Santería is strong in Guanabacoa as well, a town renowned in Cuba for its connections with Afro-Cuban religions. Though the outskirts are grim and faceless, the town has an agreeable plaza and several interesting churches (in the process of restoration). The Museo Histórico de Guanabacoa (Calle Martí, 108, between Versalles and San Antonio) is best known for its exhibitions on Afro-Cuban cults.
There is also lots about local resistance to the British invasion of 1762. Less heroically, Guanabacoa was a nexus for the slave trade. Wander along Calle Amargura (Bitterness Street), where slaves were dragged en route to their executions. A festival celebrating Cuba’s African roots is held in Guanabacoa the last week of November every year.
Guanabacoa also has an interesting Jewish cemetery, started at the beginning of the 20th century. As well as graves of victims of the Machado dictatorship there is a memorial to victims of the Holocaust. Driving to Guanabacoa, you take a turning off the Central Highway, 5km (3 miles) east of Havana. Alternatively you could take bus Ruta 3 from Parque de la Fraternidad, or the ferry to Regla and then another bus from there to Guanabacoa. There are also guided excursions which include the town on a trip to nearby Cojímar.