Circuit touring in Cuba - A splendid adventure
By Marta Gómez Ferrals Photos: Courtesy of various Cuban travel agencies
Eastern Cuba has five provinces, each with their own culture and fascinating landscapes and rich in history and tradition: Las Tunas, Holguín, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo.
The Oriental Circuit, offered by Gaviota Tours, is a seven-day tour that includes a visit to Holguín – also known as the “City of Parks,” an excursion to Cayo Saetía and Nipe Bay, plus a Jeep safari through areas of great natural beauty, both jungles and beaches, where exotic animals roam freely. The tour also includes a visit to the “Los Exoticos” ranch and the Guayabo waterfall in the La Mensura park.
Continuing on toward Baracoa, Cuba’s first town established following the arrival of European explorers, an excursion to the mighty El Yunque and visits to the Duaba and Toa ranches are also on the itinerary. These ranches play an important role in Cuba’s production of cacao and coconut, and the centuriesold traditional harvesting and processing methods are on full display.
Santiago de Cuba, known in Cuba as the “Heroic City,” and recognized as the second capital of the country is another stop on the tour, with a visit to the colonial fortress Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro, and the Santa Ifigenia cemetery where the Cuban and Latin American hero José Martí and the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro are buried.
Another attraction is the city of Bayamo, where the national anthem was composed, and a town center that includes a Revolution Square, and a museum at the birthplace of Carlos Manel de Céspedes, who launched Cuba’s independence wars and is considered the nation’s founding father. Cubatur, one of the grande dames among Cuban tour agencies, ended 2016 with a new option: a flight with stops in Havana, Holguín, Cayo Coco and Cayo Largo, as a way of “ending the year in the clouds.”
Holguín is famous for its beaches but has plenty of other interesting sites for visitors, starting with its capital. Among other options, the Super Combotour, the Combotour, the Campiña cubana/Cuba Life tour, the Holguín City tour and the Grand Adventure tour, all offer interesting combinations.
The visitor can choose from travel on antique trains, visits to the local cigar factory and the Casa de la Trova, or to an indigenous village and the homes of rural farmers. A stop at Bariay, where Christopher Columbus first landed, and the Hilltop Cross (Loma de la Cruz) - a stunning overlook and the final destination for the religious processions that are part of the Spanish Catholic tradition known as Romerías de Mayo are also available.
The Cubanacan travel agency has another attractive touring option, not just because of its title: “Warmth and Sympathy,” but for its varied itinerary, which includes Habana, Guamá, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, Playa Guardalavaca, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguín, Santa Clara and Varadero.
Havanatur’s Eastern Cuba circuit tour offers the possibility of getting to know the prime tourist draws in just eight days, including Playa Pesquero and Cayo Saetía in Holguín, along with Holguin City, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo and Baracoa.
The circuit tours offer a permanent invitation and a tempting way to spend a memorable vacation in Cuba by getting to know the entire archipelago and its people in the company of highly qualified guides who speak a variety of languages.