Oriente (East), as Cuba’s furthest eastern region is commonly referred to, is so steeped in culture and rich in history that it often called the “cradle” of Cuban history. Suffice to say that both Fidel and Raul Castro were born here; Jose Marti died here; Christopher Columbus landed here; it holds the shrine to Cuba’s patron saint and features the oldest Spanish colonial cities on the island. A land of discovery, uprising and conflict, many battles have been fought in Oriente through the centuries, from the first guerrilla-style war in 1523 to the birth of the Revolution of 1959. Eastern Cuba’s diversity of ecosystems range from desert to rainforest, with white powder beaches, pristine coral reefs, waterfalls, lakes and rivers. The sugar and tobacco industries that generated the great wealth of Cuba in the 18th and 19th centuries were born here and the coastal towns still feel like a pirate ship can pull into the harbor at any moment. Cuba’s Eastern Region consists of lush, tropical mountain ranges, teeming with life and a plethora of fauna and flora. The Sierra Maestra is the most impressive of these with Cuba’s highest peak, the Pico Turquino. There is a deep and powerful sense of history in Cuba’s Eastern Region, palpable throughout the many colonial towns and magnificent natural landscape.