The province of Santiago comprises the south-central region of Oriente or Cuba’s eastern region. Although it is the second most populated province in the island, it gives the impression of being remotely located out at the extreme eastern end of the island, up in Cuba’s most mountainous region. Santiago been a hotbed of rebellion and sedition for centuries and it is where the Revolution was sparked in 1953 with the infamous attack on a the Moncada barracks. Santiago’s cultural influences have often come from the east, imported via Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados and Africa. The province is often cited as being Cuba’s most “Caribbean” enclave, with a raucous West Indian–style carnival and a cache of folklóric dance groups that owe as much to French-Haitian culture as they do to Spanish. In the 16th and early 17th centuries, Santiago de Cuba, the capital of the province, enjoyed a brief spell as Cuba’s capital until it was usurped by Havana in 1607.
Drive along the coast in either direction from the provincial capital and you’re on a different planet, a land full of rugged coves, crashing surf, historical coffee plantations and hills covered with spectacular endemic vegetation. The province is rich in material resources such as iron and nickel. The economy; however, relies mostly on agriculture, with large plantations growing bananas, cacao, and coffee, dotting the landscape. The natural beauty of Santiago de Cuba attracts all kinds visitors from Cuba and from all over the world.
PLACES & THINGS
Our two week trip was a great experience. The staff was impeccable with every aspect of the journey, from arrival in Miami for the charter flight to the amazing restaurants, walking tours and music excursions. To coordinate over 150 travelers for a premium tour would have been impossible without their wealth of knowledge and attention to detail. For myself, the band, and many of our guests, the trip was one of the best experiences of our lives!
— Director of Development, Preservation Hall Foundation, New Orleans.