Inside Cuba: Tips on the Central and Eastern Sides of the Island

Topes de Collantes

Topes de Collantes

Museum of Cuban Rum in Santiago de Cuba

Museum of Cuban Rum in Santiago de Cuba

Sanctuary for the Patroness of Cuba Virgen del Cobre in Santiago de Cuba

Sanctuary for the Patroness of Cuba Virgen del Cobre in Santiago de Cuba

Cobblestone streets in trinidad

Cobblestone streets in Trinidad

Cuba stays as one of the golden jewels yet to discover in depth in the Caribbean. The largest island with 2321 miles of coastline offers a variety of interests for any traveler, including amazing blue beaches and dazzling coral reefs. I will be talking about Havana more in depth in a later post; the capital itself has a myriad of fun, romantic, historical and exciting experiences to offer.US citizens can visit the country in deluxe tours on a 7-nights tour to connect with Cuban people and local culture.

Today I want to write about the central and eastern part of the island, and specifically Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba. Only the south part of Cuba is washed by the Caribbean sea, and a fun fact locals will tell you about is that the beaches are actually warmer on the south, as north beaches are all in the Atlantic Ocean. The best city to visit at the central south of Cuba is Trinidad. This is a small, picturesque city with over 500 years since the Spanish colonization. It has cobblestone streets and terracotta tiles on most roofs. This city is close to Topes de Collantes, a natural reserve in the Escambray Mountains range in Cuba. There are escorted tours to the park falls, including specialized tours for bird-watching where endemic species are also spotted.

My recent trip to Cuba was during its hottest and most humid months, May through August, where temperatures reach over 80oF with 100% humidity! So, if you are planning to go during these months, stay always hydrated. If hiking or strolling in the cities is one of your favorite things to do, try keeping a raincoat in your bag, because it could rain three out seven days a week. However, they are usually short rains and you will feel relieved of the heat a little bit afterwards. Hurricane season in Cuba is also during this rainy season, but tourists are always very well taken care of and have available all safety measures if they happen to encounter that incident during their stay.

Located on the east side, Santiago de Cuba is, in many ways, the hottest city in the island. Traditional music, exotic dancing, history and splendid nature combine to offer another look of the country. An important place to visit is the Museum of Rum, which tells the whole history about Cuban rum, starting from the Caney, which is for many, regarded as the best Cuban rum. However, Havana Club is the most commercialized one. Bacardi’s family is said to start with the original recipe for Caney, which now they commercialize as Bacardi, after leaving the country during the revolution triumph in 1959. Here in Santiago, I visited Casa de la Musica that offers a show almost every night. Tropicana Santiago is another show venue with traditional music and dancing. Another interesting place is the main sanctuary for La Caridad, (also known as Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre) who is the Patroness of Cuba. The Pope Juan Pablo II visited the sanctuary in 1998 and blessed the Virgin.

In general, locals are very friendly and welcoming. Food is very tasty and seafood is the specialty almost everywhere. Lobster meals can be as cheap as $8 with a generous portion and homemade garnish (usually rice and beans Cuban style and fried banana called tostones) so delicious! And food is not spicy at all, although Cubans cook with strong spices like cumin in almost everything and some garlic.

Stay tuned for more! Or contact me if you need any help planning your next adventure to Cuba.

Lizandra Jimenez Rodriguez | Vacation Specialist
Branch: Carmel Mountain
11885 Carmel Mountain Road, Suite 906 | San Diego, CA | Google Directions
Toll-Free: (800) 795-0720 | Direct Line: (858) 592-7541

About Me :

Born and raised Cuban, love music, dancing, and traveling to learn about different cultures, history and architecture. I have been in the Leisure, Hospitality and Travel industry for about 10 years with experience in personalized customer service and Health&Safety guidelines for Caribbean destinations.
I promote a fun, cultural and romantic tourism experience for all my clients. Personally, I have learned that getting to know locals, their cuisine, their history and customs would make your trip transcendental.


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