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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Islets and Heritage

Cuba, a major tourist destination par excellence in the Caribbean, bets on a wide range of tourist options including traditional sun and beach offers and history and culture.

In that context, the Cuban capital, formerly known as San Cristóbal de La Habana, is at present a living museum that shows different architectural styles and periods in the city's development.

Havana's defense system, in which the emblematic Castillo de Los Tres Reyes del Morro stands out, consisted of nine large constructions and it is now, according to experts, the most important group of fortresses in the Spanish-speaking Americas.

Nearly 140 buildings in Havana's historic heart were built in the 16th and 17th centuries, 200 in the 18th century and more than 460 in the 19th century, thus creating a mixture of attractions for the most demanding visitors.

In eastern Cuba, one of the main cities is Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa, founded between 1511 and 1512 by Conqueror Diego Velázquez. The village became Cuba's first capital and held the first archbishopric in the country.

Another major eastern city is Camagüey, the provincial capital of the province of the same name, which was founded as the village of Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe.

Canímar River, Matanzas
View of the Castle of the Three Kings of El Morro from Havana`s Malecón
Center for the Development of Visual Arts

In the west, the city of Matanzas, the capital of the province of the same name, is also known as the Athens of Cuba and even the Venice of the Americas, due to its many rivers, bridges and canals, as well as its dynamic cultural life during the Spanish-colonial period.

In central Cuba, Cienfuegos, with a score of libraries, 11 museums, more than 30 movie theaters and five theaters, in addition to houses of culture, art galleries and monuments, is a major attraction for both domestic and foreign tourists.

Among the islets that make up the Cuban archipelago is Cayo Santa María, which combined with Las Brujas and Ensenacho, hold about a dozen hotels totaling 7,000 rooms.

In Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens), the tourist offer is complemented by Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, and there are plans to incorporate other keys like Providencia, Caoba, Sabinal, Guayaba, Romano, Paredón Grande, and Antón Chico.

In western Cuba, Cayo Levisa, which offers three kilometers of beautiful beaches and coral reefs for diving enthusiasts, and the keys Buba, Mono and Piedras del Norte, are ideal places to enjoy the landscape or practice scuba diving and snorkeling near Varadero.

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