Santiago de Cuba's Outstanding Natural & Patrimonial Destinations
By Ivette Fernández, Photos: Publicitur
Different natural and patrimonial sites are included among the attractions tourists can enjoy in the Santiago de Cuba province, about 800 kilometers east of Havana.
At the Segundo Frente municipality, 60 kilometers from the provincialcapital, authorities of the area foster the development of hiking and visits to monuments related to important events of the country’s national history.
Representative of the ECOTUR Travel Agency in Santiago de Cuba, Reina Alayo, highlighted that as Segundo Frente is a mountainous municipality, historical and nature tourism go hand in hand.
In addition to providing options for tourists to visit historical sites, we have also designed offers such as hiking and horse riding, Alayo commented. One of the places in which people can go hiking or do horse riding includes Vega Bellaca, an important historical site during the wars of independence against Spain that was used as the center of operations by Founding Father Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and Army General Antonio Maceo.
Hiking in Loma de Mícara, an exceptional viewpoint in the area, is a unique opportunity for those who are interested in knowing about the foundation of Segundo Frente during the guerrilla fights conducted in the last century.
The Segundo Frente Oriental Frank País Mausoleum is also located in the area. This beautiful site renders tribute to the heroes who fell in the war for the country’s freedom or after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.
In this area, visitors can enjoy one of the most rewarding experiences in the Cuban countryside, Alayo said.
The country folks’ home allows visitors to know about rural life in Cuba, while trips to places such as the agro-ecological farms reveal the features of productive practices in the region, particularly those related to the harvest and production of coffee.
Other trips allow visitors to enjoy other attractions that are common in the territory, like bird watching, snorkeling or diving.
According to authorities, diving is one of the main attractions because of the presence in the Santiago de Cuba Bay of over five ships sunken during the renowned Cuban-Spanish-American naval battle that took place in this eastern city.
Another option is visiting El Cobre town, the seat of the Sanctuary dedicated to Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint, and the area where Latin America’s first outdoor mines were located.
Marisol Rodriguez, Director of the Ministry of Tourism of Santiago province, said that Photo tomb and monument of Jose Martí in the San Ifigenia Cemetery said that this site witnessed the first rebellious actions by the slaves, a reason why the monument that renders tribute to the runaway slaves was located on top of the area’s hill. In addition, visitors can appreciate the ruins of the coffee plantations located in the surrounding area, which show the imprint of the Franco-Haitian culture in Cuba and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Important artistic expressions can also be enjoyed in Santiago de Cuba. These include the Steel Band, a percussion group that uses barrels and steel-made drums to play the typical rhythms of the Anglo-Saxon Caribbean, and Tumba Francesa, a set of musical and dance expressions that were declared a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage by UNESCO.