What to see and visit in Santiago de Cuba

Céspedes Park

parque cespedes santiago cubaAguilera (Marina), Lacret (San Pedro), Heredia (Cathedral) and Félix Pena (Santo Tomás) Streets. 16th century. Former Plaza de Armas (Square of Arms), lie in the center of the city. Its current layout dates from 1943.

At present it constitutes the main square in the city of Santiago de Cuba. During the daytime the park has a stable flow of people, which increases during the nighttime when more varied cultural activities take place. See location

Diego Velázquez’ House

612 Félix Pena (Santo Tomás) Street, Céspedes Park. 16th century. Built between the years of 1516 and 1530. It is considered to be the oldest house in Cuba. It was used as a House of Contracting, a residence of governors and it used to be the house of other important families from the city. Now it is the Museum of Cuban Historical Environment (Museo de Ambiente Histórico Cubano).  

The price of access is 2.00 cuc and includes a guide complete with interesting anecdotes to escort you to Velázquez Balcony, where you will enjoy a beautiful view of the bay. See location

Cathedral Church

Catedral de Santiago de CubaHeredia (Cathedral), Félix Pena (Santo Tomás), Bartolomé Masó (San Basilio) and Lacret (San Pedro) Streets. 1818. The first church built here dates back to the year 1528 and was rebuilt in the 17th century.

It was damaged by consecutive earthquakes. The current construction was finished in 1818, remodeled between the years 1916 and 1922 and restored between 1990 and 1995. In 1882 it was given the title of Minor Basilica. In its Archidiocesan Museum are preserved important works of art including what is considered to be the oldest painting in Cuba. See location

Bacardí Museum

552 Pio Rosado (Carnicería) Street. 1928. This is another of the majestic. eclectic buildings of the city. It houses one of the most important Cuban museums which treasures various collections of historical, archaeological and art originally compiled by Emilio Bacardi Moreau and enriched with subsequent acquisitions. It's home to an important collection of colonial paintings and works by artists from the 20th century. It holds the category of National Monument.

El Carnaval Museum

If you wish to discover an incredible big house from the 18th century with exceptional architectural elements you must visit the famous El Carnaval Museum located at 303 Heredia Street between Carnicería and Calvario Streets. It was founded in 1983 and it is unique in the country.

In this museum is collected the history of the Santiago carnaval, which is a result of the mixture of various elements of the Spanish and African culture enriched by a Franco-Haitian influence. Articles and clothes relating to these festivities can be seen in this museum for the price of access of 1.00 cuc 2.00 cuc for those who wish to take pictures inside. See location

Moncada Barracks Museum/Granjita Siboney (little farm)

Cuartel Moncada Santiago Cuba Km 13 ½ on the road to Siboney Beach. This is the place from where, in the early morning of July 26th of 1953 and under the leadership of Fidel, the attackers of the Moncada Barracks set off. It is a museum which exhibits documents and objects which detail the history of the house, the preparations previous to the attack and the development of the action. See location

José María Heredia’s Home. (birthplace)

260 Heredia (Cathedral) Street. 18th century. The house where the poet José María Heredia y Heredia was born on December 31st 1803. As Jose Martí said, he was the first Romantic poet in America. The building preserves its facade and a great part of its original framework. It is a museum that perpetuates the Heredian memory. See location                        

House of Trova (Rafael Salcedo de las Cuevas’ House)

casa de la trova santiaguera 206-210 Heredia (Cathedral) Street. 19th century. The house where Rafael Salcedo de las Cuevas was born, outstanding musician, founder of the Beethoven Society in 1878. In this place come together composers and singers who keep alive the traditions of Cuban popular music. See location

Padre Pico Street

One of the most picturesque places in the city. A peculiar stepped street which in 1942 took its current name in honor of Priest Bernardo del Pico (1726-1813). Located in the Tivolí neighborhood, it was built in 1899 under the auspices of Emilio Bacardí y Moreau, mayor of the city. See location

It is an important symbol for all Cubans, because it contains lots of secrets and its history is described as an important element of the city.

Frank País García’s Home (birthplace) 

226 San Bartolomé Street. It opened its doors as as museum on November 30th 1964 and displays the photographs, documents and personal effects of Frank’s siblings and the País García family. Frank País organized and led the armed uprising in Santiago de Cuba on November 30th of 1956 in support of the landing of the Granma yacht. See location

Del Cobre National Sanctuary

Caridad del cobre Santiago Cuba The National Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Virgin of La Caridad del Cobre, Patron Saint of Cuba, is located high up on the Maboa Hill, 27 Km from Santiago de Cuba. According to tradition, the image of the Virgin of Caridad del Cobre was seen floating on a board on the sea in the Bay of Nipe between the years 1612 or 1613.

The current church was inaugurated on September 8th 1927. The virgin, which is guarded and which can be seen from every angle of the main nave, is made of gold and stands on a mobile altar. The altar is made of marble and solid silver and its decoration is of great value. The Chapel of Miracles treasures memories of thousands of parishioners, among these treasures you will be able to see the medal which confirmed Ernest Hemingway's Nobel Prize for Literature.

The festivities of the Virgin of La Caridad del Cobre are held on September 8th, however there are pilgrims arriving the whole year long as the del Cobre Sanctuary is attended by the faithful. See location

Santa Ifigenia Cemetery

Raúl Perozo Avenue, Agüero neighbourhood. It opened on April 22nd of 1868. It is considered an openc air museum and was declared a National Monument in 1979. In this place lie the remains of notable Cubans like the National Heroe José Martí, the Father of the Homeland Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, and Mariana Grajales, mother of the Maceo brothers.

The mausoleum to José Martí, inaugurated in June of 1951, is a sculptural and architectural monument loaded with symbolism. It enjoys a permanent guard of honor which changes every half an hour in marcial ceremony. See location

San Pedro de la Roca Castle

Fortaleza del Morro Santiago CubaEl Morro Road. Km 8. 17th century. Known as Castillo del Morro (El Morro Castle), it was built at the entrance of the channel which gives access to the bay by the military engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli between the years 1638 and 1643. It was used as a defense against the large number of pirates and corsairs who used to hang about the Caribbean sea.

Used as a prison in the 19th century in 1898 it bore witness to the American navy blockade of the bay and also of the naval battle in which the Spanish navy was defeated, action that put an end to Spanish control of the continent. Now it houses the Museum of Piracy. It was proclaimed a World Heritage site in 1998 See location