Cienfuegos, on the south coast, is an attractive, breezy seaport, sometimes described as the pearl of the south, with a Caribbean feel to the place. Once known as Fernandina de Jagua, it has its fair share of legends about pirates and corsairs. A couple of dive lodges to the south, a marina and a naval museum add to its nautical emphasis, although the beaches in this area are pleasant but not worth going out of your way for. Most of the city's festivals are based on seafaring activities and there are many regattas and races for yachts, power boats, kayaks and rowing boats. French immigrants at the beginning of the 19th century influenced the development and architecture of the city, which is a fascinating blend of styles including a heavy presence of art deco buildings in its residential streets. Highlights are the Tomás Terry theatre and the Ferrer palace both remarkable buildings from the 1890s, the heyday of Cienfuegos' prosperity. The city was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2005.

Ins and outs

Getting there

run to and from Santa Clara, where you connect with trains to Havana or to the east. The railway station is on Calle 49 esquina Avenida 58, not far from the old centre. Cienfuegos is 80 km from Trinidad and 70 km from Santa Clara. There are regular
from both these cities as well as from Havana, Varadero, Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The bus station is on Calle 49, esquina Avenida 56, close to the railway station.

Getting around

Much of the city can be seen
on foot
, or you can use a horse-drawn
for longer distances. For excursions out of the city,
car hire
is the most convenient, or hire a
to take you around, or take a

Tourist information

has an information desk on the Parque Martí outside
Bar El Palatino
with a few leaflets.
Ministerio de Turismo
in Cienfuegos, However, if you are staying in a
casa particular
, you will find your hosts very knowledgeable about what is going on in the area.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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