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Weekly report on Cuba's tourism industry
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Cuba: Tourism, History and Traditions

Cuba's tourism industry, a fast-growing economic sector, has based its development on the Caribbean island's patrimonial, historic and cultural values, which complement other tourist options.

From west to east, Cuba boasts a unique geography that provides a wide range of options for those who choose the island nation to spend their vacations.

In the east is Santiago de Cuba, which is the country's second major city and is considered the capital of the Caribbean, due to its privileged location and centuries-old history.

Downtown Santiago, where there is a myriad of museums, is the former Arms Square, which is currently known as the Céspedes Park, in honor of the Father of the Homeland, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes.

Near Arms Square is Cuba's oldest house, which belonged to Governor Diego Velázquez and functioned as the Crown's Trading and Foundry House. It has a stone façade and still bears some original elements such as Moorish latticework.

The city offers rich gastronomic options, including both Cuban and international cuisine, and several hotels such as the Meliá Santiago are available.

Casa Granda Hotel, Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba`s City Hall
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On the outskirts of the city is Gran Piedra (Large Rock) – the largest rock on earth according to the Guinness Book of Records. The majestic and imposing rock weighs 63,000 tons and is 1,220 meters above sea level.

Nature enthusiasts can enjoy trekking, mountain climbing and cycling, as well watching the local flora and fauna, among other options.

Research has shown that the Gran Piedra Mountain Range was the main settlement for French immigrants in the 19th century, where the ruins of dozens of coffee farms can be visited.

Tourists can also visit the Baconao Park, which was declared a biosphere reserve and is famous for its stone zoo in the Valley of Prehistory, the Museum of Transportation and the Promenade of Sculptures.

Baconao also has an aquarium, where visitors can learn about the marine fauna of the Caribbean region.

The Museum of Transportation exhibits more than 2,000 miniature vehicles, as well as an exhibition of life-size old cars.

The ancient fauna is also present at the Valley of Prehistory, where visitors can watch life-size replicas of extinguished animals made of stone.

Near Santiago de Cuba is the Sanctuary of the Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Cuba's patron saint, which is visited every year by thousands of people searching for hopes to make their dreams come true.

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