Cuba – Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos is a quirky city. Founded by the French as a holiday town, it has had many masters through the years and the architecture reflects it. There are a number of local streets that now house artisans selling their wares. 

The Cienfuegos Botanical Garden, founded by an American sugar planter named Atkins, started as a center for tropical plant research over a hundred years ago. For many years it was focused on the hybridization of sugar cane as well as organizing the planting of trees and plants imported from tropical areas around the world (there are over 2000 varieties). Today there are many groves of Banyan trees, a variety of Palms. Here is a Bamboo stand over fifty feet tall and a massive Culpo tree (similar to balsa).

Just up the road from the garden is Parque El Nicho. A short trek up through some lush green mountain scape you’ll find sets of swimming holes, natural pools and a stunning waterfall. It has a reputation as the most beautiful of Cuba’s numerous waterfalls

Cienfuegos is quite a bit closer to Havana and became powerful due to good growing conditions and massive sugar plantations. It also had several large casinos and a massive estate once owned by Meyer Lansky. The mafia had lots of “influence” in this city in the middle of the 20th century.

Baseball is a national pastime. In this city  of 150,000 they have a baseball park that seats 30,000. It is very visible from the harbor.

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