Introducing Ciego de Ávila
Scooped out of the former Las Villas and Camagüey territories, Ciego de Ávila is a modern province with profoundly traditional roots. Nowhere else in Cuba are the cultural affiliations as deeply embedded as they are here. From the Haitian voodoo liturgies practiced in Venezuela, to the red-and-blue caringa dance that enlivens rural Majagua, to the impromptu game of English cricket by West Indian immigrants in Baraguá, the images of eclectic rural life are as captivating as they are colorful.
The province's agricultural economy is dominated by sugarcane, cattle-ranching and citrus-fruit production, with the Ciego de Ávila pineapple well known islandwide for its all-round quality and sweetness. Luminous Laguna de Leche is Cuba's largest natural lake containing copious amounts of fish, and providing a freshwater fishing haven for armies of foreign anglers. Further east on the reclaimed Isla Turiguano, water-based activities give way to land antics as cowboys showcase their skills at one of the country's liveliest rodeos.
Ciego's biggest international draw-cards are Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo, two previously uninhabited keys situated 35km off the province's north coast. Flown in on charters from Canada and Europe, travelers to these flat, mangrove-covered islands are bussed from the airport to one of a dozen swanky new hotel complexes where organized activities are all part of the package. For some visitors the place feels about as Cuban as a passing cruise ship. Others lap up the luxury of the all-inclusive deal.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009