9 Must-Do’s in Holguin
Some say Christopher Columbus landed in Holguin in 1492. But, whether the explorer landed here in Ciba or not, there is plenty to see and do in Holguin today.
1 – Bioparque Rocazul – Situated off the connector road linking Playa Turquesa with other Playa Pesquero resorts, this protected bio-park offers an array of outdoor activities all under the control of a non-negotiable government guide. The bioparque is a worthy environmental effort for such a major resort area, but tourists are restricted in the “right to roam.
Walking excursions range from 8, 10 and 12 CUCs for one, two or three hour excursions. Horseback riding is also available as is fishing in the bioparque. An all-inclusive day packages costs 40 CUC. Bioparque Rocazul is Marked by distinctive hills, trails, ocean access and the Casa de Compay Kike, a working farm where guests sample Cuban food and coffee. At the entrance to the park is a friendly bar where local knowledge reigns.
2 – Museo de Historia Provincial – A Cuban national monument, the Museo is situated on the northern side of Parque Calixto García. It was built between 1860 and 1868. Originally used as a Spanish army barracks during the independence wars, the Museo was nicknamed La Periquera (Parrot Cage) for the red, yellow and green uniforms of the Spanish soldiers who stood guard.
An axe-head carved in the likeness of a man, known as the Hacha de Holguín (Holguín Axe) is believed to have been created by indigenous inhabitants in the early 1400’s. The Holguin Axes was not discovered until 1860. A sword that once belonged to national hero and poet, José Martí, is also on display in the Museo.
3 – La Loma de la Cruz – At the northern end of Maceo is a spectacular stairway that was built in 1950. Featuring 465 steps that climb 275 meters up the hill where panoramic views can be enjoyed, travelers will be rewarded by a restaurant and a 24-hour bar. Careful waling down! In 1790, a cross was erected in the hopes of relieving a drought. On May 3 every year during Romerías de Mayo, devotees climb to the summit where a special Mass is held.
4 – Catedral de San Isidoro – Pristine white and distinguished by the twin domed towers, the Catedral de San Isidoro dates back to 1720. The Catedral was one of the town’s original buildings but was added to as the town’s population grew. The towers were added in the 20th-century. A striking statue of Pope Jean Paul II stands to the right of the main doors.
5 – Las Guanas Eco-Archaeological Trail – At the end of the Playa Esmeralda road is eco-archaeological trail that does not require a guide but which is only about a 1 kilometer hike. Take your time because the experience won’t last long unless you decide to venture into the bush where the marked trail ends. There is beautiful bluff with lighthouse which the adventurous hikers can visit.
6 – Hacienda la Mensura – Eight kilometers from Villa Pinares del Mayari is the breeding center for exotic animals such as antelope and guapeti. Horseback riding can be arranged here.
7 – Restaurante 1910 – 1910 specializes in delicious international fare. The colonial house with chandeliers, wait staff and the cuisine is outstanding. The specialty of the house is steak (CUC$11) with dried spaghetti latticework. A good selection of South American wines make everything taste better.
8 – Restaurant 1720 – Holguín’s most revered restaurant specializes in seafood. Enjoy the cigar shop and the nighttime music. Between or courses or after dinner, enjoy the wall plaques that give interesting insights into Holguín’s history.
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