The city, 460km east of Havana and 110km west of Camagüey, has developed as something of an historical pit stop: in the 19th century, travellers used it as an overnight watering hole before continuing on to the islands of Trinidad and Hispaniola.
Interesting places to visit include Parque Martí and the Teatro Principal, a 500-seat theatre slated for further restoration, a few blocks away. The theatre was built by rich socialite Angela Hernandez Viuda de Jimenez, who struggled to create a cultural Mecca in her hometown.
For those interested in the struggle to overthrow Batista, the Museo Provincial on Calle José Antonio Echevarría, is worth a visit. Meanwhile, some may find the Centro Provincial de Arte on Calle Independencia appealing. The Casa de la Trova, Libertad No 130, can be raucous and entertaining, depending on the night.