The church "El Sanctuario de Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre", also known as El Cobre, is located in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra Mountains in the town of El Cobre. El Cobre was founded in 1550. The Spanish mined for copper in the nearby hills until 1630. The existing Basilica was built on Maboa hill in 1927. It's the most important shrine for Cubans & the most famous church in the country.
Within the church, on the high altar, stands the statue of the Virgin of Charity, La Virgen de la Caridad. The Virgin of Charity moved to different shrines from the time of her discovery in 1608 until 1630. That's when she took the place of St.James above the high altar. The Virgin has been helping people of all religions for centuries & has been credited with many miracles. She is the protectress of Cuba. In 1916, the pope made a visit & declared her the Patron Saint of Cuba. The new Basilica was built to house her. In 1998, Pope John Paul II crowned her durning his visit.
Located about 30km from Santiago de Cuba. You could take a taxi from there for about 30cuc round trip. That's what I did and would do it again. It's the fastest way to get there. You could also take a bus which leaves from the main station 4 times daily and it would be perfectly safe to do. The church is open 8am-6pm daily & costs nothing to enter. Ohh and don't worry, there's all kinds of vendors trying to sell you all kinds of souvenirs. Lots of them. Look for the little bags of copper pieces. You give all of them away except one that you keep for good luck. Signing off.