Holguin Province is Cuba's fourth largest. The mountains of the region are home to deposits of nickel and cobalt which have been, and still are being, extensively mined. These industries play an important role in the productivity and wealth of the area, the main nickel mines and processing plants are situated around the town of Moa on the north coast, east of the city of Holguin.
Sugar plantations and citrus orchards also play a prominent role in the local economy, and the fishing industry, although small, complements the province's impressive role as a key producer in the Cuban economy.
The north coast has been a substantial amount of development over the last 10 to 15 years and the beaches of Playa Guardalavaca are now firmly established with foreign tour operators.
Alturas de Mayabe
Range of hills 8 km outside of Holguin City. One of the most beautiful Cuban landscapes.
Banes city, it has been said, was once the most Americanised town in all of Cuba. It was the headquarters of the omnipresent United Fruit Company; an American monolith that owned huge sugar plantations in the district and whose managers set about transforming half of Banes into a faithful reconstruction of an American town.
Banes was the birthplace of Fulgencio Batista, one of Cuba's Presidents, who was sometimes called the Guajirito de Banes.. but never to his face!
Rumour has it that Banes is the very same town where Fidel Castro spent a great deal of time as a young man, courting the woman that would become his first wife.
Although nowadays Banes city is somewhat faded and becalmed it is home to two of the province’s most significant museums, one is Bani Cuban-Indian Museum and the other is called Chorro de Maita Site Museum.
The drive from Guardalavaca to Banes is one of the most scenic in the province.
Definately worth a visit is Playa Puerto Rico Libre, for its prestine wildness and numerous caves.
Now Banes serves as a commercial centre for the surrounding agricultural district, which mainly produces sugarcane, but also bananas and other fruits. Produce is shipped from the city's small port, Embarcadero de Banes, which lies on Bahía (bay) de Banes, 3 mi (5 km) to the south. Pop. (2002) 34,452.
This beautiful cay is the centrepiece of the Bahia de Naranjo Nature Reserve and is the location of the Acuario Cayo Naranjo. The latter puts on a daily marine show at noon, and best of all an opportunity to swim with dolphins.
This pristine cay, on the eastern side of the Bahía de Nipes, isn't terribly easy to get to, but if isolated and totally unpopulated, sugar-white cove beaches are of interest to you, it could certainly be worth the effort. An erstwhile exclusive game resort, the cay has an exceptional roster of flora and fauna, which includes not only deer and wild boar, but also a wild collection of exotics like antelopes, ostrich, water buffalo, and zebras. Most excursions include snorkeling, boat rides, jeep safaris, horseback riding, and lunch on the beach. There's one hotel on the cay, Villa Cayo Saetía, with a half-dozen nice cabanas. Cayo Saetía is about 90 minutes from Guardalavaca by car and just 20 minutes by helicopter (the preferred method of transport).
Gibara, named after the aboriginal word Jibá, meaning hump, was officially founded on 16th January 1817. Also known as La Villa Blanca, The White Town, this rather quaint city has a rich history & culture of which its people are most proud.
It has beautiful architectural sites, & neatly laid out homes, streets & parks. It is surrounded by lush countryside. Visitors discover the friendly & helpful nature of the locals (about 20k) is its biggest attraction.
There is, & probably always will be, some controversy about whether it was Gibara or Bariay Bay, in 1492, which first gave shelter to the ships of Christopher Columbus on his first trip to Cuba; and where he stated "It is the most beautiful land that human eyes ever saw."
If you are a bit of a latino film buff you should visit Gibara during the week it hosts the "Festival Internacional de Cine Pobre".
During the 19th & the first half of the 20th century, Gibara became the most important & developed port in the entire north eastern Cuba. It's railroad gave Holguin, Bayamo, Banes & Las Tunas access to traded goods. Gibara's economy today is based on textile production, fisheries, the making of snuff for export & domestic consumption, and tourism.
Tourists can enjoy wandering the street upon street of grand colonial buildings including the Fernando VII Fortress, Museum of Decorative Arts, History Museum, Natural History Museum, Casino Español (House of Culture), the theatre, Cuartelón Ruins, Cueva de los Panaderos, Calixto García Square & its miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty.
This city, 760km/495 miles southeast of Havana, is busy and not particularly attractive. But if you pass through, look in on the main square for its Art-Deco theatre, art gallery, and eclectic display of historical exhibits inside the Museo Provincial. The fine Carlos de la Torre Natural History Museum, just south of the square on Calle Maceo, in another colonial mansion, has a large collection of indigenous snail shells in dazzling colours.
To the west of Holguin is a vantage point, Loma de la Cruz, which offers wonderful views over the city and across the province.
This small seaside town is where flights from both Havana and Santiago de Cuba drop off holidaymakers on their way to Guardalavaca and the coast. Close to the provincial border with Guantanamo, Moa is connected to the town of Baracoa by a crumbling coastal road.
Pinares de Mayari
The district of Pinares de Mayari is an ideal location for nature lovers full of nature fauna and flora.
The idilic 1km beach gets its name from the clear deep-green (emerald green) waters that lap along these white sands. It is a perfect setting to enjoying the available windsurfing, sailing, diving and snorkeling. The beach is exclusive for the hotels' guests.
The stunningly beautiful Naranjo Bay Nature Reserve is a short stroll away. The aquarium gives the possibility of swimming with dolphins.
Its white sand beaches and rolling hills are indeed very beautiful and today it is home to a burgeoning tourist industry with package holidays now available from England, Canada, Germany and Austria.
Pesquero beach is very much the picture postcard tropical stetch of golden sand, lush vegetation and coral reefs that most long for. The beach is exclusive for the guests to the 3 modern hotels situated there.
Yuraguanal beach, is located in the coast of Holguín province at 53 km from the city. It is famous for it's white and fine sand.
Rafael Freyre city is marked on most maps as Santa Lucia.
The region includes a wonderful little Cuban beach Playa Blanca famous for its fine and white sand, Bahia de Bariay, Fray Benito and Silla de Gibara. The latter is also not marked on most maps.
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