- Historic sights in the old town of Cienfuegos
- Botanical garden - just a few km out of the city
- Punta Gorda - the district in the south of the city with wonderful villas
- Playa Rancho Luna beach - one of the most beautiful shores on the south coast of Cuba.
Cienfuegos, also known as the “Pearl of the south” is perhaps one of the most chilled out, and at the same time, alluring parts of Cuba. It’s also cleaner and more spacious than most other Cuban capitals.
The city was established in 1819 by French settlers and nowadays is home to elegant, open-plan neighborhoods, the likes of which you’d find in suburban Miami.
Today, the old city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Back in the 1800’s, it became a major trading place for sugar cane, tobacco and coffee. It first developed in an elegant neoclassical style and then later on evolved into a more assorted, yet harmonious, overall townscape. Cienfuegos remains a superb example of 19th Century Latin American urban planning that focussed primarily on modernity, hygiene and order. It’s a stark contrast to most other Cuban provincial capitals – which can be noisy, crowded and chaotic. Two or three days should do the trick! You can see pretty much everything within this short amount of time.
With amazing views out over the calm waters of the bay, year round sunshine, beautiful barrier reefs and soft soothing winds, this is one place you won’t want to leave!
Bienvenidos a Cienfuegos!
Cathedral "Catedral de la Purísima Concepción"
Head east of the park and you’ll come to Catedral de la Purísima Concepción – a stunning neoclassical church that dates back to 1870, with curious stained-glass work from France.
Waterfalls at "El Nicho"
The city center boasts a massive range of things to do and see! Don’t miss the "Parque José Martí". This broad city park is basically the historic center's hub and is surrounded by Cienfuegos' most interesting historical buildings. Close by, you’ll find the very tasteful Palacio Ferrer, which dates back to 1819. This is where to go to find out about upcoming art exhibits and concerts.
Theater "Teatro Tomás Terry"
To the north, there’s the famous Teatro Tomás Terry, which was built in 1888 to honor Venezuelan industrialist Tomás Terry. The theatre has been wonderfully maintained and is now declared a national monument. Big names like Enrico Caruso and Sarah Bernhardt have performed here.
Blue Palace "Palacio Azul"
The stunningly beautiful Palacio Azul was built back in the early 1920’s by an architect named Alfredo Fontana. This former private residence was once home to one of Cuba’s wealthiest tobacco barons.
Nowadays, it has been completely restored and functions as a charming colonial hotel, located just a short walk from the main square Parque Marti.
The views from the Palacio out over the city are amazing! If you can afford it, this one of the coolest places to stay in Cienfuegos.
Botanical garden "Jardín Botánico Soledad"
On the outskirts of town, one of the main attractions has to be the Jardín Botánico Soledad. With over 2,000 species of exotic plants on an area of around 90 hectares of land, this is largest and most impressive botanical garden in Cuba. It was built by an American businessman back in 1904. These delightful grounds make for a very pleasant stroll.
Palace "Palacio del Valle"
At the Punta Gorda end, just past the Malecón, you’ll find the old Palacio del Valle - an architectural masterpiece – that houses a huge range of styles in its compact floor plan. Check out the centrepiece - the Salón Comedor (or dining room). It dates back to 1917 and is reminiscent of Spain's magical Alhambra Palace. Other rooms contain baroque, neoclassical, and Gothic styling. It’s not just all arty stuff though. There’s also a restaurant, rooftop balcony bar, and a wine cellar with live music in the basement.
Park "Parque José Martí"
Farther away is El Nicho - a range of waterfalls (climbing up to nearly 50 feet) with a balmy natural pool and some wonderful natural scenery.
Beaches in Cienfiuegos
In Cienfuegos you find one of the finest beaches in Cuba - the "Playa Rancho Luna" beach in the South of the city.
Playa "Rancho Luna"
Rancho Luna Beach is probably the most beautiful beach in Cienfuegos Province. Located just 11 miles outside the city centre, this soft white sandy beach offers excellent hotels, top class diving, watersports and various ecotourism programs.
If you get bored with sunbathing, you can avail of the many many other activities on offer. Go for a swim! Explore the depths! Try beach volleyball; have a round of miniature golf; play tennis or hang out with some dolphins. If this sounds like way too much work, why not just check out the nightlife? Things come alive here once the sun sets!
When it comes to dining, Cienfuegos has some quality hangouts. Check out some of these below…
An excellent setting and with a lovely terrace bar for cocktails and some tasty chicken sandwiches.
Teatro Café Tomás
A cafe, souvenir shop and nightly music venue all rolled into one! Unquestionably the most atmospheric and vibrant place off "Parque Martí".
Service better than most city restaurants! This super friendly paladar is a must for any lover of grilled meats and African tribal decor.
Paladar el Criollito
A proper “Cuban”, no frills establishment. El Criollito is a local authentic family-run restaurant business that uses limited ingredients and creates some very appetizing dishes.
Cienfuegos has a lot to offer in terms of nightlife – everything from funky Cuban discos and sidewalk bars to noisy clubs and classical concerts. There’s something to suit every taste here.
At the end of a glorious sun-soaked day, what better way to experience the magic of Cuban night life and culture!
Club El BennyOne of the hottest nightspots in town has to be Club El Benny, named after the famous Cuban singer. This is where to go for those classic Cuban tunes. The venue also serves as one of the city's most lively dance clubs.
Guanaroca DiscoNext up is Guanaroca Disco at the Hotel Jagua - a popular spot with locals and tourists alike, where the partying goes on well into the early hours.
Club CienfuegosThey also play music at the open-air bar at Club Cienfuegos. This is a fantastic experience, not to be missed!
Casa de la Trova ("El Cubanismo")Other places for music well worth checking out include the Casa de la Trova (often called El Cubanísimo).
Patio TerryHere you’ll find some classic traditional Cuban music.
You can get here from Trinidad by following the coast most of the way. It takes about an hour.
There are various buses between Havana and Trinidad that stop at Cienfuegos and also between Varadero, Santa Clara, and Trinidad. Check the website for updates - http://www.viazul.com/
Trains run the length of Cuba, linking the main cities and towns. This is a fantastic way to get around especially if you want to travel with the locals, and not in a tourist bus.
Cuba has numerous international and domestic airports. The Jaime Gonzalez international airport is located about 4kms outside of Cienfuegos.
Weather and Climate in Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos has a warm subtropical climate all year round. The average temperature is a balmy 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).
The rainy season is between May and October. Expect strong winds and rain between June to November.
The best time to visit is between January and May, where you get cooler temperatures during the evenings, making it very comfortable.
- Cathedral "Catedral de la Purísima Concepción"
- Waterfalls at "El Nicho"
- Theater "Teatro Tomás Terry"
- Blue Palace "Palacio Azul"
- Botanical garden "Jardín Botánico Soledad"
- Palace "Palacio del Valle"
- Park "Parque José Martí"
- Playa "Rancho Luna"
- Airport Cienfuegos ("Jaime González" - CFG)
- Cienfuegos, a few hundred meters away from the old town
- For Cubans
- in Cienfuegos
- Cienfuegos ("Jaime González" - CFG)
- Infotur by the Plaza de Armas square in the old town
- Cadeca money exchange and the big hotels
- Plaza de Armas square
- Waterfront Malecon (near the fast food resstaurant "El Rápido")
- Club Cienfuegos
- Teatro Café Tomás
- Paladar Aché
- Paladar el Criollito
- Club El Benny
- Guanaroca Disco
- Club Cienfuegos
- Casa de la Trova ("El Cubanismo")
- Patio Terry