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"Manzanillo is a fishing village overlooking a beautiful sea. Its light,
with its contrasting greens and yellows, has influenced me a lot.
God has created a brilliant, intense light in Manzanillo,
a light that doesn't disappear even in the shadows." - Ruben Beltran, local painter
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|Founded on July 11 1792, Manzanillo is in Granma province in the Oriente. Known as the Perla del Guacanayabo (the gulf it sits by), it was named after a strange tree (Hippomane mancinella lin) or manzanillo which is poisonous. The aboriginals used it to make deadly arrows.
The town is considered the birthplace of Son (Cuña del Son), Cuba's favorite song style. It also became famous for its mechanical organs imported first from Paris, then built here by the Fornaris and Borbolla families who went on travelling shows with their huge organs in the back of a rickety viejo camion.
During the 1980's, before Buena Vista Social Club, the town was at the origin of a new beginning in Cuban music. The danzon orchestra, La Original de Manzanillo, Carlos Puebla, composer of "Comandante" the song about Che Guevara as well as singer Cándido Fabré, reputed for his improvs are today its most famous sons.
Citizens meet on sunday afternoons for concerts around the central park's glorieta (gazebo), inspired by the one in the Los Leones park of Granada, España.
Only 9 miles south of town is one of the loveliest, entrancing spots in Cuba : La Demajagua. By all means (bike is nice), go and enjoy the calm and serenity of this most peaceful historic location.
Another way this town is unique : at the main church entrance in February 2013, a sign with a picture of a condom saying : "SAFE SEX Get married and be faithful". You won't see this in the Vatican any time soon ; )
POPULATION 131,707 (2007)
1800, Cayo Confite, El Golfo, El Manegua, Hotel Guacanayabo, Las Alinas PALADARES Rancho Luna on calle Juan Miguel Gomez, 50 m from centra park; Merci y Marcel Paladar las Rocas (Martires de Vietnam 68, e/Caridad y Gal Benitez, cell (5) 815-1851 Hosts offer meals with a view in their home, near casa Adrian y Tonia, prices from 8 to 10 cuc)
Since July 2015, wifi for 2cuc/hour is available on the Bulevar (pedestrian street) with purchase of a Nauta temporary wifi account for your smartphone or tablet from the same address as regular Internet 8h30-19h30 daily : Centro Multiservicios (Dr. Codina, corner José Miguel Gómez) • Aeropuerto Sierra Maestra (8km south) tel. (23) 54-984 • Banco de Credito, corner Merchan & Saco (mon-fri, 8h-15, sat 8h-12) • Cubana, calle Maceo 70 tel. (23) 28-00 • Havanautos 5-20-56 • Omnibus terminal for Astro (no Viazul here), 2 km East tel. 5-22-21, daily departures (among others) for Pilon and Grito de Yara • Train station is at the end of Merchan street 5-35-88. We tried it in Feb. 2013, the train was delayed 3 hours (Cubans were screaming insults at the Station Chief a first in Cuba !); so we went in a horse-driven cart to the Astro terminal where we caught a 15-cuc cab back to Bayamo
Bar Brisas del Mar, Baseball : Estadio Wilfredo Pages, Cabaret Costa Azul, Cabaret Salon Rojo, Casa de la Trova, Cine Popular
Bus Astro reserved for Cubans - at the local terminal, easily find a shared cab to Bartolomé Maso and Bayamo, payable (with luck) in Cuban pesos) • Trains Bayamo (2 x day if at all), Jiguani, Santiago de Cuba
::: UNEAC, casa Manuel Navarro Luna, centre for the promotion of literature, site of all cultural activities under the guise of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba
::: Teatro Manzanillo, built in 1856 (the opening play was titled "The Art of Making a Fortune"), re-opened in 2002, one of the jewels of Cuban Theatre Architecture
::: Iglesia Parroquial La Purísima Concepción, with its neo-classical architecture of the 20's and a modern man in charge : see sign at entrance
::: Plaza Celia Sanchez Manduley, a monumental work used for large gatherings and celebrations, on avenida Camilo Cienfuegos
::: Museo Historico Municipal, calle Marti 226, artefacts from the 16th century and the modern Revolucion
::: Parque Cespédes, the heart of the ciudad with a bust of Marti, the famous moor-inspired glorieta (concerts on weekends), the park bench with life-size Carlos (Comandante Che Guevara, the song) Puebla; on the roof of nearby pink edificio, weekend reggaeton music which never seems to shut up
::: Asamblea Municipal del Poder Popular, where public meetings have been taking place since 1820; site of the nomination of Celia Sanchez to the National Assembly
::: Studio of Ruben Beltran, the home of the talented local painter; works can be seen on a web site here
::: Proyecto Recreativo, along the sea on the Malecon : music DJ huts, fast food joints and the ever-present music (seductive sometimes, such as here) until the wee hours
::: Hotel Guacanayabo, a large, nondescript empty hotel with an inviting swimming pool where you can dip in and enjoy (if you "consume", it may be free); get there and back on a rented bike
Bartolomé Maso a sugar-mill (still in operation) town between here and Bayamo with a deserted hotel named Balcon de la Sierra, the perfect stopover for a dip in its swimming pool with no-less fabulous views of the valley below and the Sierra Maestra mountains on the horizon, 24 km away.
