The easternmost province of Cuba, which may be its’ most mentioned because of the song Guantanamera, and the famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) U.S. Naval Base located there. Guantanamo is a great stop and is probably much more typical of the “real” Cuba than Havana, something to consider if you are an American in Cuba on a people-to-people cultural exchange tour. The Province of Guantanamo offers visitors hiking in the mountains, great beaches, excellent SCUBA diving and snorkeling, rivers, Cuba’s oldest city, and everything in between. The city of Guantanamo has much to offer visitors including La Villa de Guantanamo, the Astronauts Hall (yes, Cuban have gone into space), the French Tomb, la Casa del Changui, la Zona Caimanera, the Stone Zoo, and Cuba’s only desert area.
CUBA’S OLDEST CITY
On the northern coast of Guantanamo Province is the first city founded in Cuba by none other than Christopher Columbus. Founded in 1492, Baracoa continues to attract visitors today, and was in the news last year after having been devastated by a hurricane. Surrounded by coffee and cacao plantations, it also houses a wooden cross, la Cruz de Parra, which is said to have been brought to the island onboard Columbus’s ship.
The city of Guantanamo has much to offer visitors including La Villa de Guantanamo, the Astronauts Hall (yes, Cuban have gone into space), the French Tomb, la Casa del Changui, la Zona Caimanera, the Stone Zoo, and Cuba’s only desert. On the norther coast of the province is Baracoa, Cuba’s oldest city, and one of the oldest in the Americas. Baracoa has colonial era fortresses, and the La Farola viaduct, considered one of the seven wonders of Cuban civil engineering. The La Farola viaduct leads visitors to the Alexander Humboldt National Park, which is part of the Cuchillas del Toa Biosphere Preserve. The preserve was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, and is rich in flora and fauna, and offers visitors stunning views and challenging hiking trails. Also worth seeing are Boma Bay and Mata Bay, and the Yumuri, Miel, Duaba, and Toa rivers. Visitors may navigate some of the rivers in canoes that are typical of the area. The southern coast of Guantanamo has wonderful beaches, including Maguna, Saratoga, and Duaba.