Things to Do in Santiago de Cuba Province

Sierra Maestra, Santiago de Cuba Province: Tickets, Tours, Hours, Address, Sierra Maestra Reviews: 4.5/5

Sierra Maestra
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Popular mentions

99 reviews
Very good

Linda A
Winnipeg, Canada338 contributions
La Plata hike, challenging and rewarding.
Dec 2019
Anyone interested in Cuban history (and who is physically fit) should visit the Comandancia, nestled in the Sierra Maestra.
Getting to La Plata presents its own challenge. This is not a well travelled area (for now) although excursions by some tour companies, via Santiago or Bayamo, are offered, as well as from the tour office in Santo Domingo. The steep roads from Santo Domingo to Parque Pico Turquino necessitate off-road vehicles, requiring pre-arrangement.
There are restrictions on hours of access because of the length of the trek – arrival at Alto de Naranjo before 10:00am is crucial. Competent guides lead you through the 3km trek, with a mid-stop for orientation (and bathroom breaks) – ours, George, was a life saver. Bring water, snacks if needed, and repellant.
It’s important to know your limitations here. In my group of 17 travellers of 30-to some really buff 70-year-olds, we were all challenged by the ungroomed trails. Wear reliable hiking boots or walking shoes because the terrain is gruesome: mud, clay, small rocks, huge boulders, no railings but frequent sheer drops on the side. (The air was tainted by many of my curses by the time we’d finished!)
Now for the rewards. It’s hard not to be impressed by the amount of fortitude required by Castro’s rebels to exist for a few years in this difficult habitat, or by the clever strategies used to remain hidden from Batista’s forces (such as keeping buildings spread apart, and even the growing of beards to identify infiltrators). A small wooden museum shows artifacts and displays about the rebels’ campaign, but elsewhere building reproductions are amazingly primitive, including the hospital. A read of some of Ché Guevara’s diaries provide a lot of insight into living conditions during this time.
As if this isn’t enough, there is also lots to see in this area besides the Comandancia. Wonderful flora and fauna abound everywhere, ..a Cuban Trogan, the national bird, perched in a tree near Fidel’s cabin while I was there – does it get more perfect than that?
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Colleen S
Wellington, New Zealand21 contributions
Loved the Mountain's
May 2019 • Couples
I'm 67 and managed this hike - was not easy, but so was worth the climb - no wonder the Army could not find Fidel Castro. Of all our 14 day tour this was a highlight for me - not to be missed
Written May 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We love to show the Cuban history to our visitors. We are so glad that you enjoyed your tour. We give our best everyday. The Bayamo Travel Agent team
Written May 22, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

United States332 contributions
Love this mountain range!
Jan 2019 • Solo
Hiked the mountain using a novice level tour. It was a little challenging because I’ve never hiked a mountain before, but well worth the energy!! The Sierra maestra is a spectacular mountain range and has no snakes!! The beauty is breathtaking and its history is majestic. I learned so much about the revolution of the country, it was amazing. Can’t wait to go back again. Viva La Cuba 🇨🇺 !! ❤️❤️❤️
Written April 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Judith S
5 contributions
La Comandancia and La Platics
Feb 2019
It was great hiking in the Sierra Meastra and learning so many things about the revolution and Cuban history. But our real highlight was La Platica. From La Comandancia we went back to Alto Naranjo and then it was about 1 km to get to La Platica. La Platica is an ecovillage in the middle of Sierra Maestra. Ciro showed us around and cooked a great lunch and dinner on a ecofriendly stove. We were the only guests there and enjoyed the quite and the beauty of the nature. All together an authentic and wonderful experience and not some crowded touristic place. If you book your trip to La Comandancia you should definately ask if they can take you to La Platica afterwards.
Written March 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

1 contribution
Bayamo Travel- Ruta de la Revolución
Feb 2019 • Couples
If you are curious about the Cuban Revolution, are a strong hiker and have intermediate or better Spanish, this might be the adventure for you! Only 20 people have completed this multi day trek into the Sierra Maestra mountains with the informed and connected guide, Leonel. You will stay with campasino families and retrace the steps of Fidel and Che and their band of idealistic intellectual revolutionaries as they escaped to the high ground and established the comandancia. Contact Anley at Bayamo Travel.
Written February 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
It was great pleasure to show you a mostly unseen part of Cuba. We are so glad to hear that you liked the tour and that also you recommend it. The people you met they all send “saludos” to you. Not many people have done this tour or do it very often so they truly remember you. You are more than welcomed to come back to Cuba. On you next trip you can try our 1 week “Tour Eastern Cuba” where you will also see a part of Cuba not seen in magazines or on the internet. A real Cuba, some places still untouched. Best regards from all the team Olmis, Leonel and Anley. Amigos de Cuba
Written September 24, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

