Cienfuegos, on the south coast, is an attractive seaport and industrial city, sometimes described as the pearl of the south, and there is a very Caribbean feel to the place. French immigrants at the beginning of the 19th century influenced the development and architecture of the city, which is a fascinating blend of styles.
There are interesting colonial buildings around the Parque José Martí.
On the east side on Calle 29 is La Catedral Purísima Concepción, built in 1868, which has a somewhat neo-gothic interior with silvered columns. Mass is at 0730 and the church is open until 1200.
On the north side, on Avenida 56, is the Teatro Tomás Terry, built in 1889 after the death of the Venezuelan Tomás Terry, with the proceeds of a donation by his family. It was inaugurated in 1890 with an audience of 1,200. The lobby has an Italian marble statue of Terry and is decorated with fine paintings and ornate gold work. The interior is largely original with wooden seats. Note the ceiling with exquisite paintings. Open daily 0900-1800, US$1 including guided tour.
The most notable building on the west side is the Palacio de Ferrer, now the Casa de Cultura Benjamín Duarte. It is a beautiful building dating from 1894, with a magnificent tower on the corner designed to keep an eye on the port and shipping. Worth seeing for the marble floor, staircases and walls, carved in Italy and assembled at the palace. Mon-Sat 0830-1900, US$0.50 (including the tower, great views), guided tours in Spanish.