• Media Luna for birthplace and museum of Celia Sanchez, muse and companion of Fidel until her death in 1980 • Grito de Yara, tiny placename, unforgotten and significant : where the first aboriginal rebellion took place, led by Hatuey • Museo Historico La Demajagua (13 km south) : rich landowner Carlos Manuel de Cespedes liberated his slaves and declared war on the Spanish colony • Bartolomé Maso for the view of the valley below from hotel Balcon de la Sierra, perfect stopover on way to Sierra Maestra, 24 km further • Santo Domingo for a stay in casa particular Ulice y Esperanza or in its cabinas (Villa Santo Domingo) by the river before heading up to Sierra Maestra : trekking to La Comandancia de la Plata and Alto de Naranjo in Parque Turquino with (why not?) camping near its peak (pico) at an altitude of 2 000 meters. Our page here.
The site of Granma (the boat) landing on December 2, 1956 with Fidel and his 81 companions packed onboard is on the coast at Las Coloradas 86 km south of Manzanillo. The Parque nacional Desembarco del Granma, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with marine terraces, spectacular cliffs from Cabo (Cape) Cruz as well as caves and unique flora spreads over 27,545 hectares. Some full-day excursions are available from local tour agencies.
| OUR RECOMMENDATIONS
::: Make sure that in your first email or phone call you specify that you want to book a room in that particular casa and that you will reconfirm your booking on arrival in Cuba. Unless you only want a room in any house which may be of the same quality, not the specific casa you booked through photos on these websites ::: So as to not abandon expecting owners with empty rooms, reconfirm (or call ahead to cancel) your booking by phone as soon as you can after arriving in Cuba ::: Please write or phone a casa owner to cancel a booking. As late as it may seem, it allows them a chance to rebook. ::: Children under the age of 16 may share a bedroom with adults for free. Specify the child's age when booking. ::: Since October 2010, maximum bedroom capacity is not limited to two adults ::: Also, large casas are not limited to renting only two bedrooms per night. ::: At the end of the casa name, the V signals the casa was suggested by travelers or owners but not verified by the website staff. If you try it and like it, write us about it. ::: Unless otherwise mentioned, the average room rates and service prices are : 20-25cuc per bedroom per night [up to 40+ for 4 in a room]; breakfasts 3-5cuc, dinners 7-10cuc. ::: Any casa particular anywhere in Cuba must have a hot water shower, otherwise it cannot have a permit to rent :::Complaints, comments & suggestions webmaster [@]cubacasas.net
||BOOK BY PHONE
• From Canada and the USA : 011 53 (add phone # preceded by the town's area code, 23) • From Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (add phone # preceded by the town's area code, 23) ••• HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER HERE ••• CELL PHONE NUMBERS on our town lists and casa pages are preceded by 05 for calls originating Havana; from anywhere else in Cuba, dial 01 + the 8 digits of the cell.
BOOK BY EMAIL :
Click on logo to open a message addressed to that casa in your email application; or right-click to copy address. Spanish vocabulary here. Google translate here.
ADRIAN y TONIA
Indep apartment upstairs, kitchenette, terrace
Martires de Viet-Nam (Del Angel) 49, esquina (corner) Caridad pedestrian staircase street one minute from central park. Tél. (23) 57-3028
|MERCI y MARCEL + PALADAR
Upstairs, two ac br's, ensuites, roof terrace
Martires de Viet-Nam (Del Angel) 68, entre Caridad (pedestrian staircase) y General Benites (de la Amargura). Cell. (5) 815-1851
Ground floor bedroom with ensuite
Pedro Figueredo (de la Sierra) 121, e/Luz y Caballero (De Vives) y Martires de Viet-Nam (Del Angel). Tél. (23) 57-2127
|VILLA LUISA V
Two ac br's, ensuites, views
Ravena 172, e/Maceo y Masó (Isabel Segunda) Tél. (23) 57-2738 cell 52 91 78 08
Located up a hill from where you can see all the way down to the main square, Luisa rents two renovated air-conditioned bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms.
Ref. by Wibo Mans, Netherlands 040408
|ADO y FERNANDO
Ground floor bedroom with ensuite
Pedro Figueredo (de la Sierra) 105, e/Martires de Viet-Nam (Del Angel) y Marti. Tél. (23) 57-2522
The couple rents one aircon bedroom with ensuite bath. Nice recently-redone terrace.
RECOMMENDED BY PAPERBACK GUIDEBOOKS
Lonely Planet (LP), National Geographic (NG), Stefan-Loose (SL) and web site Trip Advisor (TA)
::: LP : Adrian y Tonia, La Roca, Casa Peña ::: NG : Adrian y Tonia ::: SL : Mercy y Marcel, Adrian y Tonia, Eldris y Yosdanis, Casa Peña (Juan Manuel) ::: TA : Asturias, d'Ruben 10.01.18