Friday, 4 May 2018

Cuban Cruising - Charming Cienfuegos

Tourist Rides, When They're Running

Like every city in Cuba, Cienfuegos is full of beautiful old cars, though keeping them running seems a constant task. We anchored off the marina just south of the city and spent 10 days exploring and relaxing, with the usual range of boat jobs thrown in. This was also a great city to re-provision, for our next passage to the west.

Cafe Prado

The city is relaxed, safe and surprisingly sophisticated, with a great range of restaurants, cafes and bars. Yes, it is Cuba, so nothing is perfect, but the city has a sense of prosperity and optimism that was infectious. There is quite a lot of tourism, but its low key and chilled.

You could spend weeks just sampling food at the dozens of privately run restaurants and paladars.  The architecture in the central city is grand and well preserved, though you only need to move a block or so to find the classic Cubano crumbling edifices. Two hours drive to the east is the city of Trinidad, the oldest Spanish city in the new world, well restored and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

As usual we chased down all the music we could find, and on any night in the town square you could easily listen to four or five different acts.

There is never a cover charge, unless you visit one of the late night clubs.  The bands are paid a government stipend, which they creatively augment with CD sales and tips from the crowd.

On our first Saturday in town we came across a local community center cultural event, in a residential side street away from the city center.  Basically a classic Cuban band playing for the local residents, who really know how to dance. These folks have standards though - long pants and a collared shirt were required for entry - we fit the bill and were invited in for a wonderful night with the locals. After dancing all night we pulled up kinda tired the next day .... but we did return again the following Saturday.

For two days we explored the countryside around Cienfuegos on a rented scooter - traffic is light and generally slow, much of it horse drawn, so we felt safe riding. The farming town people made us welcome, ignoring our lack of Spanish and trying very hard to support us.

Crystal Blues departed Cienfuegos on April 22nd, bound for Cayo Largo.
For more images of beautiful Cienfuegos click below.

Cienfuegos Main Square
Cruisers Making Music At The Marina
Art Is Everywhere, Old Art Is Everywhere
Palacio Azul, Near The Marina
Pedi Cabs Are Common And Convenient

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