The province of Granma is renowned for its history and breathtaking natural beauty. It is home to the spectacular stretch of the Sierra Maestra mountains, as well as the country’s longest river, Río Cauto. Some of the most pristine coastal marine terraces in the Americas are situated along its rugged southern coastline. The province boasts two national parks, the Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra and the Parque Nacional Desembarco del Granma, habitat of botanical wonders including dwarf orchids and an ancient giant cactus and indigenous wildlife such as the tocororo and zunzun bird species.
Diego Velázquez de Cuellar founded Granma’s capital city, Bayamo, in 1513, making it Cuba’s second oldest city after Baracoa. Many of the original colonial buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1869, when citizens set the city ablaze rather than surrendering it to the invading Spaniards. The restored city centre has since been declared a national monument. The streets of Bayamo – and virtually every town in the province – come alive with street parties on Saturday nights, a lively and long-standing local tradition.
Granma is the birthplace of Cuban hero Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, who is considered the Father of the Homeland because of his role in the country’s fight for independence. Granma is also the site where Fidel Castro and his rebel soldiers famously disembarked from their yacht, the Granma, in 1956. The province contains a remarkable number of museums documenting its history.
The weekly Fiesta de la Cubanía in Bayamo is not to be missed. Old-fashioned pipe organs, enthusiastic games of chess, tasty treats and of course lots of dancing are the prime attractions.