Quote — Lily Tomlin

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CASA LIST BEGINS HERE
REGIONAL MAP HERE
Banes is a town full of irony. The history of the region around the town is unique as it is by far the richest aboriginal area of Cuba, one part of the land of the Araucos, neighbours of the Tainos, who lived further east near Baracoa.

From the 16th century, the waters offshore were plied by pirates, corsarios and their prey. In 1823, the township of Gibara (100km west) added the region to its authority. In 1887, Alfredo Dumois Gessé born in Saint-Domingue and already a major exporter of produce from Cuba, established the
Banes Fruit Company.

But it is better known as the place where
Fidel Castro Ruz was married in 1948 and Fulgencio Batista Zaldivar was born in 1901. From 1898 to the late Fifties, Banes was considered as a "company town", (almost wholly-)owned and operated by the infamous United Fruit Company (Chiquita bananas) which ran a sugar mill nearby called Boston. Its colonial past is not Spanish as it is American.

Stories say the cane cutters (
cortadores), who worked for UFC only during the three months of the zafra would cut off a finger to collect insurance and thus receive a regular revenue.

In 1910, the town administration split from Gibara with its own mayor and it built a large central park,
Parque Domínguez with, around it the Teatro Heredia, the Club Banes social club and its art deco church Nuestra Señora de la Caridad (photo at right).

The city dwellers started enjoying the beach at Guardalavaca from 1926 and so went the golden era of the sugar mills with the money the UFC and other authorities pumped for essential services like water mains and sewers. Banes became well-knwon through its institutions like the well-respected
Los Amigos College run by Quakers, the Colonia Española (turned into a Casa de la Cultura in 1978), the Workers Union, the Sociedad Minerva, Flor de la Caridad the town hospital sponsored by a rich woman named Batista. The Rotary Club founded the town's Biblioteca Rafael María Mendive. Noteworthy establishments included Teatro Hernández, the Palacio Municipal and, in 1953 Radio Banes.

In 2005, there were (very) long-term plans from Gaviota S.A. to build resorts on presently-deserted
Peninsula de Ramon, (west of Cayo Saetia; see maps) something in the order of 5-7,000 rooms (in lots of 500), eventually including a horseback riding center, 6 golf courses and a port for cruise ships.

You can drive from here to
El Ramon to enjoy its pristine nature. It's about a 55km via the village of Antilla.

MAPS & LINKS
Map - Gibara to Cayo Saetia
Map - North Coast from Puerto Padre to Banes
Map - The region
Local 14-day weather (forecast.co.uk)
Local radio (Holguin Radio Taino) 89.1 FM
Oriente - Itineraries & Circuits
Daily exchange rates
UFC's Chiquita (bananas), shameless racketeers
Holguin Bus — Ruta 16 + Ruta 24 + Ruta 25 + Ruta 26
All that's natural in Holguin Province

All the Web particuba.net
DISTANCES (km)
Baracoa,
Bayamo,
Biran, 100
Cayo Saetia, 100
Gibara, 103
Guardalavaca, 30
Holguin, 76 (via Baguano)
La Habana, 800
Las Tunas, 149
Manzanillo,
Mayari, 60
Santiago de Cuba, 205



First poster of the Revolucion — by Eladio Rivadulla (1923-2011)

dtcuba map holguin

POPULATION
80,610 (2007)

SEE.KNOW.DO
Museo Indocubano Bani, unique in the country for its pre-Columbian artefacts, its collections on the aboriginal Araucos : engravings, statuettes and a large collection of 800-year old necklaces. The collection, preserved by Orencio Miguel Alonso (until his exile in 1961) numbers some 20,000 aboriginal artefacts. It became public in 1965. Pieces were added since, some from major digs in the 80's Casa de la Cultura, one of the town's nicest buildings with its marble floors, its patio and pink and gold walls in what used to be the jewel of the Spanish colony, Colonia Española Museo de Historia for its icons of heroes of the Revolution Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Caridad where, on October 12 1948, the mayor's daughter, Mirta Diaz-Balart, got married to a 22-year old named Fidel Castro Ruz Museo Aborigen Chorro de Maita (27 km on the way to Guardalavaca) with a collection of some 60 skeletons of Spaniards from the 1490 to 1540 era.

