Santiago de Cuba‘s Most Popular Neighborhood, El Centro, is a vibrant and bustling area that truly captures the essence of the city, known for its rich history, lively culture, and delicious street food, it is the perfect destination for any tourist looking to immerse themselves in the local way of life.

The History of El Centro

El Centro, or “The Center,” is located in the heart of Santiago de Cuba, and is the oldest neighborhood in the city. It was founded in 1515 by the Spanish conquistadors, and has since been a hub for trade, culture, and politics. The area is home to many historic buildings and monuments, including the Cathedral of Santiago de Cuba, which dates back to the 18th century. The streets are lined with colonial-style architecture and cobblestone roads, giving visitors a glimpse into the city’s past.

Culture and Festivals

El Centro is known for its lively culture and festive atmosphere. The neighborhood is home to many cultural institutions, such as the Casa de la Trova, where visitors can enjoy traditional Cuban music and dance. The area is also known for its annual festivals, such as the Carnaval de Santiago de Cuba, one of the most famous carnivals in Cuba, and the Fiestas de Reyes, a celebration of the Epiphany that includes parades, music, and traditional dances.

Street Food and Nightlife

A visit to El Centro would not be complete without trying the delicious street food. The neighborhood is home to many street vendors selling traditional Cuban dishes, such as tamales, yuca con mojo, and of course, the famous Cuban sandwich. After a day of exploring the area, visitors can experience the lively nightlife of Santiago de Cuba, with many bars and clubs playing live music and offering delicious cocktails.

Shopping and Souvenirs

El Centro is also the perfect place to shop for souvenirs and locally made crafts. The area is home to many markets and shops selling traditional Cuban products, such as cigars, rum, and handcrafted jewelry. Visitors can also find many art galleries and shops selling paintings and sculptures by local artists.


El Centro is a must-see destination for any tourist visiting Santiago de Cuba. The neighborhood offers a unique glimpse into the city’s rich history, culture, and way of life. Visitors can explore historic buildings and monuments, enjoy traditional music and dance, try delicious street food, and experience the lively nightlife. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just looking for a great time, El Centro has something for everyone.