During our journey from Guardalavaca to Camaguey our bus broke down and we had to stop at Holguin and wait while it was repaired. The village was not part of our planned route, but we were pleasantly surprised to discover this town, which you can see in the photos. Holguin is protected by a ring of mountains which surround it, and that are also worth exploring. It is a modern city which does not have too many tourist services. However, in my opinion, it is worth visiting. The best starting point is the Plaza Calixto Garcia, the most important square in the city. Near the square, is the birthplace of Calixto Garcia.
I describe it as a penance, because it is. There are 465 steps leading up to a hill 275 meters above Holguin, a staircase built in 1950. But it became a must-visit spot in the city in 1790, at which time a cross was erected in hopes of ending the drought, and it's also a pilgrimage destination where annually on May 3rd a mass is held at its summit. Walking up takes about 20 minutes from the city centre, and I highly recommend buying water along the road, particularly in the small park with the plant remains of hurricane "Ike". A 1.5 litre bottle of water will disappear by the time you reach the top. I similarly recommend going first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the heat is more bearable. But of course, there is another option, and you can go by car up the road that gradually comes to the summit, just like the architects responsible for overseeing the reorganization of the city did. But, of course, going by car just isn't the same.
The trip we took from the island of Havana, was fantastic. We headed from Holguin to the small town of Velasco. It was a very charming Cuban village, with fabulous beaches, Horseshoe Beach is fantastic, clear and calm water, with very few tourists. From there we traveled to Santiago another charmingly beautiful and hospitable Cuban place.