Last updated on March 8th, 2016

Too often, tourists stay at resorts and take the odd tour in Cuba. If you’re visiting Holguin, stay in a casa particular (private room) and explore the authentic Cuba. Below are 5 things to do in Holguin. All of which I’ve tried and recommend.

Loma De La Cruz

The Hill of the Cross is located at the edge of Holguin with a spectacular view of the city. You can test your fitness level by climbing the stairs to the top. You may want to walk up the stairs at night because of the frying heat during the day. Taking a taxi is always an option. Make sure to bring your camera to take pictures.

View from Hill of The Cross, Holguin, Cuba

View from Hill of The Cross

Holguin Carnival

Every year in the third week of August, Holguin turns into party central. The festivities last four to seven days where you can find costumes, music, dancing, street food and lots of booze in many of the squares and parks in Holguin. Not to mention the beautiful Cuban people. Be prepared to dance until the late morning. I advise to rent a casa particular in Holguin during carnival. The resorts are about an hour’s drive away so you don’t want to waste time and money on a taxi.

Carnival in Cuba

The Cabaret Show at Nocturno

See Cuban dancers perform a great show for a 5 to 10 CUC cover fee. Nocturno is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays depending on weather (no roof). After the cabaret show the venue turns into a disco. You’ll see plenty of beautiful men and women dancing. I find Saturdays to be the best night. There are prostitutes here but they aren’t usually a problem. However, be careful of pickpockets as this place is known for them. I never bring my passport here. Sometimes the doormen will ask to see your passport for an ID check. I tell them I never bring my passport to this venue because of pickpockets. The doormen always let me in.

1910 Restaurante Bar and Grill

1910 is the best restaurant in Holguin in my opinion and the opinion of many tourists. The place is small with a classy feel to it. Sometimes you’ll have to make a reservation to get a table. There is also a small bar at the back if you prefer waiting. I find it funny for a Cuban restaurant to take their orders using a Lenovo tablet — they’re moving up in technology. You can get a great meal for 10 to 20 CUC including a few drinks. I always order the shrimp cocktail; it’s the best one I’ve eaten in Cuba. The main course portions are huge so you should consider not ordering any side dishes to save some money. I always have a problem just finishing the main dish.

Shrimp Cocktail at 1910 Restaurante Bar & Grill, Holguin, Cuba

Shrimp Cocktail at 1910 Restaurante Bar & Grill

Guardalavaca Beach

What good is Cuba without visiting one of their better beaches? Located in the northeastern coast of Holguin Province, this beach is a nice place to relax while viewing the blue waters. At the end of the beach is a rocky coast with a restaurant above.

Guardalavaca Beach, Cuba

Guardalavaca Beach

What other things to do in Holguin should be on this list?