Fly to Santiago de Cuba, a bustling and vibrant city in the south of this Caribbean island.
Antonio Maceo Airport (SCU)
The Santiago Antonio Maceo Airport is named for an important figure in the Cuban Army of Independence, the General Jose Antonio de la Caridad Maceo y Grajales. This airport is primarily used for domestic flights around Cuba, but hosts international flights from nearby Canada, USA and other countries in the Caribbean. SCU Airport has a comprehensive list of services, offering an information desk, tourist and travel agency counters, a currency exchange, a pharmacy, a duty free shop, restaurants and cafes and access to phones for national and international dialling. Unfortunately there is no internet access, free or otherwise, at this airport.
Airlines to Santiago
There are a few airlines that fly to Santiago de Cuba. These airline carriers fly from North America and the Caribbean, so if you are travelling from Europe, Asia, Africa or Australasia you will need to transfer from international hubs like Miami (MIA), Montreal (YUL), or Toronto (YYZ).
Flights to Santiago are operated by Aero Caribbean, Aerogaviota, American Airlines (Charter), American Eagle (Charter), Cubana de Aviacion, Sunrise Airways and Sunwing Airlines.
Getting into Santiago
The taxi rank can be located just outside the main terminal. The ride into downtown is short and sweet, taking about 15 minutes and costing around 10CUC ($14).
You can find car hire companies in the Arrivals Hall of the airport, where Cubacar, Rex, Havanautos and Via Transgaviota car companies all have counters. You are advised to book well in advance, as in high season you will have trouble securing a vehicle.
What can you do in Santiago?
Though Santiago doesn’t share the international reputation that Havana does, this is a city that has been integral to Cuba’s history and its cultural heritage.
Start at the Parque Cespedes, a busy city square where you can see all the walks of life in Santiago, as well as some of the city’s most famous buildings, such as the Cathedral Asuncion, the house of Spanish conquistador Diego Velazquez, or even grab a drink at the terrace bar in the Hotel Casa Granda where Graham Greene once frequented.
Culture vultures should also head to the Plaza de la Revolucion (a staple in Havana too), where Fidel Castro famously delivered many of his speeches. Or go further back in time, and travel just outside of Santiago, around 10km out, to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Castillo del Morro, a 17th century fortress that teeters on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Santiago.
If you love the outdoors, Santiago offers up some of the beautiful sandy stretches the Caribbean is known for. Visit Playa Cazonal, Caleton Blano, or Siboney for warm waters, white sands, and great views.
When should you go?
There are two main peak periods in Cuba, and these are from December-March and July-August. In the first period, temperatures are generally between 21-24°C, though the temperature can drop at low as 15°C at night. In July and August, you’ll find averages of about 27°C, as well as the city lighting up with summer festivals.
What do you need to know?
Currency: Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC)
Visas: Most foreign nationals travelling to Cuba will need to apply for a visa in advance of their travel. To apply, you must contact the Cuban Embassy closest to your locality, if accepted, you will be issued a tourist card which allows you a duration of stay for up to 30 days. Please note, you will not be allowed on the flight without a valid visa.
Please note all information is current as of November 2015.
Flexible where you fly? Search nearby airports for bigger savings.
Airports near Santiago
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.