Caribbean Tourism

Guantánamo

Gúantánamo (pop: 205,000) is the most easterly and most mountainous province on the island. The range of the Montañas de Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa runs through the province, ending in the Atlantic Ocean on the northern coast and the Caribbean Sea to the south.


The area is notable for its many endemic species of fauna and flora, and also for the US naval base housing the rare species of US ‘imperialists’ in Cuba.

Guantánamo, the provincial capital, had a large influx of Haitian, French and Jamaican immigrants in the 19th century. The architecture has much less of a Spanish colonial feel; the narrow, brightly coloured buildings with thin wooden balconies and wrought ironwork are more reminiscent of New Orleans than Madrid. This is also reflected in the local musical rhythms, notably the Tumba Francesa.

The central square, Plaza Martí, has a church in the centre. The Casa de la Cultura is on the west side and the Tumba Francesa on the east. Two km north, the Plaza de la Revolución has a modernist carved stone monument to the heroes of all the wars of independence. The Museo Municipal, for local history is in a former prison. José Martí. Tue-Sat 0800-1800, Sun 0800-1200.

The US naval base of Guantánamo (which cannot be easily visited from Cuba) was established at the beginning of the 20th century in the area known as Caimanera. The base is so little a part of the town that you will not, come across it unless you make a specific trip to Mirador de Malones to view it through binoculars.

The Zoológico de Piedra is an outdoor museum of stone animals, just outside of town, set in a beautiful hillside location with tropical vegetation. Many are bizarre, from tiny stone lizards to huge bison. All are carved directly from the rocks in their natural setting and you can buy miniature replicas from the sculptor on the way out.


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