Transfer to Santiago de Cuba
Descend from the cool peaks of the Sierra Maestra to the tropical city of Santiago de Cuba on Cuba's far eastern coast, a journey of around 3.5 hours.
You may wish to stop on the way to visit the Church of La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, dedicated to Cuba's patron saint, previously visited by both former popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Learn the mystic story of the Virgen de la Caridad, climb the hill to the Cimarrón monument which is a sculpture created in bronze and iron to honour one of the earliest slave revolts that took place in the country. Up there, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful view to the blue lagoon.
Physically closer to Kingston, Jamaica than to Havana, Santiago de Cuba is the stronghold of Afro-Cuban culture in Cuba and has a fearsome musical, cultural and political heritage. Overpoweringly hot and humid, Santiago swings to its own laidback vibe.
Though it's Cuba's second city, it feels compact, with a handful of key monuments and nightspots. Don't miss the Casa de la Trova, where the city's legendary rumba can be heard. Socialist to the core, Santiago was a key stronghold during the nascent stages of the Revolution.
The Moncada Barracks, where Fidel led a failed coup in 1953, are worth a visit, as is the Castillo del Morro, the old fortress, a romantic place to watch the sunset with panoramic views.
On the cultural side, don't miss Santiago's wealth of smaller museums, such as Museo Emilio Bacardi Moreau, the home of the cultural treasures of the Floridian émigré and rum king (he collected everything from Egytian mummies to creepy artifacts of slavery). The best time to visit Santiago is in sticky August, when the city explodes in a long, colourful, summer carnival.
You will be staying at San Basilio, bed and breakfast