Matanzas, Cuba

Let Matanzas transform your way of living by visiting each and every point of this magical area of Cuba

Matanzas
Matanzas
© Igor Klyuev

Matanzas is the second largest province in Cuba after that of Havana and one of the most important due to it contribution towards the economic development of the island. It is located in western Cuba, and apart from the highlands in the northwest and center of the province, the entire surface of Matanzas is flat. Due to its tropical weather throughout most of the year, it attracts lots of tourists looking for some sun and the beach, so it’s a good thing Matanzas boasts one of the most precious jewels of Cuba, the beach town Varadero.

 

Matanzas street
Matanzas street
© seonsalaisuus

Nevertheless, Matanzas is full of hidden treasures, so it’s not only the beach that are worth finding. It is an area of great contrast, so experienced travellers will love its beauty and diversity. Under the wonderful light of the Caribbean sun you can contemplate its variety of greens, the range of colors of its more than 920 types of flowers and the many fish in its hot waters. If spring existed in the Tropic, this would be the perfect example.

Matanzas
Matanzas, Cuba
© Marc Ross

For some time, Matanzas stood out in most sectors, benefitting Cuba by developing in developing in many areas: energy, industry, livestock, farming, etc. Matanzas was especially important in the port sector and sugarcane cultivation. When the establishment of the latter began, they brought the largest amount of slaves ever recorded to the area.

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

This mix of black and white people produced as a result the current heritage of Matanzas; not only physically, but also the heat of Africa. Thus, from the sound of drums, the rumba was born in Matanzas, the first national dance of Cuba. Nowadays it is still a very popular dance there. The Rumbero Festival takes place annually 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, grandiose resorts and luxurious lifestyle. Apart from these, Matanzas also has a lot of other nice places worth visiting.

If you prefer something more authentic, that better reflects the society, and experience something with more of an original Cuban flavour, Matanzas is a great choice. It has decadent but charming Neoclassical-style Colonial buildings. Catholic churches, a theater and several museums are some examples of these types of constructions. 

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

From a cultural point of view, Matanzas is one of the richest areas of Cuba. It houses many museums that will teach you all about various topics, so you shouldn’t miss out on your chance to visit them. An example of this is the Pharmaceutical Museum 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 of many defeats suffered by North American army at the hands of the Cuban people. The region had been attacked several times before, so it was well equipped to face what was coming, and very quickly organized its counter-attack. If you visit the province of Matanzas, take advantage of your chance to visit one of the museums related to war and the Revolution.

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