PLAYAS
Morales, 12 km, from the name of the little town of fishermen. Guidebooks are only just starting to mention this place so try to keep it a secret... Puerto Rico, further up the coast. Largely deserted beach where the palm trees provide shade while you feast on seafood. Guardalavaca, 35 km, via Cañadon Corintia, 129 km, via Mayari, past Cayo Saetia : supposedly one of the best beaches in the area Gaviota, Almendra and Penon on Cayo Saetia.

RESTAURANTS & PALADARES
Las 400 Rosas by the museum; on General Marrero : Coctelera and Doña Yulla; best liked : El Latino (General Marrero 710) good musica, excellent fare; in front, La Vicaria open 24/7, good breakfasts, snacks & burgers, for 5cuc or less; also : Atabey, El Framboyán, El Toto, La Turquesa, El Ancla; private : El Paladar Familiar, Calle Bayamo 107, e/Ignacio Agramonte y general Moncado.

Casa en madera in a quiet riverside setting © Bond0700 panoramio
Casa en madera another wooden house in a quiet riverside setting © Bond0700 panoramio| The famous church, Art Deco styled, built in 1952, la Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Caridad © Bond0700 panoramio

Larger regional map on click.
Larger regional map on click.

Calle Veguita © sogestour
Calle Veguita © sogestour | Playa Puerto Rico

Statuette at Museo Indocubano Bani
Rare gold statuette at
Museo Indocubano Bani | Facade of said Museo located in the old Royal Bank of Canada building © Bond0700, panoramio

Playa Morales © Bond0700, panoramio
Playa Morales © Bond0700, panoramio | Zoom to the alturas © sogestour

Beach on Cayo Saetia •|• Cabin at Villa Cayo Saetia
Beach on Cayo Saetia | Cabin at Villa Cayo Saetia •|• hold-click : interior of cabin. © photobucket.com


Closest Viazul terminal : Holguin 2 x day via Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas — Ruta 16; three other rutas go through Holguin each day (links above) — Holguin Terminal de guaguas is located on Carretera Central No. 19 e/ 20 de Mayo e Independencia Tel. (24) 47-4430

EXCURSIONS
Parque Nacional La Mensura (25 km southwest of Mayari) Parque Natural Cayo Saetia (100 km, via Mayari). An isolated, green-covered, 42 sq km key with imported fauna (antelopes, aras, ostriches, buffalos, camels, iguanas, tapirs and zebras) for the all-day photo safaris sold in the Guardalavaca all-inclusive resorts. Clients arrive in helicopter or in jeeps. Some prefer staying at Villa Cayo Saetia, a Gaviota resort Tel. (24) 9-6900 with 12 bedrooms and 5 cabins (100cuc/day 3 meals) which lead to three lovely deserted playas : Gaviota, Almendra and Penon.

SERVICES
Bus service from Holguin 6 times a day (no Viazul or Astro busses running). If casas are all full, try the Motel Oasis (tel. 24-9-3447) : 28 bedrooms, bar and dining room.

Since Nov. 2002, travellers can visit the farm, in Biran, where

Fidel Castro was born on August 8 1926 and where he grew up with six brothers and sisters, including Raul, actual president.




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The site called Sitio Histórico de Birán is spread over 13 000 hectares. The original farm, Finca Mañacas, once covered twice that much.

Originally leased in 1910 from the United Fruit Company it was managed, then owned, by Angel Castro y Ariz (1875-1956), his father, a penniless Spanish soldier from Galicia (España).

During the rise of the revolution, in 1956, to make a point that rich
Cubans should share natural resources, Fidel had his father's sugar cane fields burned.

Sitio Histórico de Birán

Sitio Histórico de Birán

Visitors may tour the small community Angel Castro had built for his employees including a school and medical services — including the original family house.

