Granma Province, in the southeast of the island, is the heartland of Cuban Independence. Since the beginning of recorded Cuban history, the region has shown strong rebel support, with opposition forces hailing from Granma.
"Hatuey", also known as the “First American Rebel”, was a local indigenous leader and one of the first to fight against Spanish conquistadors. History goes that Hatuey was murdered here by the Spanish, while defending his people’s land; he is still a national hero.
Early revolutionaries from the 19th century also fought in this province; in 1868 Carlos Manuel de Céspedes rang the Bell of Demajagua – the signal that his slaves were free. In yet another historic event, José Martí, the First War of Independence hero and the ‘apostle of Cuba’, died tragically in combat on May 19, 1895 in the town of Dos Ríos, Granma.
In 1956 Fidel Castro and other revolutionaries landed along Granma’s coastline in a small cabin cruiser coming from Mexico. It was a terrifyingly dramatic sea crossing made to launch the Cuban Revolution; the vessel was named Granma. In 1976 the province was honored with this name.
Granma’s capital is Bayamo, birthplace of the national anthem. Bayamo celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2013.
The province also has many natural attractions, including the Desembarco del Parque Nacional Granma, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area, which is situated in and around Cabo Cruz in southeast Cuba, includes spectacular terraces and impressive coastal cliffs.
Marea del Portillo Beach is a dark-sand (volcanic) beach on a gorgeous cove, with the Sierra Maestra mountains as backdrop. It is a good place for scuba diving, snorkeling and other water sports.