From a small elevation in the region of Buenavista, Remedios, in North-Central Cuba, you can enjoy the beautiful outlook onto one of the most special valleys of the largest island of the Antilles, boasting thousands of royal palms; by law, the national tree of Cuba.
As word has it, in the 19th century, a Cuban landowner wanted to acquire the scenic valley and offered as much money as there were royal palms. As soon as the offer became known, a parishioner took the initiative to count the number of palms of the valley.
Upon passing the elevated number of 10 thousand, however, the arrogant merchant withdrew his offer.
The royal palm (Roystonea Regia) is the queen of the Cuban countryside; noble, elegant, and unarguably majestic. It is the tree of most value to the guajiro (peasant) – from its fruit (palmiche) that feeds the pigs, to its trunk that serves as timber, to its leaves that are used for the construction of humble huts known as bohíos. It is also used for the production of rustic furniture, corrals, and water ducts.
In addition to its natural beauty, the valley is at no more than 8km from San Juan de los Remedios; known for its “Parrandas de Remedios” (traditional carnival-like street party) each Christmas eve and for being the 8th oldest Cuban colonial settlement founded by the Spanish - it will celebrate its 500th birthday next June 24.
In 1512, Diego Velázquez, his companions Pánfilo de Narváez and a priest known as el Padre de las Casas arrived in this region of unprecedented beauty.
According to some historians, the first humble houses in the present town of Remedios were built in 1515 using the rich natural resources of the valley such as precious timber and royal palms. The land also provided them with fertile land to ensure prosperous harvests and thereby the survival of the township.
The constructions belonged to the colonizer Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa, who also participated in the founding of the third and fourth colonial Cuban settlements, Trinidad and Sancti Spíritus; now World Heritage Site, andm National Monument, respectively.