Official language: Spanish
Time zone: UTC-4 (summer), UTC-5 (winter)
Currency: Cuban convertible peso (CUC)
In a port district, in the first line of buildings by a gulf, there is an old, port restaurant. In the evenings there are thrown out there thunderous dance parties with beer produced at spot pouring out from the bar.
At calle Heredia, step by Museo del Carnaval. You can see there colourful, Caribbean carnival costumes and even if you have luck – witness modern and traditional dance shows.
From Plaze de Marte all the way to the port there is stretched out the boardwalk – along the street Jose Antonio Saco you can see Cuba in a nutshell: old gentleman playing domino, dancing couples and street vendors.
A city in the eastern part of the island, inhabited mostly by descendants of African slaves. As in the whole eastern part of Cuba, there are dominating African traditions – dance or beliefs are strongly mixed with Latino American culture, but you can feel their distinctiveness. The city was the first capital of the country. It has many preserved baroque buildings from time of the Spanish domination. Due to its mountain landscape and many steep streets, Santiago de Cuba is compared to Los Angeles.
If you want to take a ride in old Buick, Santiago de Cuba is the best place. Contrary to Havana, old vehicles are not serving there only for touristic goals, but are main mean of transportations. In the city’s centre you will find tram railways, even though trams are long gone from streets.
To understand Cuban’s cult of ancestors, go to a cemetery Sana Ifigenia, where not only Fidel Castro is buried, but also poets, writers, sportsmen, musicians that played important role in the island’s history. Each tomb is a small masterpiece, and they all are connected by material they are made from – white marble.
Step by a home of Diego Velazquez by Felix Pena Street. It is the oldest preserved house on the island, the famous conquistador used to live there just after he founded the city Santiago in 1515. Interiors are looking like Velazquez would just left the house. Especially interesting is the kitchen with original plates from that époque.
If you got hungry while on a walk, look out for shops, where sandwiches or pieces of pizza are sold; they are on every street. For dinner go to St. Paula at Plaza de Marte. You will have there a true Cuban feast. Taste standard Cuban dish – ropa vieja is typical, long-cooked beef. Order to it rice with beans and of course cerveza, beer that goes well with almost every local dish. They also have there fantastic seafood.