2 contributions
Turquino trek in one day
Feb 2019 • Solo
I did the Pico Turquino from Santiago in one day, rather than the normal two by climbing from the sea side.
Usually the Pico is climbing from Santo Domingo on a two-day hike, first to a hut, then to the summit. However, there is a less well known path to the summit from the south side which can be reached from Santiago within 2 hours. The hike is longer and tougher than the Santo Domingo route, and far less travelled. It is, however, very rewarding and there is a great home-cooked lunch included in the park entrance fee.
The guides are very competent and happy to show "their" Sierra to you.

I would recommend this trek to any one who is in good shape and maybe pressed for time.

Length: 22km (11km up, 11km down), ascent ~2000m; coffee and lunch on the way
Written February 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The guides in Las Cuevas are very friendly and the food there is delicious. Next time try our tour from one side to the other in 2 days. Northern (Santi Domingo) to Southern (Las Cuevas) or southern to northern. And combine it with the Comandancia de la Plata excursión, both hike in 2 days. Transport from Bayamo to Santo Domingo or from Las Cuevas to Santiago de Cuba or viceversa also provided with the best rates. Saludos Anley Rosales Benítez
Written September 24, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tim R
Huddersfield, UK18 contributions
Visit to La Comendancia de lat Plata, and ascent of Pico Turquino
Nov 2018 • Couples
This was part of holiday arranged by Evaneos, but with Ecotur providing guide / driver. Local guides also booked for treks in the national park.
After staying overnight in Santo Domingo we travelled by taxi (one of a fleet of modern Korean 4WD vehicles used by Ecotur) up the steepest road in Cuba to Alto de Naranja and a car turning area.
From there, we we trekked up to La Comendancia de la Plata, a series of huts used by Fidel and the rebel army. We continued to the top of the peak past huts with original equipment, including radio transmitter, and an English generator from Lincolnshire. At the summit is a large hole (like a well) where the radio antenna was hidden during the day, and brought out to broadcast at night.
On our return bought fresh coconut near the car turning area, then carried on to the village of La Platica. We followed the "road" which was deeply rutted by trucks used to bring in supplies of fuel oil, then down a stepped path to La Platica, where we were to spend the night.
La Platica is a small community of perhaps 40 houses with and a community hall / TV room.
Despite its isolation La Platica is provided with running water, and electricity from a small hydro-electric plant. We took an eveniing stroll (which turned in to a muddy slippy trek up and down a steep path) to view the plant and passed a small community of huts whose only access was via the rough path.
At our accommodation was a small bar with a flat screen TV and large bottle of local rum. We were joined by a small group of musicians from the village, and as the only guests tipped them 10 cuc.
We set off at 9am for the start of our 2 day ascent of Pico Turuino and return. We were joined near the start by a group of 2 Norwegians and a Belgian less than half our age and all very fit! We arrived early afternoon at Camp Joachin, our next accommodation) and had lunch, We were travelling in November to avoid the rainy season, but this meant that sunset came at about 5.30 pm. As it was now around 2pm, we agreed with the guide that it would be better to complete the ascent and return the following day, rather than descend in darkness. Instead we would start early (Breakfast at 3.45pm, and begin the ascent by torchlight.
With hindsight it would have been better to have left La Platica at 6pm, and done the ascent and return to Camp Joaquim in one day. This was the original plan, but itseemed to have changed as our guide to La Comendancia was ill, and we were joining the other three and guide who started from Santo Domingo that day.
The camp was the most basic of our stay in Cuba - the dormitory hut was divided in to 2 sections with a single light bulb suspended between them and no switch there for it (later found to be up the hill in the main cabin). No running water, so needed to fill a bucket from the water tank for both the "showers" and toilets. Also a latrine. At night it was cold. We were provided with blankets, but I also needed to put on my fleece - the only time I needed it in our 3 week stay.
Next morning it was very dark when we left at 4.30, with any moonlight hidden by the forest canopy, as we ascended the first of the 4 peaks on the up. Torches were essential - fortunately I had my head torch, and Thor (one of the Norwegians) had 2 very useful Poi balls. Later as we made our way along a ridge we were lit by the full moon to the west and the rising sun in the east.
We summitted at 7.30, and spent about half an hour taking pictures of ourselves and the statue of Jose Marti at the top.
We said our goodbyes to the boys who were descending to the coast along an apparently easier path, but with a return to Santa Domingo along what our guide said was one of the worst roads in Cuba (which must be very bad), then began or descent to Alto de Naranja. We by-passed La Platica, but the route seemed if anything even longer, and with endless ascents and descents. The estimated 16k for the day turned in to more like 25k (15 miles), which in the humid conditions and amount of ascent / descent was quite strenuous. Our local guide said he can do it twice a day!

