Eastern Cuba is a very attractive tourist destination, with options that are concentrated in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Guantanamo and Holguin.
In the latter, there are 14 major cities, including Banes, which is considered Cuba's archeological capital, and Gibara, whose Spanish colonial architecture is well preserved.
With one of the main ports in eastern Cuba to trade slaves and sugar in the 18th century (Gibara), Holguin also holds the ruins of Spanish fortifications that protected the city from the attack of corsairs and pirates who were attracted by the region's wealth.
Also in Holguin is Cayo Bariay, where Admiral Christopher Columbus first landed in Cuba while seeking a new route to the Indies. Its magnificent natural environment, with pristine beaches and exuberant vegetation, made the conquistador say, "This is the most beautiful land that human eyes have seen".
Among Holguin's natural values are the Maniabon Hills, especially the orographic accidents in the calcareous mountains in the shape of "mogotes" (round-top hills), and the underlying plain.
For tourists, there are beaches, several keys, natural parks and extrahotel centers, especially in places like Guardalavaca, Estero Ciego, Esmeralda and Don Lino.
A one-of-a-kind option is Cayo Naranjo, which has an aquarium in the middle of the sea.
Located in the bay of the same name, the key is accessed by speedboats only that carry tourists from the nearby coast. There, they can watch a varied marine fauna and even enjoy a refreshing swim with some species.
The capital city of Holguin also has many charms, including a combination of Spanish architecture, American-style chalets, traditional neighborhoods on the outskirts and a truly Ibero-American culture.
Also known as the City of Parks, Holguin is a major cultural center for Cuban plastic arts, as well as other expressions like symphonic music, ballet and lyric theater.
In addition, the city's landscape is characterized by natural diversity and beauty, including the Nipe Bay, Cuba's largest closed bay, and Pinares de Mayarí, the habitat per excellence of a true world relic: the ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), while manatees still swim in the region's rivers.
Cayo Saetía complements the province's tourist options, as it is the only game preserve in the country, an area inhabited by protected species where holidaymakers can watch deer, boars, buffalos, ostriches, peacocks and wild bulls, among other animals.