The Cuban province of Holguin abounds with amazing beaches, historic sites, and rich vegetation and wildlife. Explore these five regions and discover what Christopher Columbus called “the most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen.”
Beyond Holguin’s luxurious resorts, the birthplace of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro makes for a fascinating visit, especially with relations between Cuba and the United States currently warming up. Many tour operators (like Cuba Cruise, which also sails from Montego Bay, Jamaica) offer Biran as a day trip. See Castro’s family portraits, his humble school and his dad’s 1918 Ford at this sprawling farm.
View about 20 different species of exotic animals at this protected wildlife park, including zebras, camels, and antelopes. It’s on a small, forested island in the Bahia de Nipe, linked to the mainland by a bridge. You can take a 4-wheel-drive safari or boat ride, or go horseback riding.
It’s home to some of Holguin’s best-loved beaches (replete with coral reefs and huge cliffs), yet Guardalavaca boasts more than scuba diving and sunset cruises. Visit the Museo Chorro de Maita, featuring an excavated 16th-century native village, and watch indigenous dance rituals at the next-door Aldea Taina.
Famed as Cuba’s main beer-brewing city (Cristal, Bucanero), Holguin offers much to drink in. Climb more than 450 steps to the summit of La Loma de la Cruz, where a large cross has stood since 1790, and refresh yourself at the 24-hour bar while savouring the panoramic views. Or sate your cultural thirst at the Teatro Comandante Eddy Sunol, a 1939-built art-deco venue that hosts the Cuban national ballet.
Sierra del Cristal
Nature lovers flock to greenery-laden Sierra del Cristal. Parque Nacional la Mensura, covering 5,300 hectares, has great hiking amid Caribbean pines and more than 100 varieties of endemic plants. Take a guided tour to Salto del Guayabo, Cuba’s highest waterfall, where you can relax with a swim in a natural pool.