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What to do in Cienfuegos, Cuba

A Neoclassical City

On a bay overlooking the sea, the “pearl of the south” is one of the Caribbean’s few neoclassical cities. Founded in 1819, the colonial town of Cienfuegos was originally settled by French immigrants from Bordeaux and French colonies such as Louisiana. Its position made it the heart of Cuba’s sugar cane, tobacco and coffee industries and during the agricultural boom of the 19th century the city amassed much wealth. Today, this Cuban city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated for its history and architecture, a favorite of luxury group tours and one of the world’s most unique travel destinations. Here’s a list of the top things to do in Cienfuegos:


Image: A classic car in Cienfuegos, Cuba; by Joe Ross, Flickr

Malecón -- This seaside road hugs the coastline and offers panoramic views of the Caribbean waters and the vibrant city.

Castillo de Jagua -- A short ferry ride away, this fortress is regarded as one of Cuba’s most important military installations. It features a working drawbridge, a small museum and a colorful legend about the infamous “Lady in Blue,” the fort’s resident ghost.

Teatro Tomas Terry -- A beautiful example of Creole architecture, this theatre is the legacy of a Venezuelan industrialist.

Arco de Triunfo -- As the “Paris of Cuba,” Cienfuegos has its own Arc de Triomphe. Located in the Parque Jose Marti, the arch is a dedication to Cuba’s independence.

Palacio de Valle -- One part whimsy, one part kitsch, this palace was built in 1917 by a Spaniard wanting to recreate an ornate Moroccan casbah. The palace, which is now an upscale restaurant, features colorful tiles, turrets and elaborate stucco work.

Cementerio la Reina -- The city’s oldest cemetery was founded in 1837 to house the remains of Spanish soldiers who died in the Wars of Independence. It is the only cemetery in Cuba where bodies were interred above ground due to the high groundwater.

Santa Iglesia Catedral de la Purisima Concepción -- The Holy Church of Pure Conception is one of the city’s most notable 19th century neoclassical buildings.

Cienfuegos is just one of the unique travel destinations offered by Travcoa. The luxury travel company offers escorted group tours of Cuba and other exciting locations.

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Topics: Cuba