Cuba Travel Adventures Group|1550-G Tiburon Blvd. Ste. 345, Tiburon, CA 94920|(415) 789-9398|

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CTAG tours have been licensed and conducted under U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) License No. CT-2013-304351-1, and presently are conducted pursuant to the general license as a U.S. company authorized by OFAC / CFR § 515.574 (Support for the Cuban People) and CFR § 515.575 (Humanitarian projects)

CTAG is a registered travel service provider (TSP) with the Office of Attorney General, Department of Justice of the State of California pursuant to Reg. #CST#2122898-40

© 2019 by Cuba Travel Adventures Group


Julia Sawalha


Santiago de Cuba, second largest city in Cuba, is on the other end of the Cuban isle from Havana and served historically as it also does today as an important port on a bay connected to the Caribbean.

Santiago de Cuba was the fifth village founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar on July 25, 1515.  The following year, the settlement was destroyed by fire, but was immediately rebuilt.  From 1522 until 1589 Santiago was the capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba. The city experienced an influx of French and British immigrants in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many coming from Haiti after the Haitian slave revolt of 1791. The multicultural inflow of immigrants added to the city's diversity.  Santiago de Cuba was also the location where Spanish troops faced their biggest defeat in the Spanish–American War of 1898.

Santiago de Cuba is well known for its traditional dances, notably Son, from which Salsa is derived, along with Guaguancó, which is accompanied only by percussion. The city is also known for its extravagant Carnival celebration in July.  A large number of Santiago dweller practice Afro-Cuban religions, notably Santería which is derived from the Haitian “voodoo”.

Visitors to the City will enjoy the variety of its architectural styles from Baroque to Neoclassical.  Of special interest are Santiago’s wooded parks, its steep streets, and colonial buildings with huge windows and crowded balconies. Santiago boasts the very first Western home in the Americas, the first cathedral in Cuba, the first copper mine in the Americans (Cobre Mine) as well as Cuba’s first museum. The local citadel of San Pedro de la Roca is on the UNESCO World Heritage sites, was built on the basis of Italian and Renaissance design principles, and is touted as the world’s most complete and best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture.

Nature abounds on day and overnight trips from the base of Santiago de Cuba, principally to world class beaches, undulating verdant hills and to the amazing nature of the Baracoa that is highlighted in a companion post on Cuba Travel Adventures Group’s website...Best-preserved cities in the Caribbean.


Tourism from Western countries is a major source of income in the city. Trinidad's principal current industry other than tourism is tobacco processing.


Since its founding, Trinidad was able to grow economically though the labor of slaves imported from Africa to work the area’s production of sugar cane, cattle, and tobacco. This growth funded extravagant palaces, large plazas and colorful colonial homes for rich plantation owners. Much of the remarkable Spanish colonial architecture remains, making it a must-see stop on anyone’s prolonged travels around the Cuban isle.


Visitors to Trinidad can stroll the cobblestoned streets of Plaza Mayor in the center of town, listen to live music, including nightly widespread musical entertainment and salsa dancing outdoors at Casa de la Musica, drink fresh sugar cane juice, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, meet the warm and friendly locals and visit Trinidad’s cultural monuments and museums.


Nearby nature abounds.  One of Cuba’s best beaches is less than 45 minutes from Trinidad at Playa Ancon, boasting of some of the island’s best snorkeling and diving.  The paradise of the Escambray Mountains offers dramatic scenery and moderate to strenuous hikes ending at lovely waterfalls, off the beaten track to most tourists, and for a “history lesson” on the sugar industry, Cuba’s “lost economy,” travelers can allow a half-day trip to the Valley of the Sugar Mills, including a climb up “El Torre” (the Tower) for a 360-degree panorama of lush inland valleys, town and the sea.