Overview

The central heartland of Cuba transitions between the pre-Revolutionary prosperous western plantations and the cattle pasture of the poorer east.  There’s loads of history here, reflected in the racial mix and architecture of the port of Cienfuegos, Pearl of the South. Its French founders left their mark in broad neoclassical boulevards, art deco façades and blond inhabitants but there’s also a strong Afro-Caribbean presence. This is a seafaring city with salt in the air; it’s the world’s primary sugar port. The town is often visited in tandem with a stop at the Bay of Pigs, site of the ill-fated CIA-inspired invasion of 1961.

Santa Clara, founded on agriculture and mining, gained importance when a railway was built to connect the city with Havana. This track provided for one of the most momentous events in Castro’s revolutionary campaign: the hijacking of a train carrying government guns and soldiers. A few of the carriages are on display in what is this lively university city’s most important monument. Surrounded by magnificent hills, great for hiking or birdwatching, Santa Clara is within easy reach of 500 year-old Remedios, an attractive country town, and unspoilt Caibarién on the coast, a bit scruffy but certainly without pretension.

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Where to go when - our guide to Cienfuegos, Santa Clara and Bay of Pigs

Bay of Pigs

The weather in Cienfuegos, Santa Clara and Bay of Pigs is wide and varied

In the heartland of Cuba is the attractive maritime city of Cienfuegos, the world’s primary sugar port. The nearby town of Santa Clara and the Bay of Pigs are rich in revolutionary history. The weather here is hot and steamy year round, with a distinct wet and dry season. Dec - May is ideal for exploring outdoors, with sunnier weather and lower humidity, while Jun - Nov offers an impressive range of local festivities and celebrations you won’t want to miss.

View our Cienfuegos, Santa Clara and Bay of Pigs weather guide

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Real Latin american experts

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

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    Millie Davies - Travel Expert

    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

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    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Heloise Buxton
    Heloise Buxton - Travel Expert

    Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

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