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MATANZAS, Cuba

Located in the central part of Cuba, Matanzas is the second largest province in the island with a surface of 11,978 square kilometers (4,662 square miles) and a population of around 643,400 inhabitants. Its highest point is the Pan de Matanzas, only 380m (1,277 ft.) above sea level. Matanzas is principally famous for the Varadero beach, the Bellamar Caves and the Cienága de Zapata, where is the Bay of Pigs. In this beautiful province there is also the Valley of Sugar Mills, place of the most important concentration of sugar growing in colonial times, and the Yumurí valley.

 

Casa Albertina

Budget Accommodation
in Vedado, Havana

Hotel Nacional

Recomended Hotel
in Havana

The northern coast is lined with ports and bays and contains one of the world's finest beaches, at Varadero.This coast also has numerous small cays, scrublands and mangroves near the shoreline.

The southern coast has one of Cuba's most distinctive features: Ciénaga de Zapata, a vast wetland area of mangrove and swamp taking up most of the southern part of the province and the peninsula of the same name. Among Cuba's provinces, Matanzas is one of the most industrialized ones, with petroleum wells, refineries, supertanker facilities, and 21 sugar mills to process the harvests of the fields of sugarcane in the province.


This province has the biggest oilfield in exploitation of Cuba, located in the north coast, near of the Bay of Cárdenas and the Bay of Matanzas, where it produces the 60 percent of national crude oil. Some foreign firms make risk investment to drill for oil at this zone.

Energas, a plant which utilizes the spin-off gas to generate electricity, was constructed near Cárdenas and Varadero. It generates over 170 megawatts to the Cuban electrical power system.

Sugarcane and henequen are the major crops; subsistence agriculture is also practiced, and there is some cattle rising. In Matanzas there is also the biggest surface area of cultivation of citrus fruits in the country, with over 300 thousand tons produced per year.

Matanzas has a prosperous tourist industry. Comfortable hotels have been built in some of the most beautiful spots in Matanzas, to facilitate your enjoyment of nature.

The ruins of the Triunvirato sugar mill and the fascinating Canímar River, of navigable and quiet waters whose limits are marked by an exuberant vegetation, complement the charms of Matanzas, close to which –on the way to the city of Havana– the vast Yumurí Valley will make you stop and enjoy the privileged Bacunayagua lookout

The best time to visit Matanzas is December though April is also the most popular time.

The weather is at its coolest and driest during these months, yet it's still far warmer than those of North America and Europe.

Pinar del Rio City Cuba

In the spring and fall, it's off season and this may mean fewer hotel amenities. There are, however, benefits for traveling in the low season: lack of crowds and prices that tumble by up to 25%.

Tops destinatios in Matanzas, Cuba are:

Pinar del Rio City Cuba

Matanzas city: (founded in 1693) is known as “the Venice of Cuba” for its many bridges enriching the urban area. Also, is known as "the Athens of Cuba" because of its cultural heritage. The provincial capital surrounds a large bay, whose name changed from Guanima to Matanzas (slaughters) after a group of Spanish colonizers were killed on its waters by aborigines commanded by cacique Guayucayex, in 1510.
The name of Matanzas was quickly extended to the then village, to the lands in the vecinity and to the rest of the future province.

Land of poets, in this town was born the Danzón, a popular Cuban rhythm. There is also in Matanzas a sui generis Pharmaceutical Museum, which together with the Oscar María de Rojas Museum, opened at the beginning of the 20th century, and the Sauto Theater, complements the cultural offer to the visitors.

Also, Matanzas city took in the first Baseball game in the Cuban history, which played in the historical Palmar del Junco stadium.
And the attractions you should visit are:
 
 
Cárdenas: is a town in Matanzas Province, Cuba, about 150 km (75 miles) east of Havana.
Cárdenas is a maritime town and somewhat marshy shore of a spacious bay of the northern coast of the island, sheltered by a long promontory. The city lies between the sea and the hills. There are broad streets, various squares (including the Plaza de Colón, with a bronze statue of Columbus given to the city by Queen Isabella II. and erected in 1862) and substantial business buildings.
Pinar del Rio City Cuba
Cárdenas was founded in 1828, and in 1861 it already had 12,910 inhabitants. In 1850 General Narciso Lopez landed here on a filibustering expedition, and occupied the town for a few hours, abandoning it when he saw that people would not support him in his efforts to secure Cuban independence.

On May 11, 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the Battle of Cárdenas was fought here. In this engagement an American torpedo boat attacked a Spanish gunboat and shore batteries, and Ensign Worth Bagley was killed—the first American naval officer who lost his life in that war.

In the early 20th Century, Cárdenas was one of the principal sugar-exporting towns of Cuba. By 1907 the population was 24,280. The shallowness of the harbour needed repeated loading of cargoes. The surrounding region is famed for its fertility. A large quantity of asphalt has been taken from the bed of the harbour. A flow of fresh water from the bed of the harbour is another peculiar feature; it comes presumably from the outlets of subterranean rivers.

The town's greatest claim to fame is being the home of attempted refugee Elián González, who returned to Cuba in July 5th 2000, after seven months in the United States of America. He can return after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by the child’s distant relatives in Miami. In 2003, González attended Marcelo Salado Elementary School.

And the attractions you should visit are:
 
 

Pinar del Rio City Cuba

Varadero: is a popular resort town in the province of Matanzas, and one of the largest in the Caribbean, with more than 20 kilometers of white-sandy beaches. It is situated on a peninsula some 140 kilometres east of Havana.

The peninsula is only 1.2 km wide at its widest point. It slopes to the northeast, where its extreme, Punta Hicacos, is the northernmost point of Cuba.
Varadero is first and foremost a tourist resort, with the most important airport of the Island after the José Martí Airport in Havana. Tourism grew as Irenee Dupont Nemours, an American millionaire, built her estate on the peninsula in the early 1930's. But the first tourists had already arrived at Varadero in the 1870's, and for years it was considered an elite resort.

And the attractions you should visit are:
 
 
Bellamar Caves: This 45-minute journey into the underworld takes the visitor through 300 meters of the 500-metre cave system known as the Cuevas de Bellamar (Bellamar Caves).

These caves were discovered in 1861 and soon became one of Cuba's main tourist attractions because of the beauty of the secondary formations.
Pinar del Rio City Cuba
Throughout the tour there are halls and galleries of incredible beauty, fountains, stalactites and stalagmites, crystallized domes and other formations bearing names. Once outside the caves, there is a cafe-restaurant along with shops. Admission: 4 USD.

And the attractions you should visit are:
 
 

Pinar del Rio City Cuba

Yumurí Valley: close to Matanzas city, is a marvelous natural resort for all who love natural and beautiful views. Commanding the Yumuri Valley is the hill called Cumbre, on which the Chapel of Montserrat (1870) is located, with a famous shrine.
And the attractions you should visit are:
 
 
Cienaga de Zapata: a large wetlands area of mangrove and swamp taking up most of the southern half of the province, with the biggest Crocodile farm in Cuba and some beauty beaches and country resorts.

These lands also holds a historical and sentimental value to many Cubans, as it was here, in the Bay of Pigs, where the nascent Cuban revolutionary state defeated an invasive military force trained and supplied by the United States.

Pinar del Rio City Cuba
And the attractions you should visit are:

 

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