Cuban Marine Cities

By: Jose Ramon Castro

In harmony with its insularity, life in many of Cuban cities has been impressed by the sea. From the times of Cuban earliest inhabitants, right through the time of Spanish settlers, and up to present days, the presence of sea has marked Cuban character. Of the seven first townships, three remained on the seashore: Baracoa, Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Other cities and towns were born later on the coastline, but not to become less important for not being so ancient.

Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Caibarien, Gibara, Manzanillo, Nueva Gerona are worth a visit. They differ from each other, but they all have that same marine charm that shapes up a different way of life, either calm or full of spirit, depending on the rhythmic cadence of the sea.

Matanzas, rich in tradition and a cradle of poets and musicians, is simply enchanting. Cienfuegos, the South Pearl, with a perfect outline, once adopted a numerous French colony and today is one of most beautiful cities in Cuba. It is one of Cuban most important port cities, an architectural jewel of the XIX century.

Caibarien, a typical fishing village, is today's departure gate to visit the virgin cays to the North of Villa Clara where you can visit Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Santa Maria and Los Ensenachos, among others. They have a promising touristic present and future because of the unmatched beauty of their beaches and nature. Gibara, just beside the bay that the Great Admiral Cristofolo Colombo named Rio de Mares (River of Seas), with its fortifications, is the most outstanding architectural complex of the Holguin region.

Manzanillo, disputed by pirates and corsairs -and also present in Cuba's first literary monument, Espejo de Paciencia, by Camaguey-born Silvestre de Balboa-, opens up to Gulf of Guacanayabo wwith the simple nature of its residents and the spell of its green landscape in the background. Nueva Gerona, the main city in the Island of Youth (formely Isle of Pines), throbs with the comings and goings between its port and the Island of Cuba.

What to visit here, in Cuban marine cities?

Havana: Old Havana, National Capitol, Paseo del Prado, Revolution Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Revolution Square and Jose Marti Memorial, Malecon Drive, Colon Cemetery, Botanical Garden and Maqueta de La Habana.

Matanzas: Sauto Theatre, Triolet Pharmacy Museum, Municipal Museum, Bellamar Cave, bay area and Monserrate Hermitage.

Cienfuegos: Parque Jose Marti, Paseo del Prado, Malecon, Palacio del Valle, Tomas Acea Cemetery, La Reina Cemetery, Punta Gorda area, Castillo de Jagua fortress, Terry Theatre and Botanical Garden.

Nueva Gerona and Isle of Youth: El Abra farmhouse, Old Model Prision Museum, Punta del Este Beach
Gibara: Bateria de Fernando VII gun emplacements, bay area

Manzanillo: Parque de la Glorieta

Santiago de Cuba: El Morro Castle, Diego Velazquez's house, Catedral Metropolitana Church, Parque Cespedes, Padre Rico street, Heredia street, Bacardi Museum, Carnival Museum, Marte Square, city.

More information about Cuba at http://www.hicuba.com

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