Santiago de Cuba has been the second most important city historically after Havana, and still remains the second largest. It is in the southeastern area of the island and is an important sea port on a bay connected to the Caribbean Sea.
Founded by the Spanish in 1515, it’s known for colonial architecture and revolutionary history.
The city has distinctive Afro-Cuban cultural influences situated closer to Haiti and the Dominican Republic than to Havana, and those culture are on display during July’s Carnaval, a festival with drum-beating parades featuring colorful costumes and son dancing, a precursor to salsa.
Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s ashes are also buried at Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in this city.