Explore the other side of Cuba: Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa and Camagüey

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A report by Rosemary McClure for the Los Angeles Times.

If you’ve been to Havana, but haven’t been farther inland in Cuba, check out a fall tour that visits parts of the island nation that are often off the tourist radar.

The eight-night trip, organized by Cultural Journeys, explores eastern Cuba and its unique cities and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa and Camagüey.

Santiago, on the eastern tip of the island, is known for its vibrant music scene; the Virgin of Copper church, where three popes have prayed; and for its historic fort.

Baracoa, isolated from the rest of the country until a road was built to it in 1964, offers a look at the island’s authentic cuisine and culture. The labyrinthine city of Camagüey was built in a maze to confuse pirates and has a thriving art colony and beautiful squares lined with colonial buildings.

The tour will also visit Holguin, called the city of parks. Nearby are spectacular white-sand beaches and aqua blue waters in the area where Columbus landed in 1492.

Dates: Nov. 10-18. Other Cuba trips, each exploring different regions of the country, depart Sept. 12, Oct. 13 and 21, Nov. 10, Dec. 6 and 29 (celebrating New Year’s Eve in Havana), Jan. 19, and Feb. 2, 8 and 17. Trips last four to 13 days.

Price: From $2,875 per person, double occupancy (single supplement available), depending on length of tour. Includes local and U.S. guides, all accommodations, most meals, ground transportation, entrance fees and Cuban visa. Airfare to and from Cuba not included.

Info: Cultural Journeys, (562) 439-2828, www.cultural-journeys.com

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