Overview

At the eastern end of the island are the wilderness mountain ranges of the Sierra Maestra.  Little visited and unspoilt, the isolated environment shelters a remarkable range of flora and fauna and the highest peak on Cuba, Pico Turquino (1,972m). The region’s inaccessibility has been the attraction for rebellious groups since colonial times. The area was the heart of the insurrection against Spain, and became part of contemporary Cuban lore when the Castro brothers and a handful of comrades took refuge in the lush greenery to plot their revolution. Nowadays it is a peaceful environment in which to hike, with some glorious viewpoints over the island and the Caribbean Sea.

Northeast of the Sierra Maestra is a delightful area of countryside where crinkly green hills speckled with royal palms extend down to perhaps the most attractive stretch of the north coast. Between them, in the flatter valleys you’ll find the verdant fields of the ubiquitous sugar cane plantations. Holguin is a pleasant town with an international airport, enabling visitors to leave Cuba for the far east of the island without having to return to Havana. It’s worth a look, but more alluring is the little port Gibara, on the Caribbean coast 32km to the north. The arty town, which lives from fishing (especially lobster), but which hosts a film festival in April, has a jumble of squat red-tiled colonial houses, a couple of museums and expensive sea views from the nearby hilltop ruined fort. Along the coast are a number of fairly unspoilt beach resorts situated in charming coves, such as the well established Guardalavaca.

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Where to go when - our guide to Sierra Maestra and the southeast

Sierra Maestra

The weather in Sierra Maestra and the southeast is wide and varied

The wild mountain ranges of the Sierra Maestra are unspoilt and little visited, with an astounding range of flora and fauna. The arty fishing town of Gibara hosts a film festival in April. Temperatures are hot throughout the year, especially from June - November when humidity is high. Hurricanes can strike from August - November.

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    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

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    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

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    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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