Artemisa & Mayabeque Provinces
Leap-frogged by almost all international visitors, Cuba’s two smallest provinces, created by dividing Havana Province in half in 2010, are the preserve of more everyday concerns – like growing half of the crops that feed the nation, for example. But in among the patchwork of citrus and pineapple fields lie a smattering of small towns that will satisfy the curious and the brave.
The most interesting corner is Las Terrazas and Soroa, Cuba’s most successful ecoproject and an increasingly important nexus for trekking and birdwatching. East of Havana, Jibacoa’s beaches are the domain of a trickle of Varadero-avoiding tourists who guard their secret tightly. Wander elsewhere and you’ll be in mainly Cuban company (or none at all) contemplating sugar-plantation ruins, weird one-of-a-kind museums, and improbably riotous festivals. For a kaleidoscope of the whole region take the ridiculously slow Hershey train through the nation’s proverbial backyard and admire the view.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Artemisa & Mayabeque Provinces.