Holguin is a charming city in the middle of the Holguin Province in the East of Cuba. Full of colonial architecture and classic cars, a trip to Holguin seems to transport you back in time. The city is definitely less touristy than the capital, Havana, so it’s a great place for travellers who like to go a little off the grid. It’s also only an hour’s drive away from beautiful beaches including Guardalavaca beach where you can often see dolphins.
However, there is still such a vibrant culture to be experienced in Holguin and it’s not short of sites to visit. Chorro de Maita, which consists of an indigenous cemetery and cultural museum, where displays of rituals and daily life are performed, gives a fascinating insight into Cuban history and shows what life was like before Cuba was colonised. It is also worth visiting the beautiful San Isidoro Cathedral, which is one of the city’s original constructions.
Like the rest of Cuba, Holguin is breathtakingly beautiful. The best place to take in the views is the Hill of the Cross (Loma de la Cruz). There are 458 steps to the top of the hill, but if you’re not much of a hiker you can drive up it instead. Holguin has a very laid-back atmosphere and with so many pretty squares, it’s easy to find somewhere to sit and watch the world go by with a cold Cuban beer brewed in Holguin itself.
Holguin is full of lively restaurants serving great local food, such as Restaurante-Bar San José, which is located right in the central square of Holguin, Parque Céspedes. Otherwise, head to Restaurante 1910, a Cuban/Caribbean tapas bar and restaurant in an old colonial house decorated with chandeliers.
Holguin is the perfect place to spend a few days experiencing Cuban culture, taking in the sites, eating great food and relaxing!