Quote — Be Yourself Naht Hanh

La Isla de Cuba © sogestour
One of many recently-renovated buildings in town © sogestour •]• Cruising down the Canimar river is a must buzz © Miguel Campos
Centro historico + repartos
On the bay, near beaches

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
Arcos de Canasi, 38
Cardenas, 51
Cienfuegos, 197
Colón, 89
Guama, 109
Guanabo, 76
Hershey, 57
Holguin, 671
Jaguey Grande, 90
Jaruco, 69

Jovellanos, 54
La Teja, 112
La Habana, 100
Las Tunas, 594
Pinar del Rio, 296
Playa Giron, 150
Playa Larga, 120
San Miguel de Los Baños, 38
Santa Clara, 199
Santiago, 797
Trinidad, 271
Union de Reyes, 50
Varadero, 35


Eliado Rivadulla [1953-2011]
The city with the most beautiful scenery - Visit us - Logo from yesteryear
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

Get a wi-fi scratch card at Telepunto (Etecsa) on calle Jovellanos, corner (esquina) Milanés and use it (1cuc/hour) at any of the following spots in and around Matanzas (or elsewhere on the island) : Paseo Marti + Parque La Libertad + Parque Catedral + Parque Guanima + Parque La Estrella + Parque Naranjal + Parque Peñas Altas + Parque René Fraga + Parque Recreativo Monserrate + Asociación Cultural Artesanos + Centro Restaurant Bar Cafetería Plaza La Vigía + Centro de Artes Escénicas + Centro tecnologico Narvaez + Centro tecnologico Universidad Camilo Cienfuegos + Instituto de Belleza + Sala de Turismo Hospital Faustino Perez + Universidad de Ciencias Médicas

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The town boasts 20 architectural spots - Click on !
The town boasts 20 architectural spots - Click on !

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

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

Villa Sonada © sogestour
Areas of discovery in unspoilt nature abound - west of town. Click for maps & details - en español © norfipc

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

Corner of cathedral. © sogestour
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

Chevy Bel Air crossing one of the city's bridges with the Versalles church in background © claire boobbyer - wanderlust

The rustic charm has won Imelda over : she writes lovingly about Matanzas ... on click © imelda, themixedculture dot com


Viazul Bus arriving twice per day from Havana
leaving LaHab 08h30 arr here 10h35 or leaving Havana 16h40 arr 18h45 7
Euros p.p. Credit Card, website booking only - these guaguas making 10 further stops crossing the island to Santiago - Return leaving Matanzas 14h arr LaHab 15h50 and 17h05 arr LaHab 18h55.

Terminal located on Calzada de Esteban in Pueblo Nuevo LOOK FOR taxi hustlers; casa owners & jiniteros + Bus company personnel underpaid and "ill-informed" ("Internet down", bagage surchages, wheeling & dealing 24/7) tel (45) 29-14-73 updated 22 Jan 24 Good Luck
Hershey Train, famous electric tren
From Habana's Casablanca station in La Regla across the bay from Habana Vieja. Departs daily at
4h45 (arr here 08h07), 12h21 (arr here 15h41), 16h35 (arr here 20h19) for 93 km and 3 or 4 hours of pleasure with 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 : 04h39 (arr 08h01), 12h09 (arr 15h31), 16h25 (arr 19h49) 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
Life's a (local) beach

Playa El Tenis

Playa Buey Vaca
6,6 km -
Itin here

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 busses (#16, #17 or #20) 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 Tenis, 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
7.6km -
Itin here

Playa Los Pinitos

Playa de Allende
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El Rio Canimar © norfipc.com

Mirador de Bacunayagua © norfipc.com

Sierra de Camarones © norfipc.com


Caverna de Santa Catalina (21 km-Itin) : unique formation of a giant mushroom Lomas de Galindo (15 km-Itin) + Los Arcos de Canasi (26 km-Itin) + Los valles de Picadura (35 km-Itin) + El Pan de Matanzas (21 km-Itin) + El valle de Rio Yumuri (3,4 km-Itin) + Laguna de Maya + Cuevas de Bellamar (5,2 km-Itin) : can all be found on the norfipc page (Español) here.

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 (19km-Itin) 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 (10km-Itin) Take a local guagua (bus) leaving from the cathedral to the starting point at Canimar Abajo 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 de Bellamar (5km-Itin) : ranchon, meals.

