Holguin, Gibara, and Guardalavaca

The capital of Holguín Province is sometimes called The City of Parks, and even a short visit will show you why. Though Holguin city is largely flat, it is surrounded by hills, two of which are topped by miradors (lookouts) that make great destinations for a short cycle outing. It's also a friendly town; here, bici-taxi drivers and pedestrians all want to talk with visitors from the U.S.
Holguín Province is a wonderful area for cycle touring. Rich, rolling fields to the north and east are backed by hills punctuated by mogotes reminiscent of those in Pinar del Rio. There is an easy and delightfully scenic ride north to Gibara, a modest, somewhat ramshackle port town.

In some ways, Gibara is reminiscent of Baracoa, with weather-beaten, pastel buildings and loads of charm — but smaller and without the hordes of tourists. There is even an ongoing dispute as to whether Columbus first landed in Baracoa or in Gibara.

The coast is indented with bays and blessed with gorgeous beaches like Playa Pesquero, Guardalavaca, and nearby Playa Esmerelda. We don't often stay in luxury hotels, but we had the good luck to wait out a hurricane here at the Superclub in Playa Pesquero.