Cienfuegos, Cuba

Journey to the enigmatic and captivating Province of Cienfuegos, Cuba on your very own vacation of discovery

Cienfuegos, Cuba
Cienfuegos
© Eric

Cienfuegos was founded in Cuba in 1819 by French immigrant, Don Luis De Clouet. The city maintains a fairly homogeneous urban center full of classical facades and slender columns, which provides an atmosphere reminiscent of 19th century France.

 

Malecon, Cienfuegos
Malecon
© Guillaume Baviere

Cienfuegos is known as the “Pearl of the South of Cuba”. No wonder, having seduced travellers from all over the world thanks to its elegant blend of cultivated French spirit and gentle Caribbean style. In the bay itself you can find a sign quoting famous singer Benny Moré, saying “The city I like the most”. 

Jagua Castle, Cienfuegos
Jagua Castle
© Tai Pan of HK

This port town is situated by Cuba’s greatest bay. The entire town enjoys a jealousy-provoking maritime atmosphere and a sense of tranquility that breaths new life into renovated streets free of “jineteros”, these being key to its declaration as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005. 

Valle Palace, Cienfuegos
Valle Palace
© Wilder Mendez

It is a colorful city characterized by its emerald green, lush landscapes and turquoise blue waters. The province is full of small coves, caves and coral reefs, but the main attraction stands inland in El Nicho, an exuberant natural enclave located within Topes de Collantes Natural Park.

We can  split the province into two distinct areas: the central zone, where El Prado and Parque José Martí Park; and Punta Gorda, a small territory which cuts across the bay and which houses an eclectic range of palaces dating from the early 20th century.

The most interesting places the central area has to offer are: José Martí Park, Paseo del Prado Street, Arc de Triomphe, Catedral de la Purísima Concepción (Cienfuegos Cathedral), Tomas Terry Theater, Colegio San Lorenzo School, Benjamin Duarte Casa de la Culture, Provincial Historical Museum, Cienfuegos Government Palace, Casa del Fundador, Naval History National Museum, Cementerio de la Reina Cemetery, Museo de Locomotivas (Locomotive Museum), Malecón de Cienfuegos, Benny Moré Statue, Sports Museum.

While in Punta Gorda it is worth to highlight: The Palacio Azul (The Blue Palace), Club Cienfuegos, Park of Sculpture, Palacio de Valle (Valle Palace), La Punta Recreation Centre.

A little further away, you can find the monumental Necropolis of Tomas Acea.

In the outskirts of town you can find the picturesque Playa Rancho Luna Beach and its hotels; the enclave of Santa Isabel de Lajas; Jagua Castle; Guanaroca Lagoon; Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens; El Nicho natural enclave; Ciego Montero spa; Loco Cay; Yamaraguas; and the Caribbean Coast.

When to visit this area?

It all depends on what you hope to discover. If you enjoy days at the beach and diving, the best time for you is from January to April. If you prefer fiestas, then between August and September is the time for you especially as this is when the Benny Moré Festival and the Cienfuegos Carnival take place.

What to do in Cienfuegos:

1. Go for a stroll and take in the eclectic 19th century architecture of José Martí Park.
2. Enjoy Playa Rancho Luna beach, be it by sunbathing or diving in the enigmatic Guajimico.
3. Follow in the footsteps of Benny Moré in Santa Isabel de Las Lajas.
4. Gaze at pink flamingos and pelicans in Guanaroca Lagoon.
5. Take a trip to El Nicho and cool off in its refreshing waterfalls!

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