Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

Santiago, on Cuba's southeast coast, is rich in history and culture. It was the fifth settlement founded by the first Spanish conquistadors and was the port from which many of the earliest exploratory expeditions ventured both west into Mexico and north into Florida. It is also the cradle of the Cuban Revolution, where the first raids were planned and where Fidel Castro proclaimed the modern Cuban state in 1959. The town has spawned many of Cuba's most important and influential writers and musicians, as well. The Spanish Citadel San Pedro de a Roca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the best-preserved example of Spanish colonial military architecture. The town boasts the first home built in the Americas, Cuba's first cathedral, and the first copper mine to open in the Americas. The nearby Baconao park is a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve.