Matanzas, Cuba

Let Matanzas transform you while you visit every single part of this magic area of Cuba.

© Igor Klyuev

Matanzas is the second largest province in Cuba after Havana and one of the ones more has contributed to the economic development of the island. It is located in the occidental part of Cuba and, except the highlands in the northwest and center of the province, all the surface of Matanzas is flat. With a Tropical weather during most of the year, it attracts lots of tourists looking for sun and beach, as Matanzas has one of the most valued jewels of Cuba, Varadero.


Matanzas street
Matanzas street
© seonsalaisuus

Nevertheless, Matanzas hides treasures everywhere, so not only its beaches are worth to be visited. It is an area of contrasts, so experienced travellers will love the beauty of the place. Under the wonderful light of the Caribbean sun the variety of greens, the differences of colors of its more than 920 flowers and the several fishes on its hot waters are better noticed. If spring existed in the Tropic, this would be the perfect example of it.

Matanzas, Cuba
© Marc Ross

For some time, Matanzas stood out in most of the sectors, providing benefits to Cuba by developing any sorts of activities: energetic, industrial, livestock, farming, etc. Matanzas was specially important in the port sector and sugarcane cultivation. When the last one was starting to be established they brought the largest amount ever of slaves.

Enrique Estrada Fire Station, Matanzas
Enrique Estrada Fire Station
© Eric Alarie

The mix of black and whites gave as a result the current heritage of Matanzas; not only physically, but also the heat of Africa. Thus, from the sound of drums was born in Matanzas the rumba, the first national dance of Cuba. Nowadays it is still a very popular dance in Cuba. The Rumbero Festival takes place yearly in the Sauto Theater, in the capital city of the province, and is one of the most important shows in Matanzas.

Casino Español, Matanzas
Casino Español
© Markus Paco

The jewel of Matanzas is the sparkling city of Varadero, with its endless beaches and crushing resorts and luxurious lifestyle. Despite this, Matanzas has also lots of nice places that are worth to be visited.

If you prefer something more genuine, showing the society how it really is and feeling the original Cuban taste, Matanzas is a good option. It has decadent but charming Colonial buildings Neoclassical in style. Catholic churches, a theater and several museums are some examples of these constructions.

The Ciénaga de Zapata Swamp is the perfect place for adventurers, as it is an almost unexplored wetland covered by a lush vegetation and with lots of birds and other interesting animals.

From a cultural point of view, Matanzas is one of the richest areas of  Cuba. It houses a lot of museums that will teach you about several topics, so you shouldn’t miss the chance to visit them. An example of this is the Pharmaceutical Museum, unique on its type in all America, the Provincial Historic Museum, and the heart-rending Slave Route Museum.

Historically, Matanzas was a main point in the defense of the island during the Cuban Revolution, as in Playa Girón Beach, in the south coast of the province took place the first one of many defeats the North American army suffered by the Cubans. The region had been attacked several times before, so it was well equipped to face what was coming, and it was so quickly organized to counter-attack. If you visit the province of Matanzas, take advantage to visit one of the museums related to war and the revolution.

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