Western Cuba, full of attractions linked to nature, sun and beach options, offers excellent proposals for tourism.
In this direction, Matanzas province stands out, especially Varadero Beach, Cuba's major coastal resort.
As if it were not enough, Varadero aspires to become the best beach in the world, after coming second in that category in the Traveler's Choice Awards, published on the TripAdvisor website.
In addition, Matanzas has Cienaga de Zapata (Zapata Swamp), which is the largest and best preserved wetland in the insular Caribbean, and holds the categories of Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site, ideal for the practice of ecotourism.
As a new element, the territory also holds the Sauto Theater, a National Monument and an exponent of the heritage and cultural values from the 19th century.
Visitors who visit the theater express interest in its main hall, where the machinery that allows the stalls to go up and down stands out as a distinctive element, and they also recognize the architectural beauty of the 156-year-old building.
The magnificent conservation of the heritage pieces protected by the theater and the high degree of originality maintained during the restoration works are values that tourists appreciate.
Matanzas, founded in 1693 with the initial name of San Severino y San Carlos, is also known as the Athens of Cuba and was even called in the past the Venice of the Americas, due to its rivers, bridges and canals, with a dynamic commercial and cultural activity for the time. This peculiar economic prosperity added the name of the Naples of the Americas in the mid-19th century, until it reached its current name.
The abundance of waterways also gave Matanzas the nickname of "city of bridges", with bridges such as the former La Concordia, today known as Lacret, or the Calixto Garcia bridge, just to mention a few.
Plaza de La Vigia, the first arms square in the city, is surrounded by exponents of the historic values of the city, represented in buildings such as the Fire Department, the former Customs House and the Junco Palace.
Another site that is full of memories in the provincial capital is La Libertad Park, which was built around 1800 and is the center of some of the most important buildings, such as the Artistic and Literary Lyceum.
The underground wonders of the Bellamar Caves, discovered in 1861, the ruins of the Triumvirate sugar mill and the natural touch provided by the Canimar River complement the city's attractions.
From the point of view of nature, the Yumuri Valley stands out and can be seen from the Bacunayagua Viewpoint, over a bridge that is included among Cuba's seven wonders in civil engineering.
In their tours of Matanzas, holidaymakers include the famous Monserrate Chapel, which was inaugurated in 1875 and has been described as a sign of the economic power achieved by the Catalonian community established in Matanzas.