You will be met at Santiago de Cuba Port by your Ya’lla Tours USA private Cuban guide to begin your tour.
Visit the historical center of Santiago de Cuba, a UNESCO world heritage site founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar in 1514. In 1516 the settlement was destroyed by fire and was immediately rebuilt. This was the starting point of the expeditions led by Juan de Grijalba and Hernán Cortés to the coasts of Mexico in 1518, and by Hernando De Soto to Florida in 1538.
Drive along one of the largest avenues in Santiago de Cuba, Avenidas Las Americas, flanked by the buildings of the Universidad de Oriente, the Instituto Superior de Construcción, the Villa Pan Americana and the Baseball Stadium Guillermo Moncada, which can hold about 25,000 spectators.
See the theatre Heredia and the vast Plaza de la Revolución Antonio Maceo, where the region’s major political and cultural gatherings are held.
Continue along Avenida de los Libertadores, which is lined with busts of the principal freedom fighters in the Latin American wars of independence.
Visit Céspedes Park, including the house of Don Diego Velazquez, the oldest house in Cuba, built in 1522. Once the official residence of the first Cuban governor, today it is the Museo de Ambiente Histórico Cubano.
Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, the first cathedral built in Cuba, in 1522, and the tallest wooden building in Cuba at the time. Today it houses the Archdiocese Museum, the only one of its kind in Cuba.
Walk a few steps to see the famous Padre Pico Street (Calle Padre Pico). In a series of curves and hills, it plunges into the working-class neighborhood of Tivolí via a long flight of stairs, the local children’s favorite playground. This area was founded and inhabited by French settlers who arrived in Santiago de Cuba starting in 1791. It has served as the setting for numerous films and is a hot spot during Carnival.
Visit the Emilio Bacardi Moreau Museum. Emilio, son of the rum king Bacardí, was a great benefactor of Santiago and the first mayor of Santiago de Cuba city. The first museum was founded in 1899 by Emilio Bacardí, but his wife, Elvira Cape, took charge of its construction. The original structure was small and not very secure. In August of 1922, the construction of this great museum-library began on its current site, chosen for its proximity to downtown. This museum has three exhibition rooms that coincide with its three levels. The first floor is dedicated to the history of Cuba, from colonization until the pseudo-republic. The second level exhibits fine art of Cuban and foreign artists. The archaeology room is located in the basement, with artifacts from Egypt and the Americas.
Have lunch at Matamoros restaurant.
After lunch, visit San Juan Hill, where Spanish troops faced their main defeat on July 1, 1898, during the Spanish-American War. After capturing the surrounding hills, General William Rufus Shafter laid siege to the city. Spain later surrendered to the United States after Admiral William T. Sampson destroyed the Spanish Atlantic fleet just outside Santiago's harbor on July 3, 1898.
Return to Santiago de Cuba port to rejoin your cruise.
This trip is conducted under a General License – Humanitarian project (section 515.575)
PLEASE NOTE: U.S. dollars, traveler's checks and credit cards are not accepted in Cuba.
If possible, exchange USD to CUC (Convertable Cuban Peso) on your cruise ship before arrival, in order to save time in port.