If you are an experienced walker with the right equipment, this is a must do for any Cuban visit
Written December 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Georgie R
London, UK30 contributions
Amazing experience
Nov 2018 • Couples
An amazing experience. A highlight of our trip. Herado from Ecotour really made it for us. He went above and beyond to make it as special as possible. He couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful, and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of the area and of the guerrilla campaign in the Sierra Maestra.

Climbing Pico Turqino took ten hours, five hours uphill and five hours downhill,
which was very steep and slippery. Take as much water as you can carry (we took three litres each). If you want something less challenging Ecotour do various different hikes in Sierra Maestra, including to waterfalls. Their office in Parque Cespedes in Santiago de Cuba has all the info.
Written November 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

7 contributions
From north to south
Sep 2018 • Friends
I have always wanted a hike in the Sierra Maestra where I could spend more than a day around the area. I have visited Comandancia de la Plata, something that I really enjoyed thanks to Anley Rosales Benítez and his team of guides and drivers. This time I wanted something harder and I talked to them, again. The first day I wanted some warm up, like a riverside walk, and there it was. They drove me 8 km before Santo Domingo and dropped me off there. Holmis walked with me along the riverside up to Santo Domingo while Anley drove my heavy climbing gear up to Santo Domingo. It took us like 5 hours to get to the casa in Santo Domingo, a very nice one with a back yard terrace overlooking the Yara river. Clean room, good food and very nice breakfast. Next morning we visited La Comandancia de la Plata with Luis Ángel, a guy born and raised in Santo Domingo whose family owned the local museum. He has a lots of stories to tell, no English but we went through because Miguel the guide was a really nice interpreter. After 4 hours of tales and nice chat we head back to La Platica where we had lunch. Once we got to La Aguada shelter it was already dark, it was supper time. The shelter has basic things as well as meals. The second day started at 06:00 after breakfast. We were told by Bayamo Travel Agent team at their office that that was the hardest part and indeed it was, the first 800 meters, steep and hard. Later on we got to the summit but before we had a very nice sunrise view. Early wake up was worth the try ;). After the top of Pico Turquino where you can’t barely see down the hill we started to descend with very nice views of the Caribbean ocean and the Sierra Maestra mountain range dark green and dark blue. Last 4 km were difficult, loose rocks trails down. Once in Las Cuevas around 14:00 hours, our transport arranged before hand was waiting there. An hour for lunch and then 30 minutes at a very nice white sand beach that the driver new and allowed us to enjoy. We arrived in Santiago de Cuba by 19:00 hours, tired but satisfied. Thanks everyone we will do it again but from south to north. One more thing La Ruta de la Revolución is 3rd on the to-do list.
Written October 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi there. It was a huge pleasure to help you out. If your friends are coming aske them to give us a call so we can help them out organizing their trip. Always a pleasure to have you in Bayamo. Next trip we will Travel in the Eastern Cuba for 10 days. kind reagards Anley Rosales Benitez
Written October 6, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

The Rocks, Australia1,755 contributions
Sierra Maestra, port and harbour
Dec 2017 • Friends
A leisurely stroll either way along Avenida del Puerto starting at the Sierra Maestra ferry terminal will give you a different sight of Old Havana, one that trades the cafes & the souvenir shops for a vista of the city’s attractive harbour & historical remnants. South on the port road will take you to the Club Rum Museum for a bit of background on the national beverage of choice for Cubans. North on Av Puerto will lead you to the 16th century Castle of Royal Force on the left. Look to the right for views of Havana’s impressive harbour (Bahia de la Habana) & glimpses of the historic San Carlos fortifications over on the eastern peninsula (Habana del este).
Written August 12, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 52
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing