Holguin is a gorgeous Cuban city, full of vintage American cars, colonial buildings and lush, shady parks. It’s the provincial capital of south east Cuba, and home to some of the islands best seaside resorts, including Guardalavaca, Playa Pesquero, and Playa Esmeralda. The beaches here are breathtaking, with their pure white sand, coconut trees and turquoise waters. A holiday to Holguin offers the best of authentic Cuba, from traditional cigar factories and fantastic salsa clubs, to tropical beaches and charming fishing villages. If you like nature, there are lots of wonderful bird-watching and cave-diving excursions into the surrounding valleys and hills. Or you could explore the Bahia Naranjo nature reserve, a stunning bay with forests, walking trails and picnic spots.
Holguin offers all the best of Cuba in one beautiful package. You can chill out in the charming city, nicknamed ‘the city of parks’ for its gorgeous expanses of green, ambling from café to café. Perhaps take in some live salsa, or visit a factory to see the famous cigars being rolled. Or just soak up the sight of the vintage American cars trundling through the colourful streets. Along the coast, you can take your pick among some of the island’s best beaches and enticing resorts, including Guardalavaca, Playa Pesquero, and Playa Esmeralda. There’s plenty of choice, whether you’re looking for buzzing nightlife or simply want to relax on the heavenly Caribbean sands. And if you want to get away from it all, head into the hills or explore the Bahia Naranjo nature reserve, one of Cuba’s loveliest, unspoilt bays.
Whether you’ve chosen a fabulous all-inclusive hotel or prefer to dine out, you’ll certainly have the chance to try some classic Cuban cuisine in Holguin. The seafood is excellent, and ultra-fresh lobster, shellfish and fish top many menus. Traditional Cuban favourites include ropa vieja, chunks of beef simmered slowly with tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic, which is tastier than you’d think given its name (which means ‘old clothes’). Or you could go for some arroz con frijoles, rice topped with black beans, or perhaps the ajiaco, a succulent stew made with meat, corn and green vegetables. Enjoy it with a refreshing beer – brewed locally in Holguin – and finish up with some Cuban rum.
Families will love the gorgeous beaches, laid-back atmosphere and easy charm of Holguin. As much of the accommodation in the seaside resorts such as Guardalavaca, Playa Pesquero, and Playa Esmeralda is in all-inclusive hotels, you’ll also be able to enjoy the swimming pools and special entertainment for kids. The white sand beaches are perfect for all the family, with lots of water sports to keep older kids entertained, and soft white sand for the littlest ones to play in. You can take boat trips out along the coast, or visit the Bahia Naranjo nature reserve to see the dolphins and sea lions in the dolphinarium. You might also fancy a trip into the city of Holguin to sit out on a square with some ice-cream and watch the vintage Chevvies and Oldsmobiles go past.
Action & Adventure
The coast of Holguin is famous across Cuba for snorkelling and diving, particularly around Guardalavaca. This picturesque seaside town has an amazing coral reef located close to the shore, which attracts a colourful array of multi-coloured fish. Several of the hotels in this area have their own diving schools, and can arrange courses and excursions to the best wrecks and dive sights. The Bahia Naranjo nature reserve is a stunning bay surrounded by forest, and offers some wonderful walks and picnic spots. And inland you can go bird-watching, hiking and caving in the beautiful hills.
Holguin is home to one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Cuba, and you can live the Caribbean dream on the endless white sand beaches and turquoise seas. The main resorts here are Guardalavaca and Playa Pesquero, along with smaller Playa Esmeralda and Gibara, all of which boast spectacular beaches. All offer fantastic facilities and a great choice of accommodation, including some fabulous all inclusive options. If you’re up for exploring, you can reach some enticing secret beaches such as the Playa Blanca or the wild and unspoilt Cayo Saetia beach. This whole coastline is renowned for its snorkelling and scuba diving, and local tour operators can arrange diving courses, equipment rental and excursions to the main sites.
Most of Holguin’s seaside resorts have a great range of all-inclusive hotels, which can usually be counted on to put on a fantastic entertainment programme. This area, however, is less about nightlife and more about soaking up Cuba’s laid-back island charm, so big discos and clubs are few and far between. You’ll certainly find some lovely water front beach clubs to watch the sunset and relax over a drink, and there is a smattering of livelier bars if you’re in the mood for some dancing. The city of Holguin has plenty going on, from salsa clubs and live gigs to mellow cafés oozing old-fashioned charm.
If you’re looking for a romantic holiday with your special someone in gorgeous Cuba, then Holguin is an ideal choice. It offers the full package of sun-drenched beaches with blazing white sands and crystal clear waters, charming seaside towns and the colourful and authentic city of Holguin itself. What could be more perfect? And there’s a fantastic choice of romantic all-inclusive hotels in Holguin to choose from, too. Oozing laid-back Cuban charm, this beautiful region has the perfect balance of tranquillity with plenty of things to see and do, whether you fancy snorkelling around a coral reef, horse-riding along the beach, or chilling out with a mojito as you listen to a salsa band.
Holguin is Cuba’s fourth-largest city, and is the focus of most of the region’s cultural activities and events. It’s a lovely city to stroll around, with its faded colonial architecture, spacious parks and elegant squares. It has a smattering of small museums, of which the most interesting perhaps is El Chorro de Maita, which has a recreation of a traditional indigenous Tineo village and burial ground. Holguin boasts lots of fantastic festivals, including the traditional Romerias de Mayo. This colourful, festive event takes place in May, and sees processions, dancing and lots of street decorations. Traditional Cuban music fans will enjoy the International Boleros de Oro festival in June, or if you want to party on the beaches, don’t miss Guardalavaca’s Luna Llena Festival in December. Cuba’s hippest alternative film festival takes place in picturesque Gibara in April.