Touring Holguin City…What would it be like?
The “city of the parks” lies in front of you like a puzzle of concrete and illustrated people with great pride of being citizens of Holguin, the land where the Cuban history began. To the north, Christopher Columbus may have disembarked in the late 1500s, uttering the phrase, “this is the most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen”.
The city was founded a little later though, around the 16th century by a Spanish soldier under the religious order of San Isidoro. That you recalled while standing in the “Park of the Flowers” facing the magnificent San Isidoro Church. It is the starting point of every tour around the city, in the core of one of the most spectacular holiday destinations in Cuba
The picturesque urban centre is filled with spaces like this one, where tourists staying at Holguin hotels love to sit for a good read and local children improvise championships of any type of sports.
The streets are shockingly clean, even in Maceo and Calixto Garcia squares where hundreds of people walk incessantly up and down the streets. You are taken to the History Museum located in the former. Its guide, a white-hair man of about 60 years old impresses you with his well-spoken English. He guides you through the province’s historical life in just 20 minutes, with 10 per cent of that time pointing at the Museum’s most precious treasure, the Holguin Axe, a 35-centimetre-long, pre-Columbian carved axe head discovered in 1860 near the city.
The stroll continues to Calixto Garcia Park, “the liberator of the East” like he is often referred to as. An equestrian statue of the hero who liberated the town in 1872 has been placed in the ample plaza, which proudly signals to the brave man’s birthplace, where you are taken also.
On a corner of the park, the Casa de la Trova, makes itself evident to the eyes of Cuba travel enthusiasts through vibes of extraordinary traditional music. “There you go” say maracas, bongos and guitars with amazing mastery as you walk in the small premise where a young couple perform a typical dance. There is a cocktail included in the visit so you repeat Mojito, as paying respect to local mixology.
Next step is the Loma de la Cruz, to the west of town, from here the city seems an 18th Century painting. This hill, treasures a wooden cross, the symbol of one of the city’s most rooted traditions. It was placed here by fray Antonio Joseph Alegre, in 1790 to protect Holguin from diseases, curses and natural catastrophes. Almost immediately, local settlers embraced the site as a holy spot to where going in pilgrimage every year, attracting tourists spending holidays in Cuba and nationals from every part of the country.
The trip ends up at Mirador de Mayabe, a beautiful and quiet hotel, overlooking the fantastic Mayabe Valley.
While you enjoy lunch in one of the facility’s restaurants your eyes are fixed in something else, the amazing donkey Pancho. Small and clumsy, this grey-skin animal is able to drink as much beer as you can serve him. So used to perform his act in front of many tourists, the Pancho is a great picture mate, always willing to share a drunk smile with any of the guests.
Returning to your beach hotel you revise the moments of the day. There’ll be plenty to write up on your blog, the Holguin City Tour, you will most definitely recommend.