The central Cuban province of Cienfuegos combines its natural, cultural and historic wealth with the infrastructure necessary for leisure and recreation.
The capital city, also called the Pearl of the South, is an essential part of that tourist treasure that includes first-class hotels, ecotourism options and traditions.
A score of libraries, 11 museums, more than 30 movie halls and five theaters, in addition to houses of culture, art galleries and monuments, are visited by both national and foreign tourists every year.
Among the city's many attractions is the José Martí Park, built on the site where the village of Fernandina de Sagua was founded in April 1819. In the park, there are bronze and stone busts of the most relevant personalities of the city.
Surrounding the park are the only Arc of Triumph in Cuba, built in 1902, and the Tomás Terry Theater, one of Cuba's three major theaters in the 19th century, where prominent artists such as Enrico Caruso performed.
The most emblematic building in Cienfuegos is Palacio de Valle, which was designed by an Italian engineer and whose construction was funded by a rich Spanish businessman. The building combines several architectural styles, including gothic, romantic, Byzantine and baroque, with a strong influence from the Mudejar style.
Cienfuegos is also famous for its singular nature. The centennial Botanic Gardens (built in 1901) covers an area of 97 hectares and holds the most complete collection of palms in the world.
The Botanic Gardens hold some 2,000 plant species, 70 percent of which are exotic, 23 varieties of bamboos, 65 of jagüey and 280 of cork and big-bellied palms.
Nature lovers can visit El Nicho, which is accessed through a road that runs up the Guamuaya Mountain Range and goes through the Yaguanabo Valley, where tourists can enjoy a unique view of the waterfall of the El Negro stream.
The over-30-meter waterfall makes whirlpools of foam when hitting the rocks at the bottom, thus creating a persistent fog.
Beach goers can have a great time at Rancho Luna, where there is a three-star hotel, and there exist excellent conditions for scuba diving and snorkeling, thanks to the breathtaking beauty of the sea bottom.
Young people prefer to stay at Villa Guajimico, which offers excellent conditions for nature tourism, nautical sports and diving.
The Pearl of the South is also a good place for congress tourism, as it has excellent facilities to host business and working meetings, among other social events, taking advantage of the city's infrastructure, including roads, an airport and transportation services.
Vacationers can take excursions to the Yaguanabo Valley, where trails, lookouts, caves, forests and exuberant nature will be awaiting them to uncover the natural wealth of the region.