One of the most interesting and historically significant places in Cuba is Santiago de Cuba. Founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velazquez de Cuellar in 1514, Santiago was the capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba from 1522 until 1589. Today, Santiago remains the most important urban area outside of Havana, and is home to the birth of most forms of Cuba’s long-lasting and globally renowned music. Visitors from around the world come to enjoy the music originating in Santiago.
Of more political importance, Santiago is known for being the Cradle of the Revolution. It was here, in 1953, Fidel Castro led an ill-prepared attack on Batistas Barracks at Moncada. And finally, a few years later after successfully toppling Batista and his dictatorship, Castro gave his victory speech in Parque Cespedes in Santiago.
The region is well known for many other things. There are the ruins of French coffee plantations to the east of the city in the mountains that are recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site. The famed Cuban cigar has deep-rooted tradition in Santiago, as does the production of rum. Both a cigar factory, and rum distillery can be found in Santiago.
This region has the largest concentration of Afro-Cubans and is the center for Afro-Cuban culture. No doubt this has influenced the proliferation of music from the area over the centuries. Several music venues are to be found here, showcasing the diverse range and forms of Cuban music. There is even an outlet of the Tropicana night club.
We arrive at Santiago de Cuba after breakfast and will spend the entire day here. You will have several options to experience the region through onshore excurions and venturing off on your own. You may return to the ship at any time to relax and take a break.