Heritage & photos

Biran is 8 km east of Marcané and 6 from Alto Cedro : 76 km southeast of Holguin and 70 km SW of Banes via Cueto. > Map <

As the famous song
Chan Chan says :

De Alto Cedro voy para Marcané. Llego a Cueto, voy para Mayari. From Alto Cedro, I go to Marcané. I get to Cueto then go to Mayari.

Those towns are > here <

Open Tuesdays-Sundays, 9h-12h and 13h30-16h Fee : Tourists 10cuc (20 with camera; Cubans : 10 pesos MN, double with camera.

"The most honest, courageous politician I have ever met.", said reverend Jesse Jackson, during his 1984 visit to Havana.
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS
::: Make sure that in your first email or phone call you specify that you want to book a room in that particular casa and that you will reconfirm your booking on arrival in Cuba. Unless you only want a room in any house which may be of the same quality, not the specific casa you booked through photos on these websites ::: So as to not abandon expecting owners with empty rooms, reconfirm (or call ahead to cancel) your booking by phone as soon as you can after arriving in Cuba ::: Please write or phone a casa owner to cancel a booking. As late as it may seem, it allows them a chance to rebook. ::: Children under the age of 16 may share a bedroom with adults for free. Specify the child's age when booking. ::: Since October 2010, maximum bedroom capacity is not limited to two adults ::: Also, large casas are not limited to renting only two bedrooms per night. ::: At the end of the casa name, the V signals the casa was suggested by travelers or owners but not verified by the website staff. If you try it and like it, write us about it. ::: Unless otherwise mentioned, the average room rates and service prices are : 20-25cuc per bedroom per night [up to 40+ for 4 in a room]; breakfasts 3-5cuc, dinners 7-10cuc. ::: Note : monthly taxes have increased 15-50% for owners; this may be reflected on the aforementioned rates. ::: Any casa particular anywhere in Cuba must have a hot water shower, otherwise it cannot have a permit to rent ::: Please share your Complaints, comments & suggestions webmaster [@]cubacasas.net


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BOOK BY PHONE
• From Canada and the USA : 011 53 (add phone # preceded by 24 for Banes). ••• HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER HERE ••• CELL PHONE NUMBERS on our town lists and casa pages are preceded by 05 for calls originating Havana; from anywhere else in Cuba, dial 015 + the 7 digits of the cell.

BOOK BY EMAIL :
Click on logo to open a message addressed to that casa in your email application; or right-click to copy address. Spanish vocabulary here. Google translate here.

See the casas in sequence.

Click logo to move to next recommendation.
COLONIAL GUEST HOUSE
One large ventilated bedroom, private bath
Calle H #1526F, e/ Veguita y Francisco Franco, at the entrance to town center. Tel. (24) 80-2204



SERGIO y LYDIA
Two aircon bedrooms, each with ensuite bathroom
Calle Iglesia 4089, a bit passed the center, in reparto Nicaragua. Tel. (24) 80-2412 or 2472



ODALIS y MANOLO
Two aircon bedrooms, each with ensuite bathroom
Calle H #77, e/ avenida de Cardenas y Pisonero, on the street leading down to center. Tel. (24) 80-3120



EVELIN FERIA DIEGUEZ
Two vented bedrooms, each with ensuite bathroom
Calle Bruno Merino 3401-A e/ Delfin Pupo y Jose Maria Heredia in town centre. Tel. (24) 80-3150 or 80-2561



JULIO y OMAYDA DANTA
Two aircon bedrooms, each with ensuite bathroom
Calle Roble #85 A, e/7ma y 8va in reparto Silva, near the hospital. Tel. (24) 80-3243 or 80-3648




NANCY BACALLAO DRIGGS
One aircon bedroom, private bath
Calle Roble #85 A, e/7ma y 8va in reparto Silva, at the entrance to the town from Guardalavaca. Tel. (24) 80-3243 or 80-3648



VILLA BELLA
One aircon bedroom, private bath
Calle Carlos Manuel Cespedes 119, entre Flor Crombet y Augusto Blanca in town centre - reparto Cardenas Tél. (24) 80-2358




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Updated 01.08.2014