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Cuba

Cienfuegos 1/ 2/ 3/

Ciego Fuego - Aerial ViewThe administrative capitol of the province of the same name, Cienfuegos is located on the shores of Jagua Bay.

The bay so large, they say, that it served as a harbor for all the ships in the 19th century.

Located in the industrial region of the country (sugar, oil, ship building...) founded in 1819 by the Frenchman Louis de Clouet and fifty other immigrant colonists from Bordeaux and Louisiana,

the town has been called Cienfuegos since 1829, an homage to José Cienfuegos, the governor of Cuba who gave this land to exiles.

Palacio Ferrer

In the center of town you will find José Marti park, dedicated to this hero of Cuban independence.

The square, surrounded by buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries , is a pleasant place to sit down and take a rest.

Its many palm trees provide much appreciated from the often oppressive heat and there is also a nice band stand from which the locals watch the tourists as they walk by.

Palacio Ferrer Street

East of the place, there stands a building painted in different shades of blue. It's the Palacio Ferrer, topped with its belvedere and built in the early part of the 20th century.

It is home to the Casa de Cultura Benjamin Duarte. If you'd like to take its spiral staircase to the top of the belvedere, it will cost you a dollar per person, but the view from the top is well worth the climb up and the money spent.

When you come back down, you can make a stop on the terrace of the El Palatino café and cool down underneath the shade of its arcades.

Getting to Cienfuegos

To get to Cienfuegos, you need to take the tunnel that leaves Havana. Then take the Ocho Vias, Motorway N° 8 (the only one in the country) going toward Santa Clara. The motorway is a favorite spot for hundreds of Botellos, hitchhikers who will even pay for a ride in a country with a decided lack of public transportation.

As you get deeper into the countryside, you come across a great number of fruit stands on the side of the road (mangos, garlic, onions, etc.), you'll even find cheese and cigar vendors, while the vultures glide through the sky looking for roadkill laying on the asphalt of the motorway.

Because of all the bumps in the road, the average speed is about 60 miles an hour. When you have driven about 60 miles, you will turn right on to the road to Aguanda de Pasajeros and Cienfuegos.

The next 40 miles or so will provide views of houses with palm tree roofs. As you go down the road that follows the electric lines, you'll notice that there will be fewer and fewer old American cars and many more horses and other cattle pulling carts.

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