Few parts of the world get named after yachts, which helps explain why in Granma (christened for the boat that delivered Fidel Castro and his bedraggled revolutionaries ashore to kick-start a guerrilla war in 1956) Cuba's viva la Revolución spirit burns most fiercely. This is the land where José Martí died and where Granma native Carlos Manuel de Céspedes freed his slaves and formally declared Cuban independence for the first time in 1868.
The alluringly isolated countryside helped the revolutionary cause. Road-scarce Granma is one of Cuba's remotest regions, with lofty tropical mountains dense enough to harbor fugitive Fidel Castro for over two years in the 1950s.
Its isolation has bred a special brand of Cuban identity. Granma's settlements are esoteric places enlivened with weekly street parties (with outdoor barbecues and archaic hand-operated street organs), and provincial capital Bayamo is among the most tranquil and cleanest places in the archipelago.