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Hotels in Guantanamo, Cuba

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Best hotels in Guantanamo

Guantanamo may be one of Cuba’s furthest-flung cities, nearly 600 miles from Havana and surrounded by mountains, but it lies at the heart of the country’s musical heritage. It was in this province that changüí—the musical predecessor of son montuno and salsa—was first tapped out on bongo and tres 200 years ago. It’s also here that one of the last surviving tumba francesa societies performs this venerable Haitian dance and music tradition. And who hasn’t heard the strains of “Guantanamera,” Cuba’s most popular song that sings of a girl from Guantanamo?

Things to see in Guantanamo

Like most Cuban cities, much of Guantanamo's civic life revolves around the central square, Parque José Martí, named for the famed 19th-century poet and revolutionary. Here you’ll find the Parroquia de Santa Catalina de Ricci, a tiny colorful church that’s actually the town’s cathedral—possibly the smallest in the world. Nearby is a more impressive building, the Palacio Salcines, a grand neocolonial building that today hosts an art gallery and decorative art museum. But it’s the musical heritage that most impresses here, particularly in the shape of the Santa Catalina de Ricci Pompadour Society. This is one of the last traditional Tumba Francesa groups, performing this 18th-century dance that’s part Haitian, part French, and 100% Cuban. And don’t miss a chance to visit the Casa del Changüí, a museum that pays homage to changüí, yet another of this nation’s many musical gifts to the world.

Hotels in Guantanamo

This far-eastern Cuban city is still something of an undiscovered gem for most visitors to Cuba, so hotels in Guantanamo are modest in number. There are a few large and modern mid-range hotels boasting a full complement of amenities—restaurants, air-con, and in-room satellite TV. But true luxury hotels in Guantanamo are thin on the ground. This is not the case with discount hotels: the city has several budget options where visitors have the chance to sample local food and enjoy a typical warm welcome, all at very affordable Guantanamo hotel rates.

Where to stay in Guantanamo

Guantanamo is laid out on a regular grid, with the 2 main avenues being the Carretera Central de Cuba (running east-west) and Pedro Perez (north-south). The central plaza of Parque José Martí is found where these roads cross. Most of the best accommodation is within 10 blocks or so of this square, in the city’s older, historical core. This central area is also home to most of Guantanamo’s main attractions. There are also a small number of modern hotels in the outer neighborhoods, located closer to the Autopista Nacional, the main route into the city. These are good for those planning to explore the wider Guantanamo province.

How to get to Guantanamo

Because of its remoteness and lack of international flight connections, many who travel to Guantanamo fly into Havana before heading to Mariana Grajales Airport. This airport lies a couple of miles south of the city, and receives daily flights from the capital. You can also arrive by road from Santiago, just an hour’s drive to the west, or Baracoa, which will take a couple hours by car. Both these routes are also traveled by Viazul buses, but these take considerably longer. The city is large, so if you don’t have a hire car, look out for horse-drawn coches or private-hire taxi jeeps.