Cuba's central province of Cienfuegos is a stronghold for tour and stay tourism, which takes advantage of the region's natural attractions, beaches and history.
A traditional venue for international nautical activities, Cienfuegos also boasts a varied architectural wealth, and treasures many legends that stimulate the imagination of foreign visitors.
One of these legends is linked to the Guanaroca Lagoon, a brackish reservoir fed by the Arimao River, and whose origin is linked to the aboriginal history on the largest Antillean Island.
Guanaroca was the first woman, created by Maroya - the Siboney's moon - to accompany Hamao, from whose union Imao was born, who died prematurely and was hidden by his father in a big "guiro".
Desperately, Guanaroca look for the little boy, and when she found him, she saw, as if by magic, that the "guiro" broke and fish, turtles and water came out of it.
Then, the largest turtle became the Majagua peninsula, while the others turned into the keys off Cienfuegos's coast. The fish created the rivers that run through the region of Jagua and the tears of the broken-hearted mother formed the Guanaroca Lagoon.
Other stories come from the Spanish colonial period, when the castle of Nuestra Señora de los Angeles was a sleepless sentinel that guarded the city from attacks by corsairs and pirates.
The Legend of the Blue Lady, which has been transmitted from generation to generation, says that during the first few years of the fortress, the shadow of a woman wearing an elegant blue dress emerged from the castle's chapel, and after she walked along the high walls, she disappeared suddenly.
The guards, who were accustomed to danger, began to fear the presence of the mysterious woman, until an officer arrived at the fortress to find out the truth about the alleged ghost.
According to the legend, one night the young officer met the so-called Blue Lady, and the following morning, the soldiers found him unconscious on the floor, with his broken sword beside him, along with a skull and an elegant blue cloak.
After that, the officer lost his mind, and no one ever knew the true story about the Blue Lady, whose legend has survived the passage of time.
Visitors to Cienfuegos also learn about Jagua, who, according to indigenous traditions, was the deity who taught the aborigines the arts of fishing, hunting and agriculture.
Those elements, which are present in the region's history, add a singular touch to the province's options for tourism (both domestic and foreign), a sector that has an ever-increasing weight in the Cuban economy.