Boca Ciega, Havana . Cuba
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- Playas del Este, Havana City. Cuba
- Destination: Havana
- Open: Daily
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Boca Ciega is located in Havana
Capital of Cuba and the country's administrative, political, cultural and scientific center, it is also the capital of two provinces: City of Havana and Havana. Though only around 280 square miles (727 square kilometers) in size-0.65 percent of the archipelago's total area.
The Old Havana and system of forts led UNESCO to declare it a part of world heritage in 1982. Founded on its present site in 1519, the settlement of San Cristobal de La Habana prospered mainly due to its bay, which was a natural port of call for ships sailing to and from the New World. Starting in 1634, because of its strategic location, San Cristobal de La Habana was considered the key to the New World-as attested to by royal letters patent-and the main defense of the West Indies.
The Cuban capital consists of an immense number of buildings in a wide range of architectural styles, built in the course of nearly five centuries. These styles range from the pre-baroque to the baroque, neo-Gothic, neoclassical, eclectic, art noveau and art-deco, to the modern.
Alejo Carpentier, one of Cuba's most famous authors, called it "the city of columns" and focused attention on its streets, which he considered a perennially rich show of life, humanity and contrasts that was bound to entertain any observer.
Over 14 kilometers of excellent beaches lie to the east of the Cuban capital. To the south, a green belt contributes to a healthful atmosphere.
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Many refer to the Playas del Este as Havana's Riviera and these beaches are at their closest within the nearby resort of Bacuranao. The coastline heads further east where it encompasses Tarara, El Meganao and Santa Maria del Mar, as well as the resorts of both Boca Ciega and Guanabo. These beaches and resorts remain far less developed than those around Varadero, although the facilities are good and tourist numbers can be high during the summer holiday season. The Playas del Este stretches for some 9 km / 6 miles and offers much more than just sunshine and soft sand. Various water sports present themselves here, and day trippers from Havana often come to Tarara for its excellent scuba diving, kayaking, yachting and swimming opportunities. Santa Maria del Mar is where the highest number of resorts are based, offering a lively and enticing nightlife, while Boca Ciega is known for its burgeoning gay scene. Guanabo is a good bet for cheap accommodation, and a number of casas particulares are to be found just a stroll from the beach itself.
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