It is proudly well kept, compared to many Cuban towns, and rustically pretty, with a clutch of decorative facades, elaborate churches and romantic squares. Although it's actually the third largest city in Cuba, it feels like a village.
This is not a town that responds to tourists' desires; it's somewhere people carry on their family-focused lives with aplomb: street parties, park excursions and communal family meals in restaurants: pleasingly, community life thrives here in a way that has suffered in the larger cities such as Havana in the harsh economic climate.
Santa Lucia is the nearest coastal resort to Camaguey. While the white sand beach is predictably postcard-pretty, there are better hotels to be found in the cayos. If you do stay, take a day trip to La Boca, a one-phone village of wooden shacks where villagers pull illicit lobsters out of the sea for you and grill them up with tostones.
Snacks such as nuts, granola, or jerky go a long way, whether for the airplane journey or to share with guides or new friends.