Guantanamo is geographically Cuba’s southeastern most point, an exceptionally beautiful, natural and large subtropical bay surrounded by vibrant vegetation and a unique semicircle of low slung mountains. To the West of the province you will find the semi-desert “Los Cerros de los Monitongos” mountains. Renowned nationally as the driest place in Cuba, its unusual climate and terrain looks more like the Gobi desert than part of what is essentially a tropical Cuba. This unique microclimate brings with it a unique range of animals and plant species, all endemic to this tiny area of Cuba. Conversely, to the North East are the wettest mountain ranges in Cuba featuring, unsurprising, the largest rivers in all Cuba.
Caimanera is a tiny fishing village and port of 10,600 people. Soaring over the West shore of the sheltered Guantanamo Bay, the village is also just north of the US GTMO naval base. The Caimanera port ships predominantly salt, sugarcane and coffee. Residents of this remote, southeastern community of narrow streets and weathered ramshackle houses are the closest Cuban neighbors to the US military base GTMO.
Guantánamo province, whose area covers over 6 184 square kilometers (75 percent covered by mountains) is Plethoric of history, crossed from south to north by 75th Greenwich west meridian, which governs the time in Cuba.
Guantanamo’s highest peak is La Cana Hill, in Imías, at a breathtaking 1174 meters (3,851 feet) above sea level, but the most famous peaks are the El Yunque and El Pan de Azucar.
Not far from the latter lies the above mentioned Cuban semi-desert region which lays: sprawling along the Caimanera-Maisí coastline. This region is Cuba’s area of most droughts, raining only once or twice a year. However, it’s a real botanical garden of Cactus flora and xerophytes, accessible to tourists thanks to the stunning Via Azul highway and the amazing La Farola viaduct, which make it much easier to get to this unique place directly from the city. Of course we cannot speak about Guantanamo with thinking of the inspired Joseito Fernández composed song of “Guantanamera”. Probably the world’s most recognized Cuban song.
Amazingly, the Via Azul highway and the La Farola viaduct were completed in just over a year and open to traffic on July 26, 1965, the route crosses from south to north of the Nipe Sagua Baracoa mountain massif and is an amazing drive if you rent a car in Cuba.
Imias is a coastal village offering one of the regions principal tourist attractions, the Cajobabo Beach, which has become a shrine and National Monument due it being the place through which José Martí and General Máximo Gómez landed on April 11, 1895, to participate in the War of independence, which was both the last and the decisive Cuban battle against Spanish colonialists.
Guantánamo offers many things for all tastes, both for those who prefer the lush environment and stunning mountain ranges, or those who are seduced by the provincial charm of the oldest Cuban urban center. While visiting Guantánamo, travelers can opt to visit the tropical rainforests of Alejandro de Humboldt National Park. Music lovers can visit the historic Victorino Rodriguez Trova House.
Overall, Guantanamo has some of Cuba’s most breathtaking scenery and underlying cultural roots. As an added curiosity there’s the now infamous GTMO American Naval base which is clearly visible from the bay and surrounding mountains.