La habanera Guanabo: beach, sun and more
By Gabriela Santiesteban
Guanabo, one of the most visited beaches in Cuba, especially by nationals, is also a town with a long history, with dissimilar attractions, not only marine, but also cultural and gastronomic, which include the hospitality of its inhabitants.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the area had already been recognized for its natural values, when the establishment of families and the construction of houses and other facilities only began. The first parish priest of the place described the site in 1803 as one of great beauty, due to its fine sand, its dunes, its green plants, the flight of birds.
The Bishop of Espada, an important presence in the history of the island, referred in 1804 the beauty of its beaches and its fruit trees. The antecedents of the territory go back to aboriginal times, since archaeological traces have been found there and, according to historians, the name of this area is due to the proliferation of palms, which produce a lot of guano.
The development of the area began in 1747, scholars report, there a hermitage was built on the extensive grounds owned by the Franciscan and Jesuit orders and on July 26, 1803 the town called Santa Ana de Guanabo was officially founded, date that marks the development of the community and its transformations.
In the 19th century, the region was mainly dedicated to sugar production, with a population around 1877 of 3 376 people, of which 2 586 whites, mainly of Canarian origin, 398 free blacks, 362 slaves and 30 Asians.
During the war for independence that began in 1895, the economic structure suffered a serious deterioration and the territory fell into a lethargy from which it began to emerge in the 1920s, with the construction of new homes, neighborhoods, hotels and various services facilities.
Its renowned sun and beach conditions put the region in value, to which interesting flora and fauna with great endemism are added, formed by mangroves, casuarinas, palm trees, coconut trees, almond trees, different species of birds, fish, corals and sponges.
Nautical activities, in particular, have an attractive setting there with good possibilities for diving and snorkeling, water bicycles, kayaking, aerial surfing ... About 27 kilometers east of the center of Havana, the province to which it belongs, Guanabo is today a modern, beach and summer practically all year round, and also with a cinema, museum, shops, markets, discos and various restaurants.