For centuries, the picturesque waterfront city has been known as le Perla del Sur, or the Pearl of the South. Cienfuegos shares its name with the stunning bay it encloses and which daily draws tourists and adventure enthusiasts. While the city has become architecturally memorable and a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bay houses a coastline comprised of coral columns and rich reefs beneath its cerulean waters. In this French-inspired city you can discover the coral pillars reverently called Notre Dame where divers can experience the splendor of nature in an underwater cathedral.
The colonial city of Cienfuegos was established in 1819, making it one of Cuba’s newer colonies. The settlement’s unique cultural heritage comes from its initial population of French immigrants from Bordeaux and North American French colonies. The historic town was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 due to its exhibition of international cultural influences stemming from the Spanish Enlightenment as well as its demonstration of 19th century Latin American urban planning. Today, the city forms two contrasting zones: the colonnaded central zone as well as the Punta Gorda, a promenade trimmed with arresting villas and palaces, remnants of the American era under Batista. You can meander along the waterfront malecón where you can enjoy some sun, rum, and relaxation.