We stopped into Cienfuegos for a night en route to Trinidad to break up a super long bus trip. It took 8 hrs to get to Cienfuegos from Vinales, so by the time we had arrived we were well into grumpy bus trip mode after disturbed naps and disagreements on whether it was socially acceptable for Alex to practice his Spanish audiobook lessons on the bus.
The city has a lot of Historical French architecture as Cienfuegos was settled by French immigrants to Cuba. There are a lot of beautiful sights to look at, but we found the tourist touts pretty annoying (despite the Lonely Planet advising us the town was largely free of them!). As we only spent the day in town I will just do a little photo essay below for you all.
|View from the top of a hotel in town|
|Watching an afternoon boxing lesson|
|Just hanging out after school|
|Spotted a few marjuana plants growing outside this casa|
|Sunset paddle off the Punta Gorda|
|View from the far end of the Punta Gorda|
|Alex with our casa owner outside Casa Azul, super friendly and just across the road from the bus station|
Our bicycle rickshaw driver mentioned when we were on board that Cienfuegos had a large problem with prostitution - whilst quickly looking through Cienfuegos' Wikipedia page I found the below exert, quite interesting!
Before 2003 Cienfuegos had a reputation for teenage prostitutes. Girls would skip school to go to the airport three times a week for the flights from Canada and meet Canadian men. Beginning in 2003 the police cracked down on prostitution and now Cienfuegos has a reputation for the most vigorous anti-prostitution police patrolling in Cuba (and there are no longer flights from Canada). After dark be careful at nightclubs, restaurants, or on the streets; simply asking an innocent young woman for directions could get her arrested. Don't bring a Cuban guest into your casa unless she signs the guest book; several home owners lost their homes because tourists brought "girlfriends" home for the night. If a woman is arrested twice in a year for being with a tourist she is fined. If she's arrested three times she goes to prison for four years. (Tourists are usually not arrested or punished.)
Next up, Trinidad!