Cuba destinations- Santiago de Cuba City, Cuba
The eastern province of Santiago is home to some of Cuba's most rugged terrain. Its most dominant geographical feature is the Sierra Maestra mountain range which runs from Niquero near the Gulf of Guacanayabo to east of Santiago de Cuba past the Gran Piedra National Park. The country's highest elevation, the Pico Real del Turquino, forms part of this range.
The area is noted, among other things, for its sugar production and is also an important provider of citrus fruits and tobacco. It is , however, most famed for its history of rebelliousness, being part of Oriente, an area known as the cradle of the Revolution.
These days it has been earmarked as a prime tuorist destination and, with its beautiful physical setting, it seems destined to become one of the most popular and visited areas of Cuba.
SANTIAGO DE CUBA CITY
Cuba's second city is hot, hilly and exhausting but at the same time seductively languid. Built on a sequence of hills overlooking a large bay with the Sierra Maestra in the background, it is certainly one of Cuba's most picturesque cities. Its colourful streets sweep up and down steep hills, making walking through the city, although pleasant, a little tiring if done in long stretches.
Yet Santiago has a singular vibrancy, its predominantly mulatto people, a mix of Spanish, French from Haiti and huge numbers of African slaves, are persistently friendly.
It has plenty to offer for sightseers, blessed as it is with a host of interesting museums, buildings and places (Moncada Barracks, Emilio Bacardi Museum, The Cathedral, Morro Castle, La Maison, Calle Heredia...)
Eighteen kilometres west of the city this sanctuary looms before you like a misplaced Disney prop as you make the descent into the village itself. This village will not detain you for too long as, apart from the church, there is nothing of any interest to see.
When you visit the area you will be approached by kids trying to sell you 'diamonds' which are in fact pyrites churned up during the mining operation.
It is a popular place for Cubans and it's a good place to come to meet people and make friends, The beach itself is black sand and largely unappealing and the hills around the village of Siboney were once a stronghold for anti-Batista rebels.
A further 18km east along the coastal road is the village/beach resort of Sigua, this is largely frequented by Cubans. You are guaranteed to receive a warm welcome and locals will even offer to catch you a nice fish for your dinner in return for a couple of dollars.