Discovering the exquisite architecture in Cienfuegos, Cuba

Cuba has many beautiful places and it is difficult to fit all of them into a short trip unless you go for more than two weeks. We were lucky enough that we travelled for a entire month in Cuba and even within that month we missed a few spots especially because Cuba on the map looks small but it is a large country if you would like to move from one extreme of the island to the other.

Something that I loved about Cuba is that the locals are always willing to give you travel advice, they are proud about their country and they love to tell you stories about their life in this beautiful island. Talking with my host in the casa particular in Santa Clara, she suggested adding to my “must check this place out” list the cities of Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Trinidad because it is a vibrant colourful city with a colonial heritage and Cienfuegos for its elegant and fine architecture.

Cienfuegos Palacio del Valle Cuba

The city of Cienfuegos is known as the Pearl of the South (La Perla del Sur) and we realised the reason it has this name when we arrived in the city, it is very clean city, with elegant buildings and a waterfront with turquoise waters. In comparison with the rest of the country, Cienfuegos is the only city in Cuba founded by French settlers. Although, people usually spend one day in the city on their way to another major city such as as Viñales or Trinidad, we suggest spending at least 2 days (if possible) to explore what this beautiful city has to offer.

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Parque Jose Marti

This main square is a must see, the historical centre of Cienfuegos is a UNESCO Site. The Neoclassical architecture of some its buildings combined with the French influence has an important historical and cultural value. The park is one of the places in the city where it is possible to call your family because it has a Wi-Fi spot, to use it you will need a ETECSA Wi-Fi card.

Parque Jose Marti Cienfuegos Cuba

Teatro Terry

Teatro Terry (Terry Theatre) was built in 1889; music and theatre performances are still played here. This auditorium has an Italian design with a stunning carving, painted in gold leaf on the stage’s frame.

Teatro Terry in cienfuegos Cuba

One of the main features is the large Baroque painting on the ceiling. Teatro Terry entrance fee: $2CUC including guided tour.

Teatro Terry in Cienfuegos

El Palacio de Ferrer

A Neoclassical light blue building known as Casa de La Cultura built in 1918, offers the best view of the main square. Entrance fee: $1 CUC and you will have to use the spiral staircase to go to the top of the tower.

Casa de la Cultura en Cuba - Cienfuegos city

Palacio del Valle

On the other side of the city, walking through Avenida El Prado (Prado Avenue) you can find one of the most famous buildings in Cienfuegos is the marvellous Palacio del Valle.

Palacio del Valle - Cuba

This luxury palace was built by a wealthy man, Acislo Valle Blanco in 1917. It is believed that in its constructions, people from different nationalities including French, Cubans and Arabs participated. It has Gothic, Indian and Moorish styles combined in its architecture.

Moorish palace in Cuba

On the inside the place is astonishing, carved windows, decorated walls with Moorish arches and mosaic floors. It was built as a private residence but later converted to a restaurant with a rooftop bar and now part of the Hotel Jagua. If you would not like to eat here, perhaps you would like to have a drink or a nice coffee meanwhile enjoying the ambiance.

Castillo de Jagua

The Fortaleza de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua is located at Cienfuegos Bay. To visit this fortress you have to take a ferry($1cuc) from Cienfuegos city that takes 1 hour. Entrance fee of the fortress: $5CUC.

Castillo de Jagua

Jardin Botanico de Cienfuegos

If you like plants, trees and nature, Jardin Botanico is the best place to visit. This large garden of 97 hectares is located 17 km east of Cienfuegos city, it will take 30 minutes to drive there. It exhibits several species of plants including many different types of orchids, ~230 types of palms , 65 types of ficuses and 29 types of bamboos.

Jardin Botanico Cienfuegos Cuba

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Travel Information

Getting There

By Bus: There Via Azul buses departing from Havana to Trinidad stopping at Cienfuegos.

By private taxi: from Havana to Cienfuegos can cost ~120 CUC per ride. The trip will take 3 to 4 hours.

Accomodation: Casa Particular

We stayed in this lovely casa particular that we would like to recommend: Hostal Sta. Elena. Our room was very nice, clean, with a comfortable bed and private bathroom.

Hostal Sta. Elena

  • Contact person: Maydell and Daniel
  • Address: Avenida 60, #3702 entre las calles(between the streets) 37(Prado) y calle 39 – Cienfuegos
  • Contact information: [email protected]

Have you visited Cienfuegos? How was your experiencia?

Leave us a message in the comment section below.

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About Carmen Morales

Carmen is an IT consultant that loves photography, enjoys travelling and knowing other cultures and traditions. She is a storyteller, sharing her stories through her pictures and posts during her travels. As an adventure lover and world explorer, she has travelled to over 23 countries around the globe and lived in Peru and Australia.

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