Quote — Lily Tomlin
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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-known 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 (wtf!) 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.

Rising and downward tides - Bay of Nipe
Birding in Holguin province
A visit to nearby Boca de Sama
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
Baracoa, 236
Bayamo, 154

Biran, 85
Cayo Saetia, 100
Gibara, 88
Guardalavaca, 37
Holguin, 96 (Apo)
La Habana, 829
Las Tunas, 165
Manzanillo, 215
Mayari, 68
Santiago, 160


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

dtcuba map holguin

POPULATION 80,610 (2007)


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.

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.

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


Parque Nacional La Mensura (25 km southwest of Mayari) Boca de Sama site of a Florida-based Alpha66 attack in 1971 by one of the Che's CIA-sponsored assassins. It is also a lovely bay. 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) 49-6900 with 12 bedrooms and 5 cabins (100€/US$/day 3 meals) which lead to three lovely deserted playas : Gaviota, Almendra and Penon.

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) 49-3447) : 28 bedrooms, bar and dining room.

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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.

100 photos here.

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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.


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.
::: Since January 2021, the CUC (Cuban Convertible) currency no longer is valid; all tourist services are payable only in foreign currency, cash or credit card. ::: Bring cash Euros or US dollar$, etc because Cuban banks and Foreign Exchange Bureaus (CADECA) will only exchange your currency (CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, JPY, MXN, USD) for the local currency - the CUP (US$1 = 24 CUP) which might be useful for local stuff; get other details here. ::: Make sure that in your first email or phone call you specify that you want to book a room in that particular casa and that you will reconfirm your booking on arrival in Cuba::: So as to not abandon expecting owners with empty rooms, reconfirm (or call ahead to cancel) your booking by phone as soon as you can after arriving in Cuba ::: Please write or phone a casa owner to cancel a booking. As late as it may seem, it allows them a chance to rebook. ::: Children under the age of 16 may share a bedroom with adults for free. Specify the child's age when booking. ::: At the end of the casa name, the V signals the casa was suggested by travelers or owners but not verified by us in person. If you try it and like it, write us about it. ::: Unless otherwise mentioned, the average room rates and service prices are : 25-30
€/US$ per bedroom per night [up to 40€/US$+ for 4 in a room]; breakfasts 3-5€/US$, dinners 8-15€/US$. ::: 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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• 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 01 + the 8 digits of the cell.

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.

One large bedroom, private bath, colonial house
Calle H #1526F, e/ Veguita y Francisco Franco, at the entrance to town center. Tel. (24) 80-2204


Three aircon bedrooms, ensuites
Calle Capitán Capdevila # 505 e/ Carlos Manuel de Céspedes y Antonio Maceo, one block from Plaza José Martí. Tél. (24) 80-4096

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

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

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

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

One aircon bedroom, private bath
Calle Roble 85, e/7ma (septima) y 8va (octava) in reparto Silva, at the entrance of town from Guardalavaca. Tel. (24) 80-3243 or 80-3648

One aircon bedroom, private bath
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes 119, e/ Flor Crombet y Augusto Blanco in town centre - reparto Cardenas Tél. (24) 80-2358

Upstairs, one ac bedroom, ensuite, balcony
Calle General Marrero 317, e/ avenida Marti y Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, facing Museo Indocubano, steps from main parque Marti Cel 52 61 51 65


Upstairs, one ac br, ensuite, private entrance
Augusto Blanco 1107, e/Bruno Merino y Bayamo, on parque Central above rest rant.Tél. (24) 80-2905


Footprint Handbook (FH), Lonely Planet (LP), Le Routard (LR), Moon Handbooks (MH), Petit Futé (PF), Stefan-Loose (SL) and web site Trip Advisor (TA)
::: FH
: Cary Hernandez y Jorge Mulet, Villa Lao (El Chino), Villa Gilma, Sonia Diaz Abaleen ::: LP : Villa Lao, Villa Gilma, Las Delicias ::: LR : Las Delicias, Guesthouse Evelin (Feria Dieguez), Hostal Paraiso ::: MH : Evelin Feria Dieguez, Villa Luna ::: PF : Isabel y Fernando, Villa Barcelo ::: SL : Evelin Feria Dieguez, Villa Bella ::: TA : Casa Marcia, Hostal Paraiso, Hostal Carmen, Guesthouse Evelin (Feria Dieguez), Julio y Omaida Danta, Villa Lao 18.02.18 GG+LR 230120 PF+TA  04.03.20

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Updated 08.06.2021

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