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The name means pine buff by the river. Rio Guama, that is. Founded in 1774, its layout is somewhat confusing to first-time visitors.
The town, gateway of the famous Vuelta Abajo, the large tobacco region of Cuba, has more trees than the average large Cuban city. Its colonial and neo-classical buildings are still standing and kept in shape.
With its university and hospitals, it is the bustling centre of the west of the country (Occidente or Oeste) and the capital of its cigar industry.
Nearby, the old Hacienda Cortina is now a national park (La Guira) with some lovely sculptures still remaining amongst the ruins of what was a huge farm owned by José Manuel Cortina García (1880-1970), once manager of three sugar mills and longtime politician under three presidents : Zayas, Gomez and Batista.
An able public speaker, Garcia wrote a law protecting workers and was the first international promoter of the Cuban cigar industry.
POPULATION 191,577 (2007) in township (Municipio)
• Catedral de San Rosendo
• Cueva de Los Portales
• Fabrica de Bebidas Casa Garay
• Fábrica de Tabacos Francisco Donatién
• Museo de Ciencias Naturales Sandalio de Noda, located in the Palacio Guash
• Museo Provincial de Historia
• Teatro José Jacinto Milanés - one of the oldest in Latin America, built in 1839 in neoclassic style, renovated and reopened in December 2006; 540 seats, café for 120 spectators, patio : a must-see
• Jardin Botanico (65 acres), the west's largest botanical gardens
Casa Don Miguel, El Méson (best in town : 4 tables, full meals 5-6cuc), Nuestra Casa, Rodrigo
La Casona, La Taberna, Mar Init, Rumayor
Bailén (44 km, not worth it), Boca de Galafre (39), Las Tumbas (196), Maria La Gorda (141)
Since July 2015, wifi for 2cuc/hour is available at Parque Independencia and Parque Roberto Amaran with purchase of a Nauta temporary WIFI_Etecsa account for visitors' smartphone or tablet from the same address as regular Internet service daily 8h30-19h30 at Etecsa-Nauta main office on Gerardo Medina corner of Juan Gualberto Gómez; (Cubans can purchase a permanent wi-fi connection account for their Nauta cell); Radio Guama 1080AM, 90,2FM, Rumbos 48 51-33, Car rentals Havanautos 48 77-4989, Transtur 48 77-8278
HOLY SMOKES : TOP RANKED CIGARS
According to Cigar Aficionado's annual rankings of 2015 : Cuba's Ramon Allones Specially Selected is rated number 2 [€18,6 per cigar], Bolivar Belicoso Fino number 9 [€21] and the Trinidad Vigia, rated number 14 [€21] are the top three Cuban cigars; Nicaragua seems to have taken over the rankings...
Baseball : Estadio Capitán San Luis (2010-2011 schedule here), Cabaret El Patio, Casa de la Musica, Cine Praga, Disco Azul, Rumayor, Teatro Lirico Ernesto Lecuona
Bus Viazul : see link above or below. Tel. (48) 75-0877 or 2571 Terminal is located at Juan Gualberto Gómez No. 14 ::: Trains from La Habana (see link above) "El Lechero" (the Milk Run #225) leaves La Habana at 22h05 every 2nd day arriving here at 03h50; returns (#224) leaves here at 09h45 arriving Havana at 15h30 ::: Local bus to Viñales (4x day)
Twice per day, a Viazul bus goes to and from Havana to Viñales stopping in Pinar del Rio. Call it Ruta 10 (Roota Diez) Click for sked, Fred.
Celia Cruz [1924-2003] sings Me Voy a Pinar del Rio accompanied by her band La Sonora Matancera.
Parque del Bosque, green core of the city, planned in the 70's by architects Roges & Monteserin © unk, todoporpinar delrio.org •|• Corner Marti and Isabel Rubio, what used to be Hotel El Globo © sogestour
Parque Gerardo Medina in town © sogestour •|• About 40k away, Hacienda Cortina turned into Parque La Guira, spreading over 22,000 hectares
Cayo Levisa, tiny one-hotel & lovely-beached island (key) off the coast at Palma Rubia, 75 km away •|• Guahanacabibes, the island's extreme west (95 km away) includes Maria La Gorda, scuba diving resort © partwish, picasa
Located between the towns of San Juan y Martinez and San Luis, Finca El Pinar is a must-see : largest tobacco plantation in Cuba. Open 9-17h, Tel. (87) 97 470 © pascalejeanpaul
Rococo-style Palacio Guash, site of Museo de Ciencias © cubarte •|• Teatro Milanes, renovated and reopened in December 2006 © cubarte
After a year of hard work and the installation of 12,000 panels, the province produced (in May 2015) its first megawatt of solar energy, thereby avoiding the pollution from 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide © ain
"The bueys are slow but the earth is patient". So goes the old Vietnamese saying; no doubt Pinareños think the same. Source : villa morua, habana vieja
Located 17 km south of San Juan y Martinez (cigar capital of Cuba), the long and wide beach of Boca de Galafre (and its neighbour to the west, Playa Bailen) are the closest accessible stretch of sand and they have been filled to the brim with Pinarenos every summer since the late Fifties, albeit totally deserted in the winter. Some travelers will rent a "summer beach cottage" from locals to rough it "a lo Cubano". © radio guama
"You have to practice what you preach", famous words still ringing true today. The quote is from Isabel Rubio Diaz ("Captain of the West") was born on July 8, 1837, in Paso Real de Guane in Pinar del Río province. She was the mother of Colonel Modesto Gomez Rubio. From 1882 his home was a clandestine headquarters of the Cuban separatists aiming to get Cuba's sovereignty back. In Guane, Isabel set up blood clinics, one of which Maceo visited in January 1896, the day he was confirmed in his new post as captain. For 58 years, she ran a mobile clinic which had a 150-km itinerary in the province.
• Finca El Pinar of world-famous tobacco grower Alejandro Robaina and family since 1845. In San Luis, 12 km west and then 2 km south of highway. Just ask the way. 5cuc 40-min. tour. (48) 79-7470; MonSat. 10 am5 pm) • Parque Nacional La Guira (54,000 acres of wilderness, heaven for bird watchers) • Peninsula Guanahacabibes (6 syllables, 294,000 acres, Tel. 48 77-2232) our page here • Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra del Rosario (65,942 acres, Las Terrazas, Tel. 48 77-8726) • Cayo Levisa (key off Palma Rubia : scuba and sun) • Maria La Gorda (152km west of here, scuba, 30 sites, expensive, tel. 48 77-1316) See map here • La Coloma (before Playa Bailen), fishing town on way to the San Felipe cayos : "adventure tours" through local Ecotur agency • Cabo de San Antonio : its wooden villas (75$ per night, double), marina, lighthouse, all in a Biosphere Reserve at the extreme west end of Cuba, some 200 km from here. Site
::: 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. ::: 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 ::: Please share your 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, 48) • From Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (add phone # preceded by the town's area code, 48) ••• 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.
UNA CASA COLONIAL
Three aircon bedrooms, ensuites, patio, jacuzzi
Calle Gerardo Medina 67, e/ Retiro (Isidro de Armas) y Isabel la Catolica (Adela Azcuy), true center of town. Tel. (48) 75-3173
One indep aircon bedroom, ensuite, Terrace
Calle Máximo Gómez 169A entre Comandante Pinares y Ciprian Valdez, facing the bishopry (the obispado). Tel. (48) 75-1308
|PENSION EL MORRO
One indep aircon bedroom, ensuite
Calle Adela Azcuy #46, e Colon y Ciprian Valdes Tel. (48) 77-4335 Cel. 52 74 72 48 @
One indep aircon bedroom, ensuite
Calle Maximo Gomez #161 e Raphael Ferro y Ciprian Valdes Tel. (48) 77-4335 Cel. 52 74 72 48 @
|RECOMMENDED BY PAPERBACK GUIDES
Lonely Planet (LP), Biblio Voyageur Gallimard (NG) and website Trip Advisor (TA)
::: LP : Terra Mar 1910, Pension El Moro, Gladys Cruz Hernandez ::: NG : Villa Colonial Jose Antonio Mena (Una Casa Colonial) ::: TA : Villa Manuela, Handy Santalla, La Nonna 10.01.18
Content & photos © sogestour