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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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San Diego de los Baños: The Miracle of Water

Cuba combines beaches, sun, culture and traditions, a perfect blend that has added a new modality, health tourism, which has gained grounds in the past few years and is closely linked to the natural beauty of the largest Antillean island.

Cuba's tourist industry, initially oriented almost exclusively towards a traditional offer, is expanding its horizons with new options such as ecotourism and the improvement of visitors' quality of life.

With that goal, many health facilities, hotels specialized in providing different medical treatments, and spas with mineral waters offer their services to tourists. One of those spas is San Diego de los Baños, in the western Pinar del Rio Province.

The well-gained fame of San Diego de los Baños dates back some centuries ago, exactly to 1632, when a fortuitous event involving a slave brought to light the almost miraculous properties of its springs.

The anecdote - almost a legend - about Taita Domingo, a slave whose masters had granted him his freedom because he was seriously ill with skin lesions, and who wandered around the farm, has survived the passing of time.

During one of his walks, Taita Domingo discovered a spring later called La Gallina, which waters relieved and even cured his ailment, thus marking the beginning of a new era for that eastern Cuban region.

From that moment on, people suffering from different skin diseases traveled to the small town to treat their ailments, and they became an excellent means to spread the wonders of the region.

Near the spa, in a area full of springs with innumerable healing properties, stands the Mirador Hotel, which is run by the Islazul firm and has become a guarantee of the absolute tranquility needed to rest.

The hotel was founded in 1948 and named after an old Spanish colonial building that was used as a lookout. From its roof, visitors can enjoy the magnificent view of the surrounding virgin nature, very rich in animals and plants.

Over the years, the well-gained fame of San Diego de los Baños has attracted world renowned personalities such as German naturalist Alexander Humboldt, and Francesco Antomache, who was Napoleon Bonaparte's personal doctor.

Among the Cuban figures who visited San Diego de los Baños were Cirilo Villaverde, author of one of the most outstanding novels in national literature - "Cecilia Valdés" -, and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, who was elected president of the Republic in Arms during the 10-year war for independence that began in 1868.

Among the spa's therapeutic services are acupuncture, medicinal mud, apitherapy (use of bees to treat diseases) and the administration of medications of natural origin, as part of the techniques used in traditional medicine.

Within that context, rest is combined with the miraculous waters of the region's springs, providing visitors with a unique offer that allows them to cure their ailments and enjoy nature at the same time.

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Calle 23 Final, San Diego de los Baños

Pinar del Río
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