Gibara, Cuba



where nature, history and architecture are mixed in a peculiar environment




Gibara was originally an Indian settlement and in the early 1800's a barracks and a 2km fortress were built to protect  the settlement from pirates thus making Gibara Cubas 2nd walled city (Havana being the 1st); the sparkling-white facades of the barracks earned Gibara its nick-name

 “La Villa Blanca” 


Largely due to it’s geographical location; Gibara became a major port in the 18th century, serving cities like Holguin, Bayamo, Banes and las Tunas;  It was the main port access by sea for the entire north eastern Cuba and therefore prospered in the 19th century as the sugar industry expanded and trade rolled in. 

Gibara was linked to Holguin, the provincial capital; via a railway, but with the construction of the Carretera Central Rail Road - a west to east highway spanning the length of Cuba; Gibara lost its economic importance and the last train was axed in 1958.  As tourism increases in Gibara there is talk of re-opening the old railway.


Gibaras' economy today is based on textile production, fisheries, the making of snuff for export and domestic consumption.  Tourism is based mostly on day visitors who independently “pass by” to see what Gibara has to offer to the curious.


Gibara was a wealthy and fashionable town with glorious mansions and colonnades, today it is a charming but modest; intimate little fishing village that is characterised by quaint plazas & crumbling Spanish colonial ruins mixed with some great colonial architecture, open porches and stained glass windows dating from early 19th century; not forgetting the sweeping malecon & the beautiful postcard views overlooking the wide natural bay and the  saddle shaped Silla de Gibara; the mountain that locals claim captivated Christopher Columbus in 1492.   A little beach and promenade line the picturesque bay.


Sadly; much of Gibara is still trying to recover from the effects of the severe devastation it suffered when, in 2008, hurricane Ike practically erased this quaint little town from Cubas map.  So; your first sightings may not exactly capture your breath, but Gibara has a certain something that will capture your admiration not only for Gibara but for its friendly townsfolk too.


Gibaras main square houses a small church, Iglesia de San Fulgencio (1850),  a few museums (history and arts), cigar factory.  At the centre of the square proudly stands the Statue of Liberty which comemmorates the 2nd war of independence.  On the western side of the square is a beautiful colonial palace.

There are many restaurants, casa particulares (B&B's) and Paladares (private restaurants, some in homes) offering good food in Gibara, some are ideally located over-looking the bay. 


Gibara hosts the annual Film Festival in April. 






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