Guantanamo Province Attractions
At the far eastern tip of Cuba lies the province of Guantanamo. Unfortunately most people hear Guantanamo and automatically associate it with the United States naval base that has been stationed here since the early 1900s. In truth, there is much more to this province to attract visitors. The colonial seaside city of Baracoa, the oldest city in Cuba, is not to be missed. The architecture and atmosphere here are a welcome treat for visitors. For the more adventurous, the mountains, beaches, and caves of Guantanamo provide a natural playground.Guantanamo has a diverse landscape from desert coast to lush mountains. The northern portion of the province is very wet and green, while the southern area is dry, with cactus and very little vegetation. There is certainly something in this province to please anyone.
Guantanamo City, capital of the province of the same name, is a large city with little to attract visitors. However, the city makes a good stop over and has an airport with regular flights to Havana. For those spending some time in Guantanamo there are a few cultural sights worth visiting.Guantanamo came into existence in the early 19th Century when French immigrants from Haiti began arriving here following the slave rebellion. Consequently the culture here is somewhat different from other areas of the country. This is also reflected in the architecture which is has more of a French influence than Spanish. The original town founded here was called Santa Catalina del Saltadero del Guaso but was changed in 1843 to Guantanamo.Some of the main highlights in the city are the Plaza Marti, the Plaza de la Revolucion, the Museo Municipal, and the Casa Natal de Regino Boti.
The Museo Municipal in Guantanamo is housed in a former jail built in the 1860s. The collection is a varied assortment of items covering the history of Guantanamo. On display are typical historical documents and photographs as well as some unique items related to the Revolution and pre-Revolutionary times. This museum is not particularly comprehensive but can be an interesting stop for anyone spending time in Guantanamo. The Museo Municipal is located at the corner of Jose Marti and Prado, in the northeast corner of the city center, just down the street from the Centro Provincial de Arte.
Museo Zoological de Piedra
The Museo Zoological de Piedra is located about 20km / 12mi to the east of the city of Guantanamo. This park is the creation of modern day sculptor, Angel Inigo. His stone carvings of various animals are on display at the Museo Zoological de Piedra, which is an open air setting on the side of a lush hill. The carvings were done on existing rocks and left in their natural setting. There is also a gift shop on site where visitors can purchase smaller carvings. The Museo Zoological de Piedra is an easy side trip from the city of Guantanamo.