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.

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    Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert

    After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!

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    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

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    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

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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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    Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert

    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

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    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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