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Chorro de Maíta: A Bet on History

The Cuban nation, whose origin can be rediscovered in ancient archeological sites, resulted from a blend among the aboriginal population, the Spanish conquistadors, African slaves and even Asian workers.

Cuban culture today still shows our ancestors' legacy, present in many human settlements bearing indigenous names, such as Camagüey, Havana and Cuba itself, which were transcribed according to the Latin alphabet.

One of those sites is near the eastern town of Banes, also known as Cuba's archeological capital, where the passage of time seems to have respected the history accumulated for centuries.

The site, Chorro de Maíta, was named after a nearby spring, in a zone that was traditionally inhabited by aboriginal agricultural groups who benefited from the climate and the soil's fertility before the Spanish conquest.

Years of work led to the discovery of the largest indigenous graveyard in the Caribbean, where scientific evidence proves that the skulls and skeletons found in the site belonged to people who lived between 1490 and 1540.

However, estimates go beyond those results, and scientists say that the findings belong to a primitive community that settled in the region some 10,000 years ago.

Chorro de Maita. Landscape
Chorro de Maita. Taino village. Main entrance
Chorro de Maíta. Taino Village. Panoramic view

It is particularly attractive and interesting for sightseers to visit the 2,000-square-meter sepulchral site, where 56 of 108 burials were dug out by archeologists, respecting the way, place and depth at which the bones were found.

In their excavations, archeologists also found a gold idol in the form of a bird's head, which represents the god Inriri Cahababayael and was adorned with coral beads and used by the aborigines to invoke nature.

Pearl shells, stones, fragments of pottery, dishes, human- and animal-shaped handles, mortars, beads and ear-rings made of shells and stones - considered the most attractive in the region - are silent witnesses in the site of Chorro de Maíta, as if they were the grave keepers.

The site is a favorite spot for vacationers who visit eastern Holguín province, where Cuba's major tourist groups (Cubanacán, Gaviota and Islazul, among others) run more than 2,300 hotel rooms.

Eight beach areas, several cays devoted to tourism, natural parks and a large extra-hotel infrastructure complement the tourist offer of the region, which is visited by thousands of foreign travelers every year.

White sands, a pleasant temperature and exuberant vegetation made up of coastal bushes, pristine forests and mangroves are part of an offer that visitors to the province cannot refuse.

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