Our Destinations

A Not-So-Hidden Gem

En-route from Havana to Varadero one will find the city of Matanzas. Massive numbers of vacationers rush through the city in crowded buses. Yet, most miss out on the rich cultural legacy of the deservedly called “Athens of Cuba”. Rhythms like Rumba, a UNESCO World Heritage, and Danzón, Cuba’s national dance, were born here. The island wide adored game of baseball was played for the first time in an organized fashion in the Palmar de Junco stadium in Matanzas, host of Cuba’s Baseball Hall of Fame and oldest functioning ball park in the world. Could there possibly be something more representative of Cuba than its music and baseball?

Hard to come up with something other than the Cuban flag and coat of arms. Amazingly, those supreme national symbols were created by Matanzas natives Miguel and Emilia Teurbe Tolón, and the flag was hoisted for the first time in Cárdenas, also referred to as Ciudad Bandera (Flag City), a historical town in the province of Matanzas.

Paradoxically, the influence of Matanzas on the identity of the nation has gone largely unsung. With the incredibly strong Afro-Cuban traditions here, one might think that the Orishas planned for the city to only reveal herself, in all her splendor, to those ready to do more than just scratch the surface.

Ciénaga de Zapata

The marshlands known as the Ciénaga de Zapata (“Zapata Swamp”), to the south of the province of Matanzas, are included in the International List of Important Marshes, compiled by the Ramsar Convention. With more than 1738 square miles covered by forests, mangroves, pastures and coastal vegetation, there are more than 900 native vegetable species, 172 bird species, 31 reptile species, 12 mammal species and a considerable number of fish, amphibians and insects. It was in the Ciénaga de Zapata, formerly a hiding place for pirates and smugglers of black slaves, where the famous and ill-fated Bahía de Cochinos invasion took place. The Ciénaga de Zapata is the largest and best-preserved marsh in the Caribbean basin.

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Sarah Foda, Sales & Travel Design

Sarah Foda
Sales & Travel Design
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