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Cuba: Heritage and Nature in the East

Eastern Cuba, characterized by the diversity of nature and heritage values, is housed in a space with multiple offers for the so-called leisure industry.

In this environment highlights the province of Guantanamo, the easternmost of the island, in correspondence with the aboriginal name it bears, which means "land between the rivers".

It is significant that in its geography was founded the first Cuban Villa (Baracoa) by Diego Velasquez, which also came to be first capital and first bishopric of the island.

Moreover, in this area the natural landscape is complemented by a flattop mountain 575 meters high known as the Yunque de Baracoa, because of its similarity with that tool (anvil) used by blacksmiths for their work.

Various water arteries cross the territory, including the Toa-considered the largest river of the island- marked on their way through numerous waterfalls, the most famous known as El Saltadero, which is 17 meters high.

Also in that portion of the island, French colonists from Haiti settled and soon developed cocoa plantations, as well as large areas of fruit and coffee plantations in mountainous areas.

Yunque de Baracoa (Baracoa`s Anvil)
Baracoa Mountains.
River and mountains in Baracoa.

In fact, it is just 80 kilometers away from Haiti through the Tradewinds Pass, close enough to see its lights on a clear night.

In Guantanamo, there is a large number of immigrants from Jamaica and so many buildings are similar to those of the French Quarters of New Orleans in the US state of Louisiana.

As singular element in the province, there are still vestiges of indigenous settlements in the area of La Caridad de los Indios, in the municipality Manuel Tames, of great cultural interest in the ethnic aspect.

Visitors are involved in an atmosphere full of memories of the colonial era, including the famous Cruz de la Parra, manufactured by the Spaniards during the first trip to America with precious woods of the place and used to officiate by Fray Bartolome de las Casas.

The territory has an extensive bag bay ranked as the third surface worldwide, while the mountainous area covers 75 percent of the territory where the Sagua-Baracoa, one of the largest and most attractive in the country, is located.

In the Northern region, a narrow coastal strip with extensive coca fields cut by the entrance of many rivers is located, while the south coastal zone extending intra-mountainous presence of alluvial valleys, where farming is practiced.

Also, in the east end there´s Maisí plateau with one of the best outlined marine terraces systems at global level, with numerous caves of great beauty.

Guantanamo is also stage of arts, including music Changüí, Nengón and Quiribá (indigenous from the territory), the Tumba Francesa native dance, of Haitian immigrants, as well as plastic and literature.

Among the heritage buildings it holds the Church of Santa Catalina, the Old Spanish Barracks, the Policarpo Pineda Library, who previously worked as town hall; and the museum Salcines Palace, former residence of the remarkable local architect Leticio Salcines, who -with his harmonic eclectic style- is the most representative building of the city.

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