When traveling to popular Cienfuegos, you might sense something is a little different than in the rest of Cuba. This small city, often called the Pearl of the South, is the only city in Cuba that was founded by the French. The UNESCO World Heritage Site may not have the long, wide beaches that other areas have but it features its own Arc de Triomphe, noticeably wider streets and unmistakable French vs. Spanish architecture.
With two flights per week from Miami, travel to this quiet corner of Cuba is steady. Great diving and active salt and fresh water fishing are add-ons to a great place to visit. For more information, contact Yordi and Dave at Info@travelguidecuba.com.
Parque Jose Marti – Squarely in the city’s center, this historic parque is charming, well-maintained and a hub of activity. There may be no better location to see and “feel” the pulse of Cienfuegos than here. Best described as a French colonial plaza, the architecture surrounding the parquet is mesmerizing. Renovated buildings and great tourist shops line the perimeter.
Teatro Terry – Locate on the north end of Parque Jose Marti is the Victorian theater built in 1890. Some of the world’s most famous entertainers performed their acts on this stage during Cuba’s heyday. A comfortable theater bar helps breathe life into this historic theater that was originally funded by a private benefactor. A great façade and three stunning murals are sure to get your attention.
Museo Historico – On the square’s south side rests the unmistakable Museo Historico that features many artifacts, including archeological exhibits about the regions original Indian tribes and through the colonial era.
Jardin Botanico Soledad de Cienfuegos – This largest botanical garden in Cuba is about 25 km south of the city off the road to Trinidad. To really enjoy the setting and remarkable horticulture, pack a lunch and make a day of it. A wide offering of plants and trees that mark this preserve that will be difficult to duplicate anywhere else on the island.Castillo de Jagua – Renovations are underway but this fortress is worthy of a visit. To get the most out of the trip, take your camera for the ferry ride across the channel and walk up the hill to the castle. Jagua Castle is not the largest in Cuba but offers insight into how the island fended off prates between 1738 and 1745. The drawbridge over the moat is still operational.
Punta Gordo – Punto Gordo is a striking peninsula that makes for a great walk and sightseeing tour. Many of the homes here are circa 1950 and the largesse of Cuba during this era is on display. Some of the homes here can be rented by tourists.
Castillo de Jagua – Renovations are underway but this fortress is worthy of a visit. To get the most out of the trip, take your camera for the ferry ride across the channel and walk up the hill to the castle. Jagua Castle is not the largest in Cuba but offers insight into how the island fended off prates between 1738 and 1745. The drawbridge over the moat is still operational.
El Nicho Waterfalls – Bring your nothing suit to this series of waterfalls and swimming holes and beautiful landscape. Another favorite picnic destination, the falls lie about 25 km south of Cienfuegos in the picturesque Escambray mountains. A dip in the fresh water is bound to feel good.
Delfinario de Cienfuegos – friendly and guest are usual welcome to join the featured attractions for a swim. Most visitors combine this trip with a stop at Guanaroca Lagoon.
Guanaroca Lagoon – This bird sanctuary is home to thousands of birds including thousands of flamingos. The most active time of the day is early in the morning when the land, sea and water are alive with birdlife. The landscape is unforgettable but be sure to bring a good supply of drinking water.
Rancho Luna Beach – This is certainly not one of Cuba’s grandest beaches but it is quiet, and just a short walk from the Rancho Luna Hotel. Popular beach bars line the water, the sand is good and the food stalls help make a day of it.
Travelguidecuba.com is not a licensed People-to-People tour provider but works closely with International Expeditions, a licensed provider. This International Expedition People-to-People tour is licensed (CT-2013-299822-1)by the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to engage, organize and conduct authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba that engages participants in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.