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5 Awesome Things to Do in Cienfuegos, Cuba

5 Awesome Things to Do in Cienfuegos, Cuba | CosmosMariners.com

Right now, Cuba is the place to go among travel bloggers. I cannot tell you how many people were posting about their plans to head to the Caribbean as soon as the travel restrictions from the U.S. were lightened. After seeing all of the photos of colorful streets and historic buildings, it was easy to see what about Cuba had captured the imagination of so many of my fellow travel lovers.

If you're planning your own trip to Cuba, head outside of the cities on most itineraries. Located between Havana and Trinidad, Cienfuegos is the perfect stopover during your visit to Cuba. This little coastal town might look small, but it's in fact the perfect size for some Cuban culture and adventure.

As soon as you get out of the famous town center of Cienfuegos, you'll find yourself in a close, welcoming, village atmosphere. Push even further out of town, and there are beautiful lagoons and lush wilderness a-plenty. Don't miss out on these 5 awesome things to do in Cienfuegos!


5 Awesome Things to Do in Cienfuegos, Cuba | CosmosMariners.com

1. Wander around the Botanical Gardens

Cienfuegos' botanical gardens are world famous. They were founded by Edwin Atkins in 1901 with a financial support from Harvard. It's a huge area full of tropical plants, flowers and trees. The entry alley with its double row of royal palm trees is an especially renowned sight, so bring your camera and be prepared to take lots of pictures.

The Botanical Gardens are situated about forty-five minutes out of Cienfuegos. This is definitely one of those outings where going with a tour can be beneficial, as you'll get to learn more about the plants and the fascinating history of the gardens.


2. Walk around town

The old colonial town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it's clearly not just a place to walk through on your way to somewhere else. Take in the colorful houses, the marina, the old theater (Teatro Tomás Terry), two incredible cemeteries listed as national monuments, and the Palacio Ferrer.

During the week, you can even climb up the cupola in Palacio Ferrer. Not only will you get a great view on the town, you'll also get to explore this crumbling palace. Poking around ruins is always cool!


5 Awesome Things to Do in Cienfuegos, Cuba | CosmosMariners.com


Outside of the old town, the whole of Cienfuegos is very walkable. If you're down for a longer stroll, go all the way to the south edge of town to explore the Laguna de la Cura, a small but beautiful lagoon. At sunset, this is a particularly photogenic spot as the sun reflects on the water and the old ships standing there throw grand shadows on the harbor.


5 Awesome Things to Do in Cienfuegos, Cuba | CosmosMariners.com


If you're looking for another beautiful place to check out the water, head over to the detailed marina and walk down the pier for some great photos of Cienfuegos.


3. Explore El Nicho Waterfall

El Nicho Waterfall is still a hidden gem, most people coming to Cuba don't know about this wondrous place. If you arrive at the waterfall early enough, you'll be able to enjoy an almost empty park that pretty much looks like paradise!


5 Awesome Things to Do in Cienfuegos, Cuba | CosmosMariners.com
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Imagine a huge network of blue pools and waterfalls, all surrounded by lush green vegetation: that's El Nicho Waterfall. The best part is that you can bathe in the big natural pool, no alligator in this part of Cuba, promise! You can also follow the short trail starting at the waterfall to reach a mirador with a great view on the valley.

To get to El Nicho Waterfall, you can join a tour from Cienfuegos and let them take care of transportation and food. If you choose to take a taxi, there's also a restaurant nearby that often plays music during lunch. All in all, a perfect day adventure!


4. Go to the Cabaret

If there's one thing that you have to do in Cuba, it's going to the Cabaret. Nowhere else will you feel that authentic blend of Cuban culture and modernity. The women are wearing colorful dresses from the eighties, everyone is drinking rum, but you might still hear some of the latest pop hits!

In Havana, cabaret nights are more expensive and you run the chance to end up in a place filled with more tourists than locals. In Cienfuegos, there's several great cabarets playing music every night for a small price. You can dance, taste local drinks or just listen and enjoy the music. Some of the best venues are Tropisur, Cubanissimo and the local favorite Costasur!


5. Explore Laguna Guanaroca

For nature and animal lovers, the Laguna Guanaroca might be your best memory from Cienfuegos! This protected space is a huge mangrove full of colorful species of birds and crabs. The most unique one is the Tocororo, the national bird wearing the Cuban flag's colors. 

A one of a kind experience to have in Laguna Guanaroca is to explore the lagoon on a bark. This part of the lagoon is full of flamingoes, so you can just weave amongst those pink birds to your heart's content! Some waves still reach the lagoon but they're always small, so it's a simple peaceful experience (and rather romantic too)!


5 Awesome Things to Do in Cienfuegos, Cuba | CosmosMariners.com
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The Laguna Guanaroca is just a few minutes out of Cienfuegos by car. You can get there yourself or with a taxi and find a guide on site to show you the animals. Another solution is to join a tour from Cienfuegos. If you like hiking or bird watching, you can return several times to Laguna Guanaroca with a private guide that will help you explore the whole area piece by piece!

Cienfuegos is not as famous as Trinidad or Havana, yet, and that's what makes it such a perfect place to be! Fewer tourists, an authentic cultural atmosphere, the wilderness around still raw and full of wildlife: it's everything you want out of your visit to Cuba. Don't miss out on Cienfuegos when you tour Cuba!


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