Tailor Made Cuba Planning Guide
Where to go in Cuba, what to do and how to experience this complex and beautiful island beyond the beaches.
Unlike other Cuban towns, Santiago has a lively and cosmopolitan mix of Afro-Caribbean flavours, due to the influence of the French planters and Haitians who made the short journey and settled there in the last century.
Santiago de Cuba is Cuba's second biggest city, found in the far south-east of the island, and has long been Havana's rival in literature, music and politics. It is also regarded as the 'Cradle of the Revolution', home to the revolutionary movement and site of the failed attack on the Moncada Barracks led by Fidel Castro in July 1953. It was from the balcony of the Santiago City Hall that Castro proclaimed the victory of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
Unlike other Cuban towns, Santiago has a lively and cosmopolitan mix of Afro-Caribbean flavours, due to the influence of the French planters and Haitians who made the short journey and settled there in the last century. The narrow dusty streets and Spanish Colonial architecture of historical centre are full of the hustle and bustle of daily life, yet with an ambience of shabbiness and faded grandeur.
Music is an important part of Santiago's culutral life, and was the home of Compay Segundo who went on to form part of the Buena Vista Social Club. You can barely turn a corner in Santiago without hearing the rhythms or sensuous tones or one of the city's many bands or collectives.
10 Nights from £2,532
Cuba projects a surreal mise-en-scene of classic cars, cyclists and derelict buildings, standing next to pristine, beautifully renovated colonial squares with cafes
6 Nights from £1,797
Explore the fascinating and surreal city of Havana. Enjoy the Caribbean climate and relaxed pace of life, while learning about Cuba's dramatic history and its unique society
10 Nights from £2,629
Explore Cuba's rich culture and history, admiring the colonial facades in Havana and Trinidad. And relax on a white sandy Caribbean beach
We were very impressed by the transport as our drivers were helpful and always on time. Our guides were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and their command of English could not have been bettered.
Our hotels were very good and our guides, Marvin, Mariel & Fernando were excellent: They had exceptional knowledge and made absolutely sure that our Peruvian experience was of the highest quality.
All the guides we had were excellent. We were contacted by phone twice by Veloso Tours' representatives who checked if we were satisfied and offered assistance if required.
Our Argentinean guides and drivers were excellent, especially in Purmamarca and Iguazu: very knowledgeable and helpful.
All guides were excellent: Malla was a pleasant young lady, Hildana had a perfect mix of humour and friendliness, Manuel provided useful information and Fernando was enthusiastic and knowledgeable.