Cienfuegos, Cuba, The Pearl of the South, Punta Gorda

(The Bay of Cienfuegos, photo by FBC)

There is something about Cuba that is certainly worth talking…and blogging…about, the natural beauty of the island. For instance, the Bay of Cienfuegos…

Cienfuegos, situated in the south shore of Cuba, somewhat near the centre of the island, was founded in 1819 by immigrants from France, under the leadership of founder Mr. Luis De Clouet.

I had the opportunity to spend fifteen days in Cienfuegos. I stayed at a “casa particular”, which is the Cuban equivalency of a bed and breakfast. I chose a particular area of the city, a little peninsula…or a spit…that juts out into the bay and which is called “Punta Gorda”.

The Paseo del Prado is the main street that runs through this small neighbourhood after it crosses the Malecon de Cienfuegos, (The seawall), and from then on until the point at the end of the spit. I referred to it as the strip. Punta Gorda has a rather suburban feel, not unlike many places in Miami, Florida…

Punta Gorda must have been a beautiful neighbourhood back in the fifties. The area was developed much earlier, even as far back as the XIXth Century. But in the thirties, forties and fifties Punta Gorda enjoyed its best years. You can see huge mansions with large yards with fruit trees and all the houses, on one side of the main street or the other, are on the water…

The lovely green and white building above was the Yacht Club. Next to it you can see the Cienfuegos seawall, called the “Malecon”…

I stayed for a few nights at the Hotel Jagua, located at the end of the Punta Gorda strip. It was built in 1958, before the revolution, and it has that old 1950’s charm. It is on the water, with a little beach and with nice bars and restaurants. At night they have a Jazz club, and well, you know how I feel about Jazz…

The old Covadonga Restaurant is also on the water, across from the hotel. It certainly looks like a 1950’s building, although now it is rather run down. I was told by old timers that in the late 50’s it was a hopping place. People would crowd the tables on the waterside and drink their daiquiris and their mojitos under the shade and enjoying the Caribbean breezes…

When you leave Downtown Cienfuegos on the Paseo del Prado, basically Cienfuego’s main street, you are en route to Punta Gorda. At the very end of the strip is a rotunda, where there is a metal statue of dancers. Across is the De Valle palace. This was once a private home and now a museum and sometimes a banquet hall as well as a popular tourist attraction.

I must say that I did truly enjoy those days in Punta Gorda. Every day I would walk the Malecon strip and then the Paseo del Prado and enter into the downtown Cienfuegos neighbourhood. It was a lovely time, especially in March, when I went because the weather was not as hot as it gets in the summers.

Cienfuegos, on the whole, was a beautiful French city. A perfect grid of streets, all straight, all logical…

You can still see the majesty of most of the houses in the Downtown neighbourhood even though, because of lack of maintenance, many of the facades look rather run down. However, with a little paint and a little tender love and care, these structures will resurface again with the strength and beauty they originally possessed when they were built back in the late XIXth Century and early XXth.

Finally I just wanted to include a little side trip I made to Rancho Luna, the beach town, very close by, that Cienfuegos people call their beach. It has lovely beachfront homes on the side of a hill and of course, all those were the beach houses of “Cienfuegueros” (the folk of Cienfuegos), where they went to spend their summer holidays. The Cuban government appropriated these properties when the owners abandoned Cuba and sought political exile in Spain or in the US. Presently the house you see above is being used by the government as a “rest home” for patients convalescing from AIDS and HIV disease.

If you have liked what you have seen and read, please hit that like button, share and follow and as always, your comments are encouraged and always welcome. What do you think about travelling to Cuba? What do you know about Cuba? Let’s discuss these topics…

You can follow me on Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera where I post my artwork. And you can explore my “JaZzArt en Valencia” 2019 series by going to

You can subscribe to my YouTube channel as well for many other videos like this one, which is about Cienfuegos. The music I did with my old group AJA (Abstract Jazz Arrangement) back in 1999.



  1. ourcrossings · November 11, 2019

    I’ve always had a desire to visit Cuba and reading about it, that desire emerged yet again. Thanks for sharing, it’s nice to learn about different corners of the world trough some else’s perspective 😊😊😊

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · November 11, 2019

      I’m sort of getting that desire to go back…especially in the winter, our winter here in Europe, I mean…thank you! Great hearing from you!

  2. pedmar10 · November 12, 2019

    Many things there were copy in Florida such as Miramar Punta gorda and the streets grid of coral gables…cheers

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