Planning Your Time
Few visitors to Havana make it this far east, and that’s a shame. Most who get to the Oriente find they have a new favorite region of Cuba. A domestic flight or two can shave off long hours on the road from points west. If you can finagle it, a week makes an ideal length of time to explore the region. You’ll likely have fewer days; do some picking and choosing. Two days gives you a slightly rushed opportunity to take in the sights of Santiago de Cuba’s historic center and a couple of area attractions. (Three days would be less rushed.) Historic Baracoa is one of Cuba’s most charming towns, but it’s set off on its own, not near much else, a good four to five hours from Santiago. Bayamo and Manzanillo warrant a day each; either makes a good launching point for the wild and woolly Parque Nacional Turquino. If you stay in Guardalavaca, you likely arrived on an all-inclusive package, meaning a certain amount of confinement to your beach resort. Most do offer a good selection of area tours, so take advantage.