The buildings in this colonial city are only one or two storeys high
Santiago, Cuba's second largest city, easily rivals Havana in terms of beauty. The Centro district is home to Parque Cespedes, one of the most beautiful spots in the whole of Cuba, with the cathedral and the house of Diego Velazquez. There you can revel in the music of the troubadours of Santiago, at the Casade la Trova, and visit the museum of the Carnival, which takes place in July. Located some eight miles away from Santiago, the Basilica of Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre is the most important shrine in Cuba and is where the Virgin of Copper is worshipped. Choose the hotels on the beach if you only want to see the urban districts of Santiago. The 'all inclusive' club-hotels are quite a distance from town.
You should take time to stroll through the old neighbourhoods and their narrow streets. See the cathedral and the various squares or plazas. The museums to visit are those of the Carnival and Diego Velazquez.
Santiago de Cuba is one of the most charming cities in the Carribean, its town centre is small but lovely. Santiago de Cuba is the cradle of son music.
The Santiago carnival takes place in July and is the biggest on the island.
Avoid making negative or critical comments about Fidel Castro, or ask their opinion on the political regime; this may make Cubans feel uncomfortable.
Cuban cuisine is quite simple and not diverse. Chicken and rice are its main staples. It is common for potatoes, fried bananas and yams to be served with the main meal. Make it your mission to taste the local lobster!
Of course, Cuban rum is excellent, as are the cigars. The local shirts, known as guayabera and straw hats guajiro are also a good buy. As for the music, you will find many recordings by local artists.
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