• Mirador of the Bacunayagua bridge (20km-Itin) : restaurant, artisan work, superb views Rio Canimar (10km-Itin) : 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

Most of these casas are in
Centro Historico | Architecture and Landscape Guide | Junta de Andalucia - Provincia de Matanzas

• 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 Teresita (290) # 6701, esquina (corner) Santa Isabel (calle 67), 5 blocks from central Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel. (45) 24-27-61 Cel 52 90 21 68

LA VILLA SOÑADA © sogestour

Two ac bedrooms, ensuites, patio, parking
Calle 292 (Zaragoza) 8304, entre 83 (Milanes) y 85 (Medio), town centre, 100 m from Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel. (45) 24-34-33 cel 53 36 06 92

Upstairs, three ac br's, ensuites, roof terrace
Calle 83 (Milanes) # 29008, entre Santa Teresita (290) y Zaragosa (292), behind Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel. (45) 29-08-57

Ground floor, two ac br's, ensuites, patio
Calle 83 (Milanes) # 29012 (upstairs), entre Santa Teresita (290) y Zaragosa (292), behind Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel. (45) 24-7810 cell 52 73 79 03

Ground floor, two ac br's, ensuites, patio
Calle 91 (Rio) # 29018, e/ 290 (Teresita) y 292 (Zaragoza), behind Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel. (45) 24-2761

Two ac bedrooms, ensuites, patio
Calle 294 (Manzaneda) 7909, e/ Milanes y Contreras (calle 79, or Bonifacio Byrne), town centre, two blocks from Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel. (45) 24-3433 Cel 53 36 06 92 or 58 11 56 56

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One large aircon bedroom, meals; artist family
Calle 85 (Medio) 28813 (altos, upstairs), e/ 288 (Ayuntamiento) y 290 (Santa Teresita), in ciudad center near Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel. (45) 28-28-29

Upstairs indep two-br apart, kitchen
Calle San Gabriel (308) 7904, e/ Gumá (81) y main street Contreras (79 or Bonifacio Byrne) in the center, two blocks from Parque René Fraga. Tel. (45) 28-47-20


Up two floors, two ac bedrooms, ensuites
Calle 79 (Contreras or Bonifacio Byrne) #28201, apt. 3, e/ 282 (Jovellanos) y 288 (Ayuntamiento) in center near Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel. (45) 24-30-90 cel 52 81 49 66

EVELIO y ISEL © sogestour
Large colonial, two ac bedrooms, private baths
Calle 85 (del Médio) 29820, e/ 300 (América) y 298 (dos de Mayo), in center near Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel (45) 24-37-63

Casa Hermanas Candales - Hostal Vanesa
One aircon bedroom, ensuite
Calle 95 (Cuba) 29402, e/ 294 (Manzaneda) y 298 (Dos de Mayo) town center, 100m from central Parque de la Libertad (Plaza del Rey, de Armas). Tel. (45) 24-36-34 cel 52 73 78 38


Six aircon bedrooms, ensuites
Calle 79 (Contreras or Bonifacio Byrne) #27608, e/ 280 (Matanzas) y 276 (Callejon Madan), town center, two blocks from the Cathedral. @ Tel (45)


repartos PUEBLO NUEVO & VERSALLES///////////////////////Top of page
Upstairs, two ac br, ensuites
Linea (300) 15102, e/ Desamparado y Santa Isabel via Calzada San Luis (298), in reparto Pueblo Nuevo, south of centre, steps from Palmar de Junco stadium. Cell 52 78 04 15

One aircon bedroom, ensuite
Calle 299 (Navia) #6323, e/ 69 (Arostegui) y 270 (Vera), between Iglesia San Pedro and Teatro Atenas in reparto Versalles. Tel (45) 29-58-52 Cel 52 70 95 85

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

Upstairs apart, kitchen, two br's, 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


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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) Playa and Peñas Altas. From their balconies, they offer views of the majestic bahia de Matanzas and are close to local beaches El Mamey, El Tenis, El Bahia and Playa Buey Vaca.
Reparto Playa © Marc on Picasa
The Playa reparto is on the bay © marc, picasa
Playa Buey Vaca © Miguel Campos, pbaseReparto Peñas Altas is also bay side © unk

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


Upstairs, one ac br, ensuite, terraces
Calle 129 (General Betancourt) #22402 e/ 224 (Cerrada) y 226, near Playa El Tenis on the boulevard going to Varadero in reparto Playa. Tel. (45) 26-17-89

One aircon bedroom, ensuite, terrace
Calle 129 (General Betancourt) #21003 e/ 210 (Abra) y 212, 100 m from Playa de Allende in reparto Playa. Tel. (45) 24-76-10

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

www.particuba.net •|• Matanzas • VILLA LILA
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Two ac br in main house + independent apart
Calle 127 (Primera) #20809, e/ 208 (San Miguel) y 210 (Abra), steps from Playa de Allende in reparto Playa. Tel (45) 28-8132 Cel 52 96 98 94

One ac br, ensuite, meals, 200m from bahia
Calle 190 #14700, e/