Getting around Santiago de Cuba

Brief History

santiago de cubaWith a population of almost half a million inhabitants, Santiago de Cuba, located 861 kilometers from Havana, is the second city in importance on the Island. It was founded by Diego Velázquez in 1515, allegedly on July 25th traditionally the day on which the festivities honoring Apostle Santiago are held. It was the first capital city of Cuba.

Similar to Cárdenas Port in Havana, the bay and harbor of Santiago de Cuba (8,3 km long and 2,8 km wide) played a decisive role in Cuba's development.

Together with the rest of the western part of the country, Santiago has been scene of the many important historical events starting with the wars for national independence and stretching right up to the rebellion led by the July 26th Movement and Fidel Castro, against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

Santiago de Cuba preserves patrimonial and historical treasures like the first house of America, the first cathedral in Cuba, the first opencut copper mine in the whole American continent, and the first museum in Cuba. Because of its geographical location and cultural idiosyncrasy, it is an essentially Caribbean city, situated within easy reach of mountains and sea.

How to reach and get around Santiago de Cuba

From Havana by plane

avion cayo largo cubaIf you wish to fly from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, you can take flights from Aerocaribbean, Aerogaviota and Cubana de Aviación. For more information you can access the websites: cubajet , aerogaviota y cubana

For travel to Santiago de Cuba, the quickest option from Havana is through the Havana-Santiago flights, from the José Martí International Airport to the Antonio Maceo Airport located on Ciudamar Road, Km 2 ½ in the municipality of Santiago de Cuba. The flights, which take approximately one hour, have a cost of 135.00 cuc per passenger and the departure times are at 6:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. every day.

From Havana by bus

bus viazul cuba A cheaper option, but with a much longer travel time is with the Viazul bus agency. For a cost of 51.00 cuc and with departures at 9:30 a.m., 3:15 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. you can make a trip of approximately 16 hours by road. The buses leave from the agency which is situated on 26th Avenue, across from the Zoological Park in Nuevo Vedado, Havana all the way to the bus station in La Plaza de las Américas (The Americas Square) in the city of Santiago. You can reserve seats on the service through the website: viazul

Other ways

taxis en cuba Another way to get to Santiago is by taxi, which usually has a rather high cost because of the long route they have to make by road. For those who prefer package tours, the travel agencies Havanatur, Cubatur and Cubanacan can guarantee you a complete and safe trip. You can make your reservations through their websites: havanatur, cubatur and cubanacan or you can do it directly at the Havana Airport, where the offices of these agencies are located.

Once you are in the city you can enjoy the architectural beauties of the center by foot, taxi, rental cars or through organised tours and excursions offered by travel agencies.

If you wish to rent a car for travelling around the city, you can do it online, by visiting the website transtur. From Cespedes Park, in the center of the city, you can take a taxi for touring the surrounding area for 20-25 cuc, a bici taxi or even a taxi motorcycle which abound in this part of town, to travel from one place to another.

Prices may vary depending on the distance of the places or the time consumed. In both cases the prices must be agreed previously.