Santiago De Cuba, Cuba Vacations

Our Opinion of Santiago De Cuba

Cuba's second largest city, Santiago de Cuba, is the most Caribbean of the island's cities since it was greatly influenced by immigration and trade from other Caribbean islands. The influences range from African, Spanish and the French West Indies.

It is proud of its revolutionary heroes, beautiful squares and vibrant musical tradition. And it is known particularly for its carnival.

The magnificent landscape of the city is surrounded by impressive Sierra Maestra and links it to the sea. Santiago is a city of hills so bring good walking shoes.

Historically Santiago de Cuba has long been the second most important city on the island after Havana, and still remains the second largest. It is on a bay connected to the Caribbean Sea and is an important sea port. In 2004 the city of Santiago de Cuba had a population of about 494,337 people.

Things to know about Santiago De Cuba, Cuba Vacations

Activities & Sports
The coastal beaches have all the services and water sports, like kayaking or sailing and windsurfing, ready to use.

Great scuba diving and snorkeling with extremely well-preserved coral reefs and crystal clear waters. The Sigua, Daiquiri, Bucanero and Sierra Mar diving areas are part of the 73 regional dive sites.

The Marina Punta Gorda has excellent docking facilities and offers sailing tours. From here you can rent a boat for a wonderful fishing expedition in fresh waters.

Go on a horseback ride on the mountain paths.

Dining & Nightlife
Tropicana Santiago is a grand cabaret devoted mostly to Cuban-Caribbean rhythms. But it also features other fine artistic performances and excellent cuisine and beverages. Another one to try is the San Pedro del Mar Cabaret.

There are countless bars and discotheques to party the night away. Some mentions include the Club Tropical, Club la Iris (with karaoke) and Club 3000.

Traditional and cultural performances abound as well at the Casa de la Tradiciones Populares, Casa de la Trova and Cafe-concert Niagara to name a few.

Restaurants offering traditional fare include El Morro, Casa Granda, Santiago 1900 and Casa de Don Antonio. This is a great city to try out a Cuban paladar, a private (non state) restaurant that is usually family run. A safe one to try is the Paladar Salon Tropical that offers often chickpea stew, pork cordon bleu, shish kabobs, liver, and barbecued chicken.

Cuban cigars, rum and coffee are the most popular souvenirs, followed by wood handicraft and congas. Cuban music recordings are a must as well.

Santiago de Cuba claims to have some of the best rum in all the Caribbean.

Flying time from:
Approximately 3 hours 30 minutes.
Montreal: Approximately 4 hours.

Languages: Spanish, English widely spoken in tourist areas.
Currency: CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso); CAD dollars easily exchanged but subject to 8% conversion fee (10% for US dollars and 11.24% for credit card charges). US-issued credit cards and travellers cheques are not accepted in Cuba.
Climate: Santiago has a tropical hot climate that is moderated by trade winds. The rainy season runs from May through October.
Electricity: 110V or 220V (converters required) depending on hotel.

Canadian citizens require a valid passport to enter Cuba. All other nationalities please consult a vacation specialist or the Cuban Consulate at (416)234-8181 or the Cuban Tourist Board at (416) 362-0700.

Cuba tourist cards are supplied & validated with vacation packages. Some restrictions apply to tourists 18 years & under, when travelling without parents.

Note: Some hotels require credit card imprint upon check-in for any incidental charges. Hotel check-in is typically between 3pm and 4pm. If your flight arrives early, it is a good idea to pack essential items in your carry-on luggage (i.e. bathing suit, suntan lotion, medications, etc.), so you do not miss any valuable vacation time.

IMPORTANT:Each travelling passenger is responsible to pay a local departure tax in Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). This fee is payable in cash at the airport in destination prior to boarding your flight, in the amount of CUC$25 (subject to change). makes every effort to ensure that information on this page is current, however, all information on this page is subject to change without notice.