climb the 459 stone steps to the top of the rock and stop at 1,234 meters above sea level to enjoy a panoramic view.
El Turquino National Park, also known as the Sierra Maestra National Park, is located on the heights of the Sierra Maestra mountain chain, and boasts the highest elevation in Cuba: the Turquino peak, at 1974 m above sea level. This park is a beautiful place hosting mainly nature tourism, with hikes on trails surrounded by coffee plantations, cacao and fruit trees where various types of birds nest, including the tocororo, Cuba's national bird. And for those who want baths in medicinal mineral water, in the neighboring community of Bicet there are pools of water beneficial for human health.
On the south coast of Santiago we find numerous beaches, marine caves and coral reefs barely explored. For lovers of navigation, Santiago de Cuba has the services of the Marina Marlin Punta Gorda, where you can practice sport fishing and enjoy trips on yachts and catamarans. You can find three centers dedicated to diving: Bucanero, Sigua and Sierramar, where you can take an initiation course, or a day / night immersion, to enjoy its coral reefs and caves, as well as warships of the Spanish squadron of Admiral Cervera that were sunk 100 years ago.