Neither Occidente nor Oriente, Camagüey is Cuba's provincial contrarian, a region that likes to go its own way in political and cultural matters – and usually does – defying expectations in Havana and Santiago. These seeds were sown in the colonial era, when Camagüey's preference for cattle ranching over sugarcane meant less reliance on slave labor and more enthusiasm to eliminate the whole system.
Today Cuba's largest province is a mostly pancake-flat pastoral landscape of grazing cattle, lazy old sugar mill towns and, in the south, a few low-but-lovely hill ranges. It's flanked by Cuba's two largest archipelagos: Sabana-Camagüey in the north and Jardines de la Reina in the south, both almost virgin in places, though development is already underway in the cays to the north.
With its alluring architecture, illustrious citizens of note and cosmopolitan airs, the staunchly Catholic capital of Camagüey is the star attraction.