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Santiago de Cuba


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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 rebellion, being part of Oriente, an area known as the cradle of the Revolution. These days it has been earmarked as a prime tourist destination and, with its beautiful physical setting, it seems destined to become one of the most popular and visited areas of Cuba.

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 colorful streets sweep up and down steep hills. 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...

Many also believe that Santiago de Cuba also has the best music scene in Cuba.