According to history, the colony of La Fernandina de Jagua owes
its birth, on April 22 of 1819, to Don Louis D'Clouet; it became
a Villa in 1829 and a City in 1880.Cienfuegos is widely known
as the Pearl of the South or the beautiful city of the sea; and
even one its most illustrious children, the greatest sonero Benny
Moré, used to proudly call it "the city that I like
In all cases, the nicknames are very loyal to the beauty
of a city that was finally settled on the shores of the peaceful Bay of
Jagua and which is very appealing to the visitors because of the perfect
straightness of the streets and also for the impressive accumulation of
historic cultural and architectural values that can be seen in its historic
center, recently declared National Heritage.
Originally, the urban center continued its development
according with the colonial construction style, which used to ramify from
the Plaza de Armas (Parade Square), currently known as José Martí
square, around which the first 25 blocks were built, as well as the most
important government, religious and domestic buildings.
Since 1902, the only Triumphal Arch existing in Cuba
and the surrounding countries can be seen, among other structures of high
value, at the Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de la Purísima
Concepción (1819); as well as the Tomás Terry Theater, one
of the three most important ones in the island during the XIX century,
and Palatino, which is believed to be the oldest building in the square.
Furthermore, the inhabitants of Cienfuegos are proud
to have the longest Paseo del Prado (Prado Promenade) of the country,
which goes from the entrance of the city to the Malecón (Waterfront),
allowing a quick and easy access to Punta Gorda and La Punta.
Lively residential area of the south side where you will also be able
to see the flagship building of Cienfuegos: Palacio del Valle, a luxurious
mansion that constitutes the most eloquent expression of Cienfuegos' eclecticism,
where the prevailing construction tendencies are Mudejar and Gothic in
harmony with Byzantine, Venetian and Baroque.
Even before D'Clouet founded San Fernandina de Jagua,
the fortress of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua (1743
- 1745) had been built. It is a unique construction of its kind in the
central region, built to keep intruders away from a great pocket bay (88
km2 of surface) with deep draft and quiet waters, which has become and
excellent venue for the practice of nautical sports -including speed boat
racing- and one of the greatest natural habitats for shads, which is a
very coveted specie for fishing fans and professionals.
The colorful fishing town of El Perche emerged and developed
right by the foundations of a construction everyone knows by the name
of Castillo de Jagua.
This town is undoubtedly of French origin and has become
as appealing for tourists as the close Cayo Carenas (located at the south
center of the bay), an isle that used to be the summer place of wealthy
families of this prosperous sea locality.
The South Naval District, located at Cayo Loco and transformed
into a Naval History Museum; the Provincial Museum of Cienfuegos, the
former City Hall and the Benny Moré Club are also places of interest
for those visiting Cienfuegos, a city whose attractions go far beyond
the limits of its traditional center.
Small beaches washed by the Caribbean Sea, like Rancho
Luna and El Inglés are located on the shores of the urban area,
and constitute ideal places for the practice of Scuba Diving; especially
in the stretch between the canal of the entrance to the Bay of Jagua and
Boca Ambuila, where, besides the Notre Dame Column Coral (6 meters high
and named so because of its extraordinary structural similarity to the
famous Cathedral of Paris), there are more than 50 diving sites for snorkeling
even around sunken ships.
To the east, the one hundred years old Botanical Garden (National
Monument) offers to visitors an enormous collection of plants
of nearly 1 450 species, out of which 80% are exotic, and bears
a collection of palm trees that is considered among the 10 most
important ones in the world.
Two Cemeteries: Reina and Tomás Acea are also
part of the places of interest in Cienfuegos. The first one is located
in the region of Punta Majagua -place where the Villa was founded- it
preserves vertical niches and burial sites with characteristics of the
The Tomás Acea cemetery, was built in the 1920's
with a deep American influence, has an outstanding facade, very similar
to that of the Parthenon of Athens, and was designed as a garden, allowing
a harmonic integration between the funeral area and its surroundings.
The lagoon of Guanaroca, located to the southeast of
the bay, is a privileged place for the observation of several species
of the local fauna. A complex made by The Cueva (cave) de Martín
Infierno -where there is a 67 meters high stalagmite, considered one of
the highest in the planet- and the Valle (valley) de Yaguanabo are also
part of the group of tourism attractions of the Province of Cienfuegos.
The Mal Tiempo National Park, in the town of Cruces,
which reminds us of one of the most important battles of the Independence
War fought against the Spanish Crown (December 15, 1895) and the monument
to the Cuban Brigadier of the Liberator Army Henry Reeve, El Inglesito
(the English boy), located close to the area of Horquitas, are two other
places of great interest in Cienfuegos.
The waterfall of El Nicho, in the mountanous region
of Sierra de Trinidad, is by itself an ideal place for lovers of Nature
and Adventure Tourism, as well as the area of Guajimico, which is also
appropriate for Scuba Diving. While, only 23 kilometers away from the
city, the micro-medicinal waters of Ciego Montero, with more than a century
of successful use and proven, effectiveness are very suitable for bath
treatments and therapeutic purposes in an environment of tranquility and