Caribbean Tourism

Cárdenas

Cárdenas (pop: 75,000) is usually visited as a day trip from Varadero and is empty of tourists, friendly and a good place to meet Cubans. There is no hustling and no police harassment of Cubans associating with foreigners. The town is 18 km southeast of Varadero on the Bahía de Cárdenas.


It was founded in 1828 and attractive, in the traditional 19th century Spanish colonial style of houses with tall windows, intricate lattices, high ceilings inside, ceramic tiled floors and interior gardens. Cárdenas was a wealthy sugar town in the 19th century. Its main claim to fame is that the Cuban flag was first raised here in 1850 by the revolutionary General Narciso López, a Venezuelan who tried unsuccessfully to invade Cuba by landing at Cárdenas with an army of 600 men (only six of whom were Cuban). There is a plaque at the Hotel Dominica, which Narciso López occupied with his men and is now a National Monument and a flagpole monument on Avenida Céspedes. Plaza Molokoff is worth a visit to see the decaying iron market building, put up in the 19th century on Avenida 3 oeste and Calle 12. It was built in the shape of a cross and the two-storey building is surmounted by a 15 m dome made in the USA. On Calle 2, overlooking the water, is the Fábrica de Ron Arrechabala, which makes both the Varadero and Bucanero label rums. The site has been a rum factory since 1878, when the Havana Club company was founded here.


More . . .

The East

The main road along the coast towards Matanzas and Varadero is called the Vía Blanca. There are some scenic parts, but you also drive...

Baracoa

Close to the most easterly point of the island, Baracoa is an attractive place surrounded by rich, tropical vegetation and the perfect...

Bayamo

Bayamo is the capital of the province of Granma. It was the second town founded by Diego Velázquez in November 1513 and has been declared a...

Guantánamo

Gúantánamo (pop: 205,000) is the most easterly and most mountainous province on the island. The range of the Montañas de Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa...

Holguín

Holguín, (pop: 250,000) was founded in 1545. It is known as the ‘city of the parks’, four of which, Parque Infantil, Parque Carlos Manuel...

Matanzas

Matanzas (pop: 115,000) is a sleepy town with old colonial buildings and a busy, ugly industrial zone. Both the rivers Yumurí and San Juan...

Pinar del Río

The capital of Pinar del Río province is lively and attractive, and it gives a good taste of provincial Cuba. The centre consists of single...