The colonial towns in Cuba are one of the biggest reasons why many people decided to visit the country in the first place and proof that there’s more to this Caribbean island other than old cars, cigars and inviting white-sand beaches. These colonial towns are a great motivation to get out of Havana and the resorts of Varadero.
The five must-visit colonial towns in Cuba are Camagüey, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, Sancti Spíritus, and Cienfuegos. Most of these colonial towns go back to early 16th century when the Spanish colonized the island, which means they are around 500 years old and carry a lot of history. The only exception is the slightly younger Cienfuegos, from the 19th century.
Cienfuegos is the “Pearl of the South” and the most recent of the colonial towns in Cuba on this list, and due to that also significantly different from the others, with proper urban planning where larger and well-defined streets are the norm.
The heart of Cienfuegos is at Parque Martí, a beautiful and large plaza surrounded by countless magnificent buildings such as Catedral de la Purísima Concepción, Museo Provincial or Teatro Tomás Terry. Actually, the whole city is home to beautiful architecture throughout and offers plenty of reasons to visit and wander around.
A perfect place for a stroll is Paseo del Prado, one of the longest streets in town that stretches all the way from the north of Cienfuegos to the southern tip at Punta Gorda. Don’t forget to visit the waterfront and Cienfuegos’ inviting malecón.
Explore the centre of Cienfuegos
The Cienfuegos urban historic centre is framed with bountiful amounts of gorgeous French architecture and there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else in the country. We recommend spending a chilled afternoon at least to explore this exquisite UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 2005).
Start with checking out the Cienfuegos Boulevard, the longest in Cuba and pay attention to the beautifully painted facades. Spin around in the gorgeous Jose Marti Square and inhale the gracefulness of the historically significant monuments.
Spot the one of a kind Arco de los Trabajadores (Arch of Triumph) dedicated to Cuban independence. As you stroll the sunny streets of the city, don’t (not that you will be able to) miss the striking baby blue mansion on the western part of the Parque Marti. It’s the former Palacio Ferrer, designed by the local architect Donato Pablo Carbonell and completed in 1918.
To the south of the park, discover the grandioso Palacio de Gobierno, the Government Palace, hence no admission for general public here.
Visit Teatro Tomas Terry
This charming Italian style theatre on the northern side of Parque Jose Marti is one of three vernacular theatres in Cuba. It was made a National Monument in 1978 and won an Award of Conservation in 2008. For just 2 CUC you can wander inside and investigate the grandness of this monumental building and especially the the 950-seat auditorium.
Check out the atmospheric Teatro Cafe Terry sitting between the Teatro Tomás Terry and the Colegio San Lorenzo.
Check out the magnificent Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción Cathedral
Do wander into this marvellous Cienfuegos Cathedral opposite the Martí Park. The building dates back to 1869 and its French stained-glass windows are especially stunning.
Discover Punta Gorda
You might wonder what Punta Gorda is. In a nutshell, it’s the upper-end neighbourhood of Cienfuegos. It’s around 3 km away, but easy to reach on foot by following the Malecon sea wall. If you are not up for walking, simply jump into a cab or hale the iconic Bici taxi (a bike taxi).
Situated at the edge of the Bay of Cienfuegos, Punta Gorda is truly gorgeous. The place is so peaceful and has an interesting selection or architectural pieces – like Palacio de Valle – as well as beautiful marina.
If you have time visit the ancient Reyna Cemetery, opposite of Punta Gorda, with monumental tumbs, like the Sleeping Beauty one….
Don’t miss the amazing sunset over Cienfuegos’ Bay
From the Malecon or – better – from the rooftop of Relais Italia in Avenida 36 !
How to move in Cienfuegos
By walk or if you prefer with our Oldtime Chevrolet Bel Air 1956 !
Tel. +53 55186866 – mail: firstname.lastname@example.org