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Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba, capital of the province of Cienfuegos.It is located about 250 km (155 miles) from Havana, and has a population of 150,000. The city is dubbed (Pearl of the South).Cienfuegos literally translates to "Hundred fires".Near the entrance to Bahia de Cienfuegos (bahia meaning "bay") is Castillo de Jagua a fortress erected in 1745 for protection against Caribbean pirates.Cienfuegos, one of the chief seaports of Cuba, is a center of the sugar trade, as well as coffee and tobacco.While sugarcane is the chief crop, local farmers grow coffee.The downtown contains 6 buildings from 1819–50, 327 buildings from 1851–1900, and 1188 buildings from the 20th century. There is no other place in the Caribbean which contains such a remarkable cluster of Neoclassical structures.

The area was called the Cacicazgo de Jagua by the early Spaniards, and was settled by indigenous people.The city was settled by French immigrants from Bordeaux and Louisiana, led by Don Louis D'Clouet, on April 22, 1819.Its original name was Fernardina de Jagua, in honor of Ferdinand VII of Spain.The settlement became a town (Spanish: Villa) in 1829, and a city in 1880.The city was subsequently named Cienfuegos, sharing the name with Cienfuegos, a Captain General in this time, in the island.

Near Cienfuegos was the scene of a battle on May 11, 1898, between American marines who attempted to sever underwater Spanish communication lines and the Spanish defenders.During the Cuban Revolution the city saw an uprising against Fulgencio Batista and was bombed, on September 5, 1957.In 2005, UNESCO inscribed the Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos on the World Heritage List, citing Cienfuegos as the best extant example of the 19th-century early Spanish Enlightenment implementation in urban planning.

How to Reach

By Air

Jaime Gonzalez 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.

By Train

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 Bus

The two daily Viazul buses between Havana and Trinidad stop at Cienfuegos 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.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.

By Car

From Trinidad about an hour, just stay by the coast most of the way. Not all turns are signposted.

Key places to visit
Jagua Fortress, Cienfuegos Province Botanical Garden, Tomas Terry Theatre, Museo Histrorico, Parque Jose Marti, Palacio de Valle, Palmira Yoruba Pantheon, Arco de Triunfo


Places to Visit

Jagua Fortress

Is a fortress south of Cienfuegos in Cuba. It is located near the entrance to the Bay of Cienfuegos in the port of Jagua.The fortress was erected by Spanish king Philip V. in the 1740s to protect the bay from Caribbean pirates that used to land there before the town of Cienfuegos was settled in 1819.

Cienfuegos Province Botanical Garden

Also known as Jardín Botanico Soledad is located 14 kilometers from the city centre.With 97 hectares it’s the oldest institution of its kind on the island, founded in 1901 by Edwin F. Atkins and his wife.They arrived in Cuba in search of the island's most precious commodity; sugarcane.Atkins built “Soledad” sugar mill and soon after a research center dedicated to investigation and enhancement of sugar cane under the name: "Harvard Botanical Station for Tropical Research and Sugar Cane Investigation".Mr. and Mrs. Atkins were also fond of plant collecting and soon afterwards started a tropical and rare species garden by the backyard of their estate where plants from as far as India and China were grown in Tropical Cuba.Today the garden has a large collection of Tropical exotic plants (2000+ species) clustered in 670 genera and 125 botanical families. Among the most complete collections are orchids (400+), palms (230+), ficuses (65+) and bamboos (29).

Tomas Terry Theatre

Pargue Jose Marti (North of Pargue Jose Marti).Victorian theatre, built in 189.Lots of original features, and very pretty.Also has a nice cafe.

Museo Histrorico

A historical museum,with exhibits ranging from archeology of the original Indians,to the colonial eras.

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