CienfuegosCuban province of Cienfuegos. The historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5 Septiembre is the local periodical.
- From Trinidad - about an hour, just stay by the coast most of the way. Not all turns are signposted.
By busThe two daily Viazul buses between Havana and Trinidad , as does the daily bus between Varadero, Santa Clara, and Trinidad. This last bus arrives from Varadero heading for Trinidad at noon, and arrives from Trinidad heading for Varadero at 4:00pm (it is missing from the Viazul website). Travellers heading east and wishing to catch the 8:00am Viazul bus from Trinidad to Santiago de Cuba can sometimes arrange for an early morning minivan through Viazul. Ask at the bus station.
There are two trains that run from Havana: a very slow daytime train (every second day) that returns the following day, and a somewhat faster late-evening train (every second day) that operates via Matanzas and returns overnight. Trains may also leave for Santa Clara (very) early in the morning and return in the evening, and leave for Santa Clara and Sancti Spiritus in the afternoon, returning the following morning. Check that the trains are running in advance.
By planeJaime González Airport has three flights a week: leaving Miami at 8am Mondays and Fridays, returning 10:45am; and leaving Miami 5:30pm Wednesdays and returning later in the evening (8pm?). A roundtrip ticket is $509. The airline is a charter. The telephone number is (800) 493 8426, the website is http://www.destinationcuba.com/.
Both the centre and Punta Gorda are easy of walk around, but are about 3km apart. They are joined by Calle 37 (del Prado), which runs by the sea. If you don't fancy walking, the principle public transportation is coches or horse-drawn carts that seat 6 or 8 people. They go up and down Calle 37. The price is 1 CUP for Cubans or 1 CUC for tourists.
You can most likely easily arrange taxi at your place of stay, esp. if you'd like to visit one of the more remote parts (e.g. Playa Rancho Luna).
Castillo de JaguaAn 18th-century fortress built to protect Cienfuegos against (English) pirates. There's an abandoned nuclear power plant behind the castle, built by the Soviets but never finished.
DelfinarioDolphin shows, where sometime the audience participates. For example, a dance contest for kids where the winners get kisses from the dolphins. You can also swim with the dolphins for about 50 CUC. For further fee, you can get a photo taken by the employees - it's not allowed to take it yourself.
Tomas Terry Theatreaddress: Parque Jose MartíVictorian theatre, built in 1890. Lots of original features, and very pretty. Also has a nice cafe.
Museo Históricoaddress: Av 54 e/ calles 27 y 29A historical museum, with exhibits ranging from archeology of the original Indians, to the colonial eras.
Palacio de ValleSee below.
Freshwater fishingDrive to the nearby secluded mountain lakes to fish for the plentiful bass.
Harbour boat tripTake a boat trip round the harbour, stopping off at an island and chatting to the locals and enjoying a mojito.
MaleconWalk along and hang out at the malecon (sea front) in the evenings.
Laguna GuanarocaA lake full of flamingos in the southeast of Cienfuegos. The entrance fee includes a guided walk to the lake explaining the flora and fauna (1h) and as well includes a boat trip on the lake to get closer to the flamingos (1h). Lake is surrounded by mangroves and ashore hummingbirds can be spotted. Go there early as it can get very hot and you will be exposed entirely to the sun when sitting in the boat. Cubanacan sells you the ticket but you have to find your own transport. A taxi is CUC 20 both ways. Wait in the office for other tourists to share the taxi with.
Teatro Tomás TerryThe 1889 built neoclassicist theater centrally located at the José Marti square is most impressive on the inside where little has been changed since its inception
Boulevar pedestrian streetaddress: Av 54, between calles 29 and 37The street contains many shops with souvenirs, but also household and others. Outdoor music is performed here often too.
Tienda Artexaddress: Av 54, between calles 33 and 35Good shopping for gifts, such as shower curtains printed with paintings from the Museo Bellas Artes.
Club CienfuegosQuite touristy but pleasant to eat in the formal restaurant upstairs or the informal snack bar in the basement.
Palatinoaddress: Av 54 e/ calles 25 y 27Nice, quiet restaurant for lunch. The grilled tuna salad sandwiches are delicious!
Mi Ringcónaddress: Av. 37, btw. 50 and 52, #5020A small cafeteria catering for Cubans where you can have breakfast. Offers a variety of sandwiches, some juice and coffee. Try the Café Bonbón, a coffee made with condensed milk and chocolate. Pay in National Pesos.
Restauranteaddress: Calle 31, btw. 56 and 58Cuban restaurant that offers a variety of creol food as well as a vegetarian option on request. Pay in National Pesos.
Food stallsaddress: Paseo del Prado (Cl 37) btw. Av 48 and 50On the Paseo del Prado you will find a good number of Pizza stalls, icecream shops and juice vendors. All payed in National Pesos.
Te Quedara'sphone: +53 432 551105address: 3509 Boulevar (Avenue 54)Bar and restaurant a few floors up. It has a small balcony where you can sit and study the life on Boulevar. Live music in the evenings.
Benny MoreA nightclub which features Salsa Music and dancing.
Palacio de ValleAdjacent to the Hotel Jagua south of the Malecon, this is an amazing building, lavishly decorated in Moorish style. There is a fairly standard fare restaurant, but it is worth climbing to the rooftop bar for a drink sitting under an arched gazebo looking over the city and the harbor.
Piña ColadaA small open-air pub at the harbor, some snacks are sold here too.
- Hotel Faro Luna. Staying at the Faro Luna is like being at your own villa, only 25-30 rooms a beautiful pool overlooking the Caribbean and attentive staff.
- Hotel Jagua. This is a large hotel to the south of the city, around 2 km from the city centre. The building itself is a square concrete block and fairly unattractive. However, the rooms and facilities are pretty good by Cuban standards. For cheap water and drinks, visit the shop outside the hotel, opposite the entrance, rather than the hotel shop itself and pay half the price.
- Hotel Pascacaballo. This is a big, modern resort-hotel at Rancho Luna, on the coast, opposite Castillo de Jagua. Lunch was awful, unless you like jello and canned vegetables. The hotel looked like it was maybe a quarter full.
Teresita y Yhanesphone: +53 43 517646Ave 52 Nr. 4323 e/43 y 45, Very nice central place with very helpful owners. Depending on season from 15 CUC per room.
Sr. Jose Luis Alvarez Leon y Sra. Beatriz Ortega Turiñophone: +53 43 528535Ave. 60 No. 3301 e/ 33 y 35, independent apartment with kitchen and all commodies.
- Casa de Nadia Hernández Garcia. Ave 16 #4307 Altos (upstairs) e/ (between) calles 43 y 45 (streets). In Punta Gorda, big room with a refrigerator, air conditioner, and bathroom. Good food and laundry. 25 CUC, plus 4 CUC for breakfast and 10 CUC for dinner.
- Hostal Elena y Elio, Ave 62 #3107 e/ Calle 31 y 33, +53 43 593611, firstname.lastname@example.org helpful couple sometimes meet arriving buses and can arrange onward travel/tours, from CUC 20 per double room.
Casa Colonial (Milagros & Gerardo)address: Av. 52 #2524 btw. 25 and 27A friendly casa particular in a colonial house with high ceilings and just a block from the Jose Martí park.
Inés Maríaphone: +53 43 513788address: Calle 41 #5601, between 56 and 58.Two-room casa, close to both the center and the Viazul bus station. It has a terrace on the top floor from which one can see the city. Air-con and hot water.
phone: +53 58074332address: Avenida 56 No. 4924 e/ 49 y 51, CienfuegosColonial house adorned with windows and columns, in the center of the city, just opposite the bus station. Hosts are the Lopez family. Private rooms available. The house is a single level, in a central area, with two large rooms, each having two beds, fans, air conditioning, bedside lamps and a private bathroom with hot and cold water.
Hostel Casa Las Palmasaddress: 36 Avenue, number 4102B, between 41 and 43 streetsJust 200 m from the Malecon and close to the center of the city. Hostess is named Maira. Cozy rooms and some terraces with hammocks. The two bedrooms are at the second level. Air-con and hot water. Breakfast included.
Before 2003 Cienfuegos had a reputation for teenage prostitutes. Girls would skip school to go to the airport three times a week for the flights from Canada and meet Canadian men. Beginning in 2003 the police cracked down on prostitution and now Cienfuegos has a reputation for the most vigorous anti-prostitution police patrolling in Cuba (and there are no longer flights from Canada). After dark be careful at nightclubs, restaurants, or on the streets; simply asking an innocent young woman for directions could get her arrested. Don't bring a Cuban guest into your casa unless she signs the guest book; several home owners lost their homes because tourists brought "girlfriends" home for the night. If a woman is arrested twice in a year for being with a tourist she is fined. If she's arrested three times she goes to prison for four years. (Tourists are usually not arrested or punished.)