The 19th century, with its illustrated airs of modernity and classicism, was born the colony “Fernandina de Jagua”, on April 22, 1819. This town is characterized by being the only one in Cuba that, under the Spanish crown, came into the world with parents coming from other countries, mostly French. Fernandina de Jagua Colony, with an initial population of 46, grew up in the same year of its founding with the arrival of men and women from North America. Spaniards and Cubans also joined the economic and social life of the colony, which, by its prosperity, reached in 1829 the title of Villa de Cienfuegos, in honor of Jose Cienfuegos, General Captain of the Island at the time of its foundation. It acquired the title of city in 1880, due to the accelerated economic development reached in that stage.
This city has significant architectural values, urban and environmental, in eternal dialogue with the sea. Special mention should be made of its Jagua Bay, an ideal place for practicing nautical sports, which makes it exceptional in the field of Cuban and Ibero-American urbanism of the 19th century. Therefore, its national and international recognition as “La Perla del Sur” and “La Linda Ciudad del Mar”, it is based on its incomparable hospitality and the friendly treatment of its people, which makes your staying in this region a unique and unrepeatable experience of life.
Historic Center of Cienfuegos
The colonial town of Cienfuegos —a part of World Heritage of Unesco— was founded in 1819 in the Spanish territory but was initially settled by immigrants of French origin. Cienfuegos is the first, and an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble representing the new ideas of modernity, hygiene and order in urban planning as developed in Latin America from the 19th century.
Punta in Punta Gorda, was proclaimed a National Monument. It is located at the south end of the city and the indians called it: Tureira, for them “bright, shining or beautiful thing” to that piece of land that since the second half of the 19th century becomes a summer resort, prestigious families of the time also resided there. With a unique road access, by the physical form of the territory, it is characterized and emphasizes by the formal typology of the buildings, of wide American, Caribbean influence and by the Cuban vernacular seal of its constructions, of one and two levels, in wood.
Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua Fortress
This military stronghold is one of the distinguished in Cienfuegos, and at the same time, its oldest construction. It was finished in 1745 by the military engineer Jose Tantete, who erected it in solid stone, of cubic structure, with two levels, a drawbridge and a vaulted gate.
If during the eighteenth century it contained the filibusters Francis Drake, Jacques de Sores, and other fearsome “sea wolves”; who intended to benefit their crowns with overseas riches; in 1762 it occupied a relevant place in the history of Cuba, when it served as headquarters to the Spanish military command against the brief English occupation of the country. Today the fortress is a museum and host a Local Development Project of sustainable tourism.
Cienfuegos Botanical Garden
It is located about 15 km from the city, on the road to Trinidad. The foundation of the Botanical Garden of Cienfuegos goes back to the end of the 19th century. When the North American investor Edwin F. Atkins, settled in Cuba, acquires the old sugar mill Soledad del Muerto, with the purpose of fomenting a botanical research center for the improvement of sugarcane varieties. In 1901 began the official works of the garden, with the name of Harvard Botanical Station for Tropical Research and Sugar Cane Investigation. Today, more than 2000 plant species representing 670 genders and 125 families, mostly arboreal, grow in this reserve. Seventy percent of the specimens are exotic.
Rancho Luna Beach
It is located 20 minutes from the city, in the Caribbean Sea. It is an ideal place for snorkeling and diving.
El Nicho Waterfalls
It is a wonder of nature, dozens of waterfalls and natural ponds hide among the mountains. It is one of the most beautiful places in Cuba. It is a paradisiacal place where vegetation, rivers, waterfalls and picturesque peasant villages are combined.
It is an area between mountains, at the south of the Guamuhaya massif. It is one of the richest in the region. The river that gives name to the valley and crosses it offers a landscape of exceptional contrasts, flanked by intense greens. Its location between the massif and the coast propitiates beautiful images of the Caribbean Sea.
The city is characterized by the classicism of its architecture, either in its neoclassical phase of the second half of the nineteenth century, or eclectic, until the first half of the tenth century. It has valuable buildings, and the most important is its good state of conservation of the urban complex, in which symmetry, proportionality and the use of decorative elements of the classic formal code are appreciated. Domes, pediments, watchtowers and adornments like the pairs of lions at the José Martí square, complement an architectural work distinguished by its sobriety, elegance and constructive good taste.
San Fernando Boulevard
This is the ideal way to get in touch with Cienfuegos’ original culture and architecture.
Palacio de Valle
The building is an emblematic site in Cienfuegos. In 1917 the house was transformed in what today is the representation of eclecticism in the city. The building has three levels ending in three towers with Roman Gothic Style, a second Indian Style and a third one with Minaret Arabic Style. They are interpreted as: love, religion and power symbols. The building is interrelated to the bay and nowadays it has the most famous restaurant in the city.
It is a busy site, so amazing for their show with dolphins. With them you can share their living space.
Enjoy a walk or paddle along the west side of the bay, to discover an extraordinary place. It occupies an area of 2.2 km² and its channel communicates with the bay. It is a protected area where important species of flora and fauna coexist, among which the pink flamingo stands out.
Paddle begins in the saline lagoon, an extremely attractive environment due to the large populations of mangroves and wildlife refuges of indigenous avifauna. Look out for tropical fish, birds, and remnants of an old submarine lying submerged beneath the bay’s calm waters and disembark in a community with a strong maritime tradition.
Guajimico Diving Center
And faunistic diversity, exceptional place for diving, for the beautiful of its marine landscapes.
Enjoy a true mountain adventure with authentic camouflage trucks to El Nicho Park, where you walk along trails to its waterfall and natural pool.