Quote — Be Yourself Naht Hanh

La Isla de Cuba © sogestour
One of many recently-renovated buildings in town © sogestour •]• Cruising down the Canima river is a must buzz © Miguel Campos
Center — Parks & Museums
Near bay, Playa & others

Not just another colonial city, Matanzas is a great starting point to explore its surrounding natural attractions like Bellamar, Canimar, Saturnas or Yumuri. Some 20 miles east is the Peninsula de Hicacos where Varadero attracts Cuba's largest contingent of visitors.

Known at a time as
the city of bridges, city of rivers or the Venice of Cuba, Matanzas was founded in 1693 and during its heyday was the island's most important seaport. Leonardo Padura, in his biography of Jose Maria Heredia underlines the influence of the local masonic lodge during the 17th and 18th centuries and its impact on Cuban culture.

Matanzas (massacres in español; alludes to the aborigines wiped out by the Spanish colonials) was, most of all, the scene of the majority of cultural and political creations during its romantic period, the second half of the 19th century : schools, reviews, theatre, publications, poetry : all the "premieres" were held here before La Habana. The city is a Cuban National Monument and, since Spring 2005, a World Heritage Site.

UNESCO quote : "Situated on the Caribbean coast of southern-central Cuba at the heart of the country’s sugar cane, mango, tobacco and coffee production area, the town first developed in the neo-classical style. It later became more eclectic but retained a harmonious overall townscape."

It is also a city of bridges. Twenty-one in all, of which 11 have been built since the Révolucion. Main rivers are the Yumuri, the San Juan and the quiet rio Canimar, a must to relax in its stream.

Airport (same as Varadero's), 20
Camaguey, 465
Cardenas, 51
Ciego de Avila, 359
Cienfuegos, 197
Colón, 89
Holguin, 671
Jaguey Grande, 90
Jovellanos, 54
La Habana, 100
Pinar del Rio, 296
Playa Giron, 154
Playa Larga (Giron), 120
San Miguel de Los Baños
Santa Clara, 199
Trinidad, 271
Varadero, 35

Eliado Rivadulla [1953-2011]
Eliado Rivadulla [1953-2011]
Prov Matanzas dtcuba map

Map Matanzas Bus Tour to/from Varadero
Map Guide Architecture & Landscape : 46 sites
Map Matanzas city - Infotur
Map GoogleEarth of region
Map • Varadero on the Hicacos Peninsula
Map • City with casas
Map • The coast from La Habana
Weather - 5-day forecast
Rising and downward tides for Matanzas
UNESCO World Heritage File
Photos - Our small gallery of verticals
Photos - Evitier's great pictures on panoramio.com
Suggested itins Cuba Centro - Itins & Top Casas
Currency exchange rates
Viazul bus sked : Ruta 20 — Havana - Varadero
Island-wide bus skeds (horariodebuses.com/)
Hershey train - First-hand report (Guardian article)
Hershey train - Videos ::: Schedule
Hershey train - Marshall's Musings
National train routes schedule, updated
All that's natural in Matanzas province

All the Web particuba.net

POPULATION 147,289 (2007)

SEE.KNOW.DO (Bold text links to photo) The whole city, the bay and the Yumuri Valley from the Mirador de Monserrate (calle 312) Iglesia La Ermita de Monserrate (1872) Biblioteca Gener y Del Monte Castillo San Severino : African Art Museum and great lookout point, avenida del Muelle, 2 cuc taxi ride from center Museo Farmacéutico (1882), kept in its original state, wood cabinets, porcelain jars; founded by Monsieur Ernest Troilet Museo de los Bomberos (Firemen) in th old Fire Station in Parque de los Chivos Catedral de San Carlos Borromeo Iglesia San Pedro Apostol (restaured, in the Versalles area) Liceo Artistico y Literario Los Carnavales (uninterrupted 7-day fiesta downtown, during the 2nd week of August) Museo Histórico Provincial (Palacio del Junco) and its unique mummy of Josefa Margarita Ponce de Leon Palacio del Gobierno (City Hall) Parque de la Libertad • Plaza de la Vigía Teatro Sauto Escuela San Lorenzo • Bishopric Palacio Ferrer Local Yoga Instructor : Yunior tel. (45) 28-79-19

El Chiquirrin on calle Laborde with piano & high class fare Monserrate (views are great, food is pretty good) Hotel Velasco's dining room by the lobby Café Atenas on Plaza Vigia San Severino, upstairs overlooking parque Libertad Plaza la Vigia for hamburguesas con cerveza Paladar Restaurante Majorca, calle 334 in reparto Los Mangos : nouvelle cuisine Teni in reparto Playa (we list casas there, see below).

Casa de la Cultura José White, calle 79, patio bar, classical music concertos Casa de la Cultura Bonifacio Byrne on calle 272 El Pescadito calle 272, e/115 y 117 (shows, 5cuc for a bottle of rhum and 2 cocas) Artex Las Palmas, corner calle 127 y 254 Tropicana Matanzas (twin of Havana's most famous nightclub), 90-min shows at 22h30 for 35cuc. Centro cultural Nelson Barrera corner 276 and 77 near the marino for afro-Cuban musica
ACAA - Asociación Cubana de Artistas y Artesanios, calle 85 with exhibits expos, patio and dancing on the roof at night Bistro Kuba, calle 83 : only Cubans enjoying cocktails & expressos Ruinas del Matasiete, corner via Blanca and calle 101

Baseball games (Oct. to April) at Estadio Victoria de Giron home of the local team, Los Cocodrilos Visit the Estadio Palmar de Junco, Cuba's first baseball stadium Bar Karaoke Cine-Teatro Velazco Discoteca del Campismo Discoteca La Salsa

On the city's main park Parque de la Libertad, Matanzas can finally boast a downtown hotel worth a visit, a stay or a meal : Hotel Velasco, part of the new "E Hoteles" chain of Cubanacan.

Lovingly restaured to its heyday appearance in 1902, it has a lobby restaurant, 17 bedrooms including three Junior Suites. Tel. (45) 25-38-80

Another great view of Matanzas, as seen from the air. Click to enlarge. © Unseen Cuba / Marius Jovaisa

This river runs through town : Yumuri is her name and she is one of many. Goes to the bay. The bahia, that is. © evitier, panoramio

From atop La Escalinata, the bay on the horizon © evitier, panoramio | At the foot of La Escalinata, sweating on the horizon © evitier, panoramio

Parque de la Libertad. © sogestour
Parque de la Libertad. © sogestour

Our local favorite taxi driver is honest, bilingual and very able Yoiré

Our local favorite taxi driver is honest, bilingual and very able Yoiré — a predestined name as it literally translates to "I will go" © sogestour |Another set of arches in town © sogestour

GoogleEarth map
Regional GoogleEarth map with our details. Click to enlarge.

Corner of cathedral. © sogestour
New Bus Tour — Matanzas to Varadero and back : 10cuc/day - CLICK FOR DETAILS | Corner of the Catedral © sogestour

Exhuberant youth. •|• Ceremony under tree © sogestour
Exhuberant youth playing for the camera (yes, we did mail them the photo) © sogestour | Iglesia San Pedro Apostol in Versailles © sogestour

Teatro Sauto. •|• Palacio de Justicia. © sogestour
Teatro Sauto, the city's prestigious and historical cultural landmark © sogestour | Across the street, the court, Palacio de Justicia © sogestour

matanzas foto
Cruising down the Rio Canimar © Marilyn Perdomo|
Same river, otra vista © Mimmo Fabrizzi

Bacunayagua bridge •|• Hershey Train  © sogestour
Slow choo-choo (Not! It's electric) from Havana, famous Hershey Train in Matanzas station - Enlarge © carlyle ellis covenant grafix YouTube various Hershey Train videos here |• Bacunayagua bridge from its mirador. © sogestour

Viazul Bus 4 times per day in Matanzas, to/from Havana and Varadero

Viazul Bus (See schedule link above right) Terminal located on Calzada de Esteban; tel (45) 29-14-73 Other routes : Camaguey, Cardenas, Jaguey Grande, Colon, Jovellanos, Santa Clara, Santiago, Varadero. Hershey Train, sole electric tren in Cuba To/from La Habana's Casablanca station Tel. (7) 862-4888, steps from the Habana Vieja to La Regla ferry dock. A 5-time daily 3-hour adventure (instead of the 90 min. regular train) : great for countryside and stops along the way ! A 3cuc pp ride. From Matanzas, it leaves from Estacion Hershey, calle 67 in Versalles (45) 24-7254. Stops in Canasi, Jibacoa, Hershey and Guanabo. Regular trains Station located on calle 181 Tel. (45) 29-2409 Airport Juan Gualberto Gomez International is 20km away is considered Varadero's airport and is about 20km before arriving in Varadero from here. Tel. (45) 61-3016

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Life's a (local) beach

Playa El Tenis

Playa Buey Vaca

Playa El Mamey

Playa El Coral at 12 km, near the cuevas (caves) on the way to the airport : coco trees, nice coral formations, scuba, meals & snacks. Get there by local 16, 17 our 20 busses in town (20 centavos MN); best bargain is to enter through Laguna de Maya reserve (lake, restaurant, boats and horse rentals) where Ecotur guides can take you to the reef (300 species of fish) for 5cuc; full paquete is 25cuc El Tennis, 1km, rent a bicicleta acuatica (pedal boat) La Caridad, 4km Playa Mamey, 8km away near the bridge over the Canimar Buey Vaca, 6 km A day on Varadero beaches : take the Viazul bus at 10h00, drops you at calle 36 in Varadero town, returns at 18h00; 12cuc return fare.

Playa La Caridad

Playa Los Pinitos

Playa Ayende
Photos © Mandy Machado Vega, Villa Soñada
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Laguna de Maya reserve
(lake, restaurant, boat rental, horse riding) where Ecotur guides can take you to the reef off Playa Coral (300 species of fish) for only cuc instrad of full paquete from city which sells for 25cuc. From there you can trek 2.5 km to Cueva Saturno (cafeteria, bar, swimming) for scuba (deep well for pros) or snorkel; place is hustler heaven and maybe not really worth the detour; tel (45) 25-32-72 • Campismo Rio Canimar Take a local guagua (bus) leaving from the cathedral to the starting point at Canimar Abajo [photos below] some 8km away via Guanabana. On a yacht with meal and drink service, you cruise up the rio for 12km to Canimar Arriba with musical and ecolo stopovers. Highly recommended. 25cuc with a group, from the Varadero bridge through the Cubamar agency. Or take a taxi particular (which can wait for you and bring you back to town) and rent a rowboat (2cuc/hour). Swimming, nature appreciation, horseback riding, small zoo, rodeo Cuevas Santa Catalina, 12 km : unique mushroom-like formation. 6cuc. Cuevas de Bellamar (5 km) : ranchon, meals. • Mirador of the Bacunayagua bridge : restaurant, artisan work, superb views Rio Canimar : walk along the rio, from under the bridge to the Museo Morillo at the mouth of the river; take bus 16 or 17 from the town centre. Rent a scooter at Hotel Canimao or through the owner of your casa : 24cuc for 24 hours; driver's permit not required; a must-do, to discover the whole area, all the way to the end of Hicacos where some spots are still virgin.
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::: 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. ::: 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. Please share your Complaints, comments & suggestions webmaster [@]cubacasas.net
• from Canada and the USA : 011 53 (add phone # preceded by 45 for Matanzas) • from Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (add phone # preceded by 45 for Matanzas) ••• 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.

Click on logo to open a message addressed to that casa in your email application; or right-click to copy address. Spanish vocabulary here.
Click photos to see each casa's page and description. Locate most casas on this map of the city here.
See all casas in sequence.

Move to next casa by clicking this logo.

Four ac br, two on ground floor terrace,
Calle Santa Teresa # 6701, esq. (corner) Santa Isabel (calle 67) in center near Parque Libertad. Tel. (45) 24-27-61 Cellular 52 90 21 68

LA VILLA SOÑADA © sogestour

Up two floors, two ac bedrooms, shared bath
Calle 79 (Contreras or Bonifacio Byrne) #28201, apt. 3, e/282 y 288 in center near Parque Libertad. Tel. (45) 24-30-90 Cellular 52 81 49 66

EVELIO y ISEL © sogestour

Upstairs, three ac br's, ensuites, roof terrace
Calle 83 (Milanes) # 29008, entre Santa Teresita (209) y Zaragosa (292), behind Parque Libertad. Tel. (45) 29-08-57

Ground, two aircon bedrooms, shared bath
Calle 83 (Milanes) # 29012 (upstairs), entre Santa Teresita (209) y Zaragosa (292), behind Parque Libertad. Tel. (45) 24-7810 cell 52 73 79 03


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One large aircon bedroom, meals; artist family
Calle 85 (de Medio) No. 28813, entre 292 (Manzaneda) y 294 (Zaragoza), in ciudad center near Parque Libertad. Tel. (45) 28-28-29

Upstairs, two ac br, ensuites
Linea Secunda (2da) # 15102, e/ Callejòn de Desamparados y Santa Isabel (calle 67), Calzada San Luis, in reparto Pueblo Nuevo, west of centre. Cell 52 78 04 15

Upper indep two-br apart, kitchen
Calle San Gabriel No. 7904, e/ Gumá y Contreras (calle 79 or Bonifacio Byrne) in the center, two blocks from Parque René Fraga. See town map here. Tel. (45) 28-47-20


One aircon bedroom, ensuite, parking
Calle 292 (Zaragoza) No 8304, entre 83 (Milanes) y 85 (de Medio), town centre, 100 m from Parque Libertad. Tel. (45) 24-34-33

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Large colonial, two ac bedrooms, private baths
Calle del Médio (calle 85) 29820, e/América (300) y dos de Mayo, in center near Parque Libertad. Tel (45) 24-37-63

Casa Hermanas Candales - Hostal Vanesa

One aircon bedroom, ensuite
Calle 266 (Navia) #4708, entre 47 (San Hipolito) y 49 (San Juan), reparto Versalles, 5 mins. from the Hershey train station. Tel. (45) 24-29-73

One aircon bedroom, ensuite
Calle Navia (266) #6323, e/ 69 y 270, reparto Versalles. Tel (45) 29-58-52 Cel 52 70 95 85

Six aircon bedrooms, ensuites
Calle Contreras (79) #27608, e/ Matanzas (280) y Callejon Madan (276). @ Tel (45)

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• from Canada and the USA : 011 53 (add phone # preceded by 45 for Matanzas) • from Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (add phone # preceded by 45 for Matanzas) ••• 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. OR 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.

Map bahia de Matanzas
Overlooking the bay, on the way to the river cruise on rio Canimar, the caves at Bellamar, the airport and the peninsula de Hicacos (Varadero, 19 miles east), the following casas are away from the town center in the repartos (burroughs) Garcia, Playa and Peñas Altas. From their balconies, they offer views of the majestic bahia de Matanzas and are close to local beaches Playa El Mamey and Playa Buey Vaca.
Restaurante Teni, seaside, on the corner of calles 129 and 224 is open 10am-11:30pm and offers great criolla Cuban cuisine all included for 5cuc.
Reparto Playa © Marc on Picasa
Playa Buey Vaca © Miguel Campos, pbase

Private ground floor, two br's, shared bath
Calle 129 (General Betancourt) #21604, e/ Doblada (216) y Bajada (218) on the bayside boulevard in reparto Playa. Tel. (45) 28-56-03


Ground floor ac bedroom, ensuite, patio
Calle 129 (General Betancourt) #22014 e/ 220 (Plumero) y 222, in reparto Playa. Tél. (45) 26-1653

Upstairs, one ac br, ensuite, terraces
Calle 129 (General Betancourt) #22402 e/ 224 y 226 in reparto Playa. Tel. (45) 26-17-89

One aircon bedroom, ensuite, terrace
Calle 129 (General Betancourt) #21003 e/ 210 y 212, in reparto Playa. Tel. (45) 24-76-10

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Ground floor aircon bedroom, ensuite bath
Calle 129 (General Betancourt) #21808, e/ 218 (Doblada) y 220 (Plumero) in reparto Playa. Tel. (45) 26-25-48

Complete two-bedroom casa, large garden
Calle 135 #14001 e/ 140 y 142, reparto Reynold García at one end of reparto Playa, 200m from a beach. Cel 54 17 37 64

One aircon br, ensuite, meals, bayside
Calle 127 # 21011 e/ 210 y 212, in reparto Playa. Tel. (45) 26-2176

www.particuba.net •|• Matanzas • VILLA LILA

Two ac br in main house + independent apart
Calle 127 #20809, e/ 208 y 210, in reparto Playa. Tel (45) 28-8132 Cel 52 96 98 94

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Two ac br's, ensuite baths, meals, view
Calle 194 #12501 e/ 125 (Santa Rita) y 129 (General Betancourt) in reparto Peñas Altas. Tel. (45) 26-24-33 or cell 52 68 32 95

Villa Octavio, reparto Peñas Altas

Upstairs apart, kitchen, two br', shared bath
Calzada Esteban 27618, e/ San Ambrocio y San Vicente, in reparto Pueblo Nuevo, west of centre near the Viazul bus terminal. Tel. (45) 20-11-35 cell 52 91 66 61

One ac br, ensuite, meals, 200m from bahia
Calle 190. #14700, entre 147 y 149 in reparto Peñas Altas. Tel. (45) 27-14-70 or cell 53 87 30 72

In the recent editions of : Footprint (FH), Frommers EasyGuide (FG), GéoGuide (GG), Guides Gallimard (NG), Le Routard (LR), Lonely Planet (LP), Michelin (MC), Moon Handbook (MH), Nelles Verlag (NV), Petit Futé (PF) and Rough Guide (RG)
FH : Casa Rabelo, Hostal Alma, Hostal Azul, Hostal Villa Mar, Villa Costa Azul ::: FG : Hostal Alma ::: GG : Hostal Alma, Hostal Azul ::: LP : Hostal Azul, Villa Soñada, Hostal Rio, Evelio e Isel, Hostal Alma ::: LR : Hostal Alma, Hostal Azul, Roberto y Margarita ::: MC : Hostal Rey, Hostal Azul, Hostal Alma ::: MH : Hostal Alma, Hostal Azul, Roberto y Margarita, Evelio e Isel, Ana Beatriz, Hostal Villa Mar ::: NG : Hostal Alma, Hostal Azul ::: NV : Paraiso Diaz ::: PF : Maria y Jesus, Martica, Paraiso Dias Duque, Alma, Azul, Rey ::: RG : Hostal Alma, Roberto y Margarita, Mi Casita del Medio 150118

Content & photos © sogestour

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Updated 15.01.2018