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Santiago de Cuba is a city located in the south east of the Cuba, about 870 kilometres from Havana, the capital. It is the second largest city with population of about half a million.
Santiago de Cuba, in the town of the same name, is the largest and most famous festival in all of the country. For one whole week in July, the streets are transformed into a huge party which goes on all day and night. The entire week is filled with food, music and dancing, with stalls and stages lining the roads of a usually tame town. The highlight is a big musical performance at the Cuartel Moncada, which shouldn’t be missed.
Antonio Maceo Airport (SCU) serves Santiago de Cuba.
Domestic destinations include Havana, Holguin, Varadero, Caya Coco, Cayo Largo del Sur and Cienfuegos. International flights go to Montreal, Port-au-Prince, Santo Domingo, Toronto, Paris, Madrid and Ottawa.
There are scheduled charters to Miami as well.
Trains to Havana leave on a regular basis but are much slower than buses. They mostly take around 15-20 hours one way.
Buses serve most cities throughout Cuba, including regular night services (12 hours) to Havana.
Apart from the odd cruiseship, there are no scheduled services or other boats at all.
|Esperanza Homestay||Gral. Portuondo (Trinidad) #604 entre Pio Rosado (Carniceria) & Moncada||guesthouse||-|
|Hospedaje Maria||Rey Pelayo 83 e/ Reloj y Calvario||Hotel||-|
|Casa Nivia||General Portuondo (Trinidad) No 510 Hartman y General Banderas||Guesthouse||-|
|Santiago Center Green Colonial||San Félix (Hartmann) No. 313 313 entre Trinidad (General Po||Hostel||-|
|Hostal Aimee y Francisco||Santa Rita # 465. Entre Reloj y Calvario. Centro de la Ciudad||Guesthouse||-|
|Hostal Arnulfo y Pucha||Rey Pelayo 129 betwen Clarin y Reloj Santiago de Cuba||Hostel||-|
|Casa Colonial Nivia||Street General Portuondo 510 =Street Trinidad 510||Guesthouse||-|
|La Terraza Rosa||Calle Bravo Correoso 314 entre Calle 9n y Calle 10||Hostel||-|
|Amancer Guesthouse||Calle Santa Rita 465||Hostel||-|
|Hostel San Carlos||San Carlos or P. Salcedo St163||Hostel||-|
In many cities the only way for tourists to access the internet is through the government's communications centers. Look for buildings bearing the name "ETECSA", which stands for Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. ETECSA also has internet stations in some of the larger government hotels and resorts. The connection speed is comparable to analog dial-up speed in Havana or slower in smaller locations, at a cost of 6 CUC/hour. This is payable by purchasing a prepaid scratch card with a PIN code granting you access for one hour. The same card can be used throughout the country at any ETECSA terminal, allowing you to disconnect after your session and use the remaining time on the card further at the next hotel/city you go to.
WI-FI in hotels and restaurants is certainly uncommon if not non-existent and tourists should not rely on this being available when planning their means of communication.
See also International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to Cuba is 53. To make an international call from Cuba, the code is 119. The emergency number is 116 and information number 113.
GSM cell phones will work in Cuba (900 MHz). Cuba is one of the most expensive countries in which to communicate. When bringing your own cellphone, incoming phonecalls to Cuba cost about $1/minute. Outgoing calls from Cuba are similarly expensive, and can be as high as $5 per minute for making international when roaming with your cellphone from overseas.
A better way is to rent cellphones, which is possible at several stores in Havana, including one in the airport. The rates are 9 CUC per day (6 CUC for the phone and 3 CUC for the SIM card), plus about 36 cents a minute for prepaid cards. If you bring an unlocked GSM phone operating at 900 MHz (or quad-band world phone) you can buy a SIM card for 111 CUC, plus your prepaid minutes. If you're staying two weeks or more it makes sense to bring a cheap phone, buy a SIM card and prepaid minutes, then give the phone to a Cuban friend when you leave. Cellphones are among the most desired items for Cubans (bring a case for the phone too, Cubans are very fussy about keeping their phones scratch-free). You will have to go to a cellphone store with your friend and sign a paper to give the phone to your friend.
Correos de Cuba operates the Cuban postal service. They are generally quite slow, and delivery is never guaranteed. Mail is read by Cuba’s censors; avoid politically sensitive comments. Also, never send cash! Post offices (correos) usually are open weekdays 8:00am to 6:00pm and on Saturday 8:00am to 3:00pm, but hours can vary widely. Most tourist hotels accept mail for delivery as well, which might be a better option. International airmail (correo aereo) averages from at least 2 weeks to over one month, and even domestic posts might take 1-2 weeks. When mailing from Cuba, write at least the country destination in Spanish (as well). International postcards, cost CUC 0.50 to all destinations; letters cost CUC 0.80. Within Cuba, letters cost from 15 centavos (20 grams or less) to 2.05 pesos (up to 500 grams); postcards cost 10 centavos. Stamps are available in US dollars as well (if buying at hotels, this is actually your only option) and can be bought at hotels and blue and white kiosks labelled Correos de Cuba. Parcels from Cuba must be unwrapped for inspection. It is far better to send packages through an express courier service, like DHL or the Cuban local one (called EMS), although the same regulation applies.
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