Inside Cuba: Cuban Life in Guardalavaca and Holguin

Horses heading back to stables after dropping off riders Bariay Park

Now is the time to see Cuba

Once you pull away from the “all-inclusive hotels” in Cuba,  you’ll find urban centers lined with vintage American cars, lush landscapes and farming towns, where locals travel by horse and carriage. History has left an interesting mix of architecture, from military and Colonial to colorful French and Spanish influences.

The Cubans themselves are warm, friendly and enterprising people.

And while a great number are optimistically awaiting the coming changes, now that relationships with the U.S. are being (slowly) restored, I have to think that some of the beauty and charm may disappear. So my friends, the best time to see this country is now.

Views of Havana from the port.

Views of Havana from the Port.

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Havana Apartment building showing signs of decay and requiring repairs. Typical of most buildings in Cuba. Regardless, Havana oozes charm that lures visitors to explore from its rum and cigar factories to historical landmarks like the Plaza de la Revolution, Castillo el Morro and Catedral de San Cristobal.

Holguin Province

Rocky coast line of Bariay ParkThe rugged coastline of Cayo Bariay, famously known as the spot Christopher Columbus landed in 1492. It is here Columbus and his sailors encountered the first Indigenous tribes that inhabited this island.

The El Chorro de Maita Museum is a small, one-room building housing an excavated Indian village and cemetery. I loved inspecting the well-preserved remains of 62 human skeletons.

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Tasting coconut milk and JD showing me how to make traditional coffee at Casa Del Campesino.  Coffee grinds are then filled in a small cloth sack, hot water is poured and coffee drains to pot below. Nearby is the restaurant where lunch is served to visitors.

Guardalavaca, Cuba

In Cuba, 30 percent of the country’s land is used for crop cultivation. Farmers grow mango, papaya, pineapple, avocado, guava, coconut, cassava, bananas,plantains and anonaceae (custard apple) along with sugar cane. Nene’s farm just outside of Guardalavaca grows a small subset of these crops for the government run markets.

Holguin province Lush countryside

Nene's Farm

Nene's Farm, Holguin

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Pig roast at Nene Farm, Holguin province

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If you liked this post you may want to take a look at Inside Cuba: Cienfuegos and Santiago De Cuba.

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