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.
Granma’s coast on Cuba’s southern shore features unique black sand and stunning views, thanks to its proximity to the spectacular Sierra Maestra mountain range.
Marea del Portillo Beach
This quiet beach is perched on a cove and framed by the stunning Sierra Maestra mountain range.
Sandwiched between the shimmering Caribbean waters and the majestic Sierra Maestra mountain range, the coastal village of Marea del Portillo is endowed with great natural beauty. Enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline from a seafari or sunset yacht tour. Take in the underwater sights on a scuba or snorkeling excursion, and be sure to see sunken ships and a fascinating assortment of sea creatures. The region also offers great fishing.
Boating and sailing
Enjoy an unforgettable view of the mountain-lined coast from aboard a touring yacht.
Watch the sun sink into the blue sea on a tranquil sunset yacht tour. Departs from Marea del Portillo.
Embark on a seafari cruise that glides along the Portillito Ensenada lake out to the open sea. Another popular seafari route takes you to Cayo Blanco, where you can enjoy lunch on the beach.
Bait some big ones in Granma’s peaceful waters.
Albacora Marea del Portillo Diving Centre
Reel in some snapper, grouper, marlin and barracudas on a fishing yacht that departs from here. The guided fishing excursions include fishing tackles and an open bar.
Scuba diving and snorkeling
As part of the ecosystem of the easternmost part of Cuba, the seabed has high hillocks separated by narrow ravines that form caves and tunnels where you can see several kinds of fish, crustaceans and mollusks. Explore the ships from Admiral Cervera’s fleet, which are in very good condition, even after more than a century at the bottom of the sea.
Albacora Marea del Portillo Diving Center
Set out to the region’s dive sites from here and head toward Cabo Cruz, at the southwestern tip of eastern Cuba, where you can see beautiful formations of staghorn coral, gorgonians, common sea fans and a profusion of fish.
Granma’s diverse terrain offers plenty of unique opportunities for land adventures. Hike through the Sierra Maestra mountains to explore the region’s history and reach some of the country’s tallest peaks. Visit the site of Castro’s historic landing at the Parque Nacional Desembarco del Granma, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the former sugar mill where Carlos Manuel de Céspedes famously proclaimed Cuba’s independence in 1868. Or enjoy a horseback ride along the rugged Caribbean coastline.
Granma offers plenty of excursion options. See local farmers at work along a charming river walk, trek to the top of Cuba’s highest peak or visit two of the region’s most historically important sites.
Demajagua’s Historic Ruins
See where Carlos Manuel de Céspedes freed his slaves and rang the bell to declare Cuba’s Independence in 1868 at this former sugar mill near Manzanillo. Learn about the historic events at the museum here.
Cauto River walking tour
Marvel at the beautiful sights along this sparkling river that runs through the Sierra Maestra mountain range, including peaceful ponds, enchanting waterfalls and local farmers tending to their crops. This tour departs from Marea del Portillo.
La Plata Rebel Army Command Post
Take a guided hike through points of interest related to the time Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolution leader, spent here coordinating his rebel activities. Regular tours depart by Jeep from Santo Domingo Villa.
Trek to the top of Cuba’s highest peak in Sierra Maestra National Park. A knowledgeable guide points out the region’s unique flora and fauna along the two-day hike.
Marea del Portillo
Explore the beach on one of the horseback riding trips that departs from both of the hotels here. Or sit back and enjoy the view on a leisurely horse-drawn carriage ride.
Explore Granma’s stunning landscape that includes majestic mountain ranges and pristine coastal cliffs. Its gorgeous nature trails are lined with fascinating historically significant sites, like Fidel Castro’s former command post and intricate pre-Columbian cave carvings.
Granma’s two national parks offer both stunning scenery and rich history.
Parque Nacional Desembarco del Granma
See the most pristine coastal cliffs in the Americas in this National Park, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its significance as the site of Castro’s landing with rebel forces in 1956. Highlights of the park include Cabo Cruz, an incredibly well-preserved marine terrace; and the Sendero Arqueológico Natural El Guafe, an archeological site within underground caverns featuring pre-Columbian artifacts.
Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra
This gorgeous park is located in the heart of the stunning Sierra Maestra mountain range, and contains Pico Turquino, Cuba’s highest peak. You’ll find an array of endemic species here, including Sabicu (a West Indian tree commonly used for shipbuilding), and birds such as Carta Cuba, Tocororo and Zunzun. This park contains many sites of historical interest, such as La Plata, which served as Fidel Castro’s headquarters in the late 1950s.
Enjoy Granma’s unspoiled natural attractions.
Sendero Arqueológico Natural El Guafe
Explore the caverns spread across the Parque Nacional Desembarco del Granma. Don’t miss the noted Ídolo del Agua, which pre-Columbian Indians carved out of stalagmites inside one of the caverns.
El Yarey Villa
There are great bird-watching opportunities at the charming nature reserve El Yarey Villa in Jiguani. You’ll see plenty of endemic and migratory birds here.
See many of Granma’s native flora flourishing at this expansive botanical garden located just outside of Bayamo. You’ll find 74 types of palms, various cacti, beautiful orchids and a selection of endangered plants spread over 104 hectares.
Arts and culture
Granma has an incredible selection of museums documenting the province’s rich history. Browse exhibits from the declaration of independence in 1868, Bayamo’s Great Fire of 1869, the revolution of the 1950s and even a museum featuring waxworks of famous Cubans. Granma also boasts lively venues where you can dance and enjoy live music across the province.
Granma’s second largest city, Manzanillo, lays claim to stunning architecture, including its famous glorieta – an ornate gazebo modeled after the Patio de los Leones in the Spanish Alhambra.
Ruinas de la Quema de Bayamo
See remnants of Bayamo’s Fire at this exhibit in the Plaza del Himno.
Plaza de la Patria (Bayamo)
Pay tribute to Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, known as the Father of our Homeland, at this plaza.
Plaza del Himno
This plaza commemorates the first time the National Anthem was sung publicly, on October 20, 1868. It was composed by Perucho Figueredo. Since 1980, October 20th was proclaimed the Day of Cuban Culture.
Luz Vázquez’s Window
See where the revolutionary song “Lay Bayamesa” was sung for the first time at this former home of Luz Vázquez. A ceremony is held here every Saturday at 9 p.m.
Plaza de la Revolución
Framed by statues of General García, José Joaquín Palma, Canducha Figueredo and Antonio Maceo, this square was originally called Plaza de Armas. It was renamed the Plaza de la Revolución in 1898, after Major General Calixto García’s army took over Bayamo.
Capilla La Dolorosa
Visit Bayamo’s Plaza del Himno to see this charming Baroque chapel built between 1733 and 1740.
Retablo de los Héroes
This bronze statue of Francisco Vicente Aguilera, the former mayor of Bayamo, was sculpted in 1954, and features a marble base. The statue is lined with 33 medallions in honour of outstanding Bayamo personalities.
Perucho Figueredo monument
Be sure to see the impressive granite marble bust of Figueredo, who composed the National Anthem. You’ll find it in Bayamo’s Plaza de la Revolución.
Celia Sánchez monument (Manzanillo)
This homage to Fidel Castro’s heroine was built in 1990, and features a terracotta-tiled staircase featuring colourful ceramic murals. Climb to the top for great views of the city.
Iglesia de la Purísima Concepción (Manzanillo)
Gaze up at the distinctive twin bell towers atop this church erected in 1805. Be sure to step inside to see the impressive gilded altarpiece.
Parque Céspedes (Manzanillo)
Be sure to see this busy central square’s centerpiece: the glorieta, a unique, beautifully ornamented gazebo/bandstand.
San Salvador de Bayamo Church (Bayamo)
This site has housed a church since 1514. The current incarnation was erected in 1740, but lost some of its architectural details in the fire of 1869. A church has existed on this site since 1514. The church features a central arch with a mural commemorating the blessing of the Demajagua Flag and the first performance of the National Anthem in 1868.
Join in one of the rousing parties, featuring music, food, chess and dancing, held across the province each week.
Get the full Granma experience by joining the festive parties that happen each week in towns like Bayamo, Manzanilo and Pilón
Don’t miss the open-air fun in the village of Pilón on Saturday nights. Although the town’s sugar mill is now closed, the locals still dance the pilón, a variation which imitates the pounding of sugar.
Galería de Arte (Bayamo)
Browse wonderful pieces by local artists at this gallery in Bayamo.
Granma has a remarkable number of museums documenting its rich history.
Museo Municipal (Yara)
The town of Yara operated as an integral supply centre during the revolutionary war in the 1950s. This museum houses plenty of interesting artifacts and documents related to Yara’s unique history.
Monumento Nacional Los Cayuelos (Niquero)
Visit the small fishing community of Niquero to see this monument honouring the victims of the Granma landing, who were killed by Batista’s troops in 1956.
Museo La Demajagua (Manzanillo)
See where Carlos Manuel de Céspedes freed his slaves and rang the bell to declare Cuba’s Independence in 1868 at this former sugar mill near Manzanillo. Learn about the historic events at the small museum here.
Museo de Cera (Bayamo)
For something completely different, stop by this wax museum that features waxworks of famous Cubans like Benny Moré and Polo Montañez.
Museo Ñico López (Bayamo)
See remnants of the historic battle of July 26, 1953, when the Cuban rebel army faced off against the oppressor army. The museum is named after Ñico López, who headed one of the squadrons.
Museo Casa Natal de Carlos Manuel de Céspedes (Bayamo)
This colonial house is one of the oldest in Bayamo, built in the early 19th century. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, known as the Father of our Homeland, was born here on April 18, 1819. Browse artifacts, art and furniture that belonged to this national hero.
Museo Provincial (Bayamo)
Time your visit to this museum – which features artifacts and documents from the Fire of 1869 – to coincide with the piano concert held here every third Sunday.
Estadio Mártires de Barbados (Bayamo)
While in Bayamo, catch one of Cuba’s top baseball teams on their home turf. Baseball season runs from October through April.
Enjoy a play, a concert, a stirring ballet performance or a children’s theatre production at one of Granma’s historic theatres.
Teatro de Manzanillo
This beautiful theatre has been meticulously restored, and is decorated with stunning oil paintings. It often hosts performances by touring dance companies like the Ballet de Camagüey.
Catch local and touring productions here.
Sala Teatro José Joaquín Palma (Bayamo)
This theatre in Bayamo’s historic centre sits on the former site of the La Luz Church. The post-modern theatre was designed by Cuban architect Walter Betancourt in the 1940s. It hosts performances each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening. Saturdays feature productions by Teatro Guiñol, the noted Cuban children’s theatre company.
There’s plenty for the kids to enjoy in family-friendly Granma, including carriage rides and children’s theatre productions.
Catch a children’s theatre production at Bayamo’s Sala Teatro José Joaquín Palma.
Take the kids on a fun horse-drawn carriage ride through Bayamo.
Granma’s capital city, Bayamo, is full of leafy parks, bustling plazas, unique monuments and lively street life. Don’t miss the elaborate statues of historic figures like Perucho Figueredo, José Joaquin Palma and General García lining the Plaza de la Revolución.
Nightclubs and Bars
La Esquina Traditional Bar
Enjoy an international cocktail or a Cuban concoction at this charming local bar in Bayamo.
Restaurants and Cafes
Whether you’re in the mood for fast food or leisurely dining, Bayamo has something for everyone.
Savour a light meal with family and friends at this friendly Bayamo restaurant. Don’t miss the shows by local performers held here each Friday and Saturday evening.
Restaurant La Casona
Enjoy the view from this restaurant in Bayamo’s bustling Plaza de la Revolución.
Dinos Pizza La Popular
Grab a slice at this popular Granma pizza joint that has locations in Bayamo and Manzanillo.
Calle General García (Bayamo)
For local shops, head to Bayamo’s pedestrian-friendly main shopping boulevard lined with eye-catching murals.
Festivals and events
The calendar is full of events to celebrate in lively Granma.
Festival de la Trova Carlos Puebla (November)
Celebrate the famous Cuban boleros singer, guitarist and composer Carlos Puebla during this festival held from November 29 – December 2 in Manzanillo.
Encuentro de Bandas de Concierto (June)
This spirited Bayamo festival features performances by a variety of bands from June 8-11.
Festival del Libro en la Sierra (May)
Escape to this book festival in the mountains, held in Guisa from May 10-12.
Fiesta de la Cubanía
Celebrate Cuban culture during the festivities held each October 17-20.