Located along the ocean, Cienfuegos offers beautiful views of the water, timeworn buildings, and a local Cuban feel. During our time in Cuba, my boyfriend and I spent two days in Cienfuegos. We didn’t have enough time to do some of the one day trips like visiting El Nicho Falls, but we explored the Plaza de Jose Marti, Punta Gorda, and the Castillo de Jagua.
The shoreline at Punta Gorda is stunning and is enhanced by the rooftop views at the Palacio de Valle. Our AirBnB was further mainland, so we walked along the malecon to Punta Gorda. Punta Gorda attracts wealthier tourists and residents unsurprisingly given its beautiful ocean front location. Along the walk to Punta Gorda, we saw the large Club Cienfuegos equipped with tennis courts and pools. Given our short trip, we didn’t have time to stop into the fancy club.
View off of Punta Gorda
View of Punta Gorda from the rooftop of the Palacio de Valle
Park area at the tip of Punta Gorda
The malecon from the Plaza de Jose Marti to Punta Gorda
Palacio de Valle
Club Cienfuegos with tennis courts
Plaza de Jose Marti
On our first day in Cienfuegos, we had stumbled into a plaza. Immediately, I had assumed it was the Plaza de Jose Marti and was disappointed by the dreary plaza that had seemed like a promising sight to visit. It turns out that this was just a neighborhood plaza. Once we actually arrived at the Plaza de Jose Marti, I felt foolish for mistaking the neighborhood plaza. The Plaza de Jose Marti is surrounded by impressive, French styles buildings. There’s the Teatro Tomas Terry, Ferrera Palace, Catedral de la Purisima Concepcion, government buildings, and small shops and art galleries.
Teatro Tomas Terry
Catedral de la Purisima Concepcion
Jose Marti statue
The neighborhood plaza
Typical street in Cienfuegos
Castillo de Jagua
To get to the castle, which is one a small island across from Cienfuegos, we took a local commuter ferry. It cost 1 CUC and took about an hour. The ferry was packed with people, but we were lucky to have a spot near the side of the ferry so we could see the lovely views of Punta Gorda and the Castillo de Jagua. On the ferry ride to the castle, I had sat on the ground of the ferry for most of the trip. There was a young boy sitting on his mother’s lap next to me. At one point on the ride, he had reached out and grabbed my boob. Everyone around us laughed, while the boy had a big grin on this face.
The castle itself is surprisingly small. After the journey on the ferry to get there, I had expected the castle to be larger, but it did have rooms with exhibitions inside that explain some of the history of the castle. The fortress offers beautiful views of the water, as well.
View from the fortress
Rooftop of the castle
Bell on the castle
Cannon on the fortress
The torture chamber in the castle
View of Punta Gorda from the ferry