Guardalavaca, 58km / 35mi southwest of Holguin, is the second biggest tourist destination in Cuba after Varadero. The beach here is beautiful white sand stretching on for 4 km / 2.5mi with a lush backdrop. There is also a coral reef just offshore with good dive locations or visitors can snorkel at either end of the beach where the rocks emerge. The tourist resort at Guardalavaca has all the regular amenities and offerings one would expect. In addition to the accommodation there are restaurants shops, bank services, and all kinds of recreational options with surfboards and windsurfing boards available for rent. Guardalavaca is quite remote with nothing of consequence in the nearby surrounding area so visitors are generally limited to the options provided by the resort.West of Guardalavaca is a natural park area that visitors can explore, called Bahia de Naranjo. This area, covering a large area of coastline includes three islands, including Cayo Naranjo with an aquarium.
The town of Banes makes a nice trip for visitors staying at the nearby resort of Guardalavaca, just 30km / 25mi away. Cubans just going about their daily life in this community is one of the main attractions for travelers who have not ventured beyond the resort area. Some of the other highlights, for those who have already seen other Cuban towns, are the Museo Indocubano Bani, and the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Caridad. The Museo Indocubano Bani contains one of the best collections of Indian artifacts outside of Havana. Among the collection is a famous small gold statue of a woman called Idolo de Oro, which dates to the 13th Century. It is one of only twenty gold artifacts found in Cuba from pre-Columbian times. The museum also displays other items found in the area, which is known for being an archeological hot spot in Cuba.
Chorro de Maita (Museo Aborigen Chorro de Maita)
Near the resort of Guardalavaca is Chorro de Maita, the site of a large native Indian burial area. Excavations here in 1986 revealed a total of 108 skeletons, one of which was actually a Spaniard, along with clay works, shells, decorative items, and other artifacts. Visitors can learn about the excavations and the history of Chorro de Maita at the Museo Aborigen Chorro de Maita. On display are 56 skeletons exactly as they were found. Across from the museum is a recreated Taino Indian village with figures on display showing how life would have been in this type of Indian village. There is also a souvenir shop on site, and an opportunity to try some traditional Amerindian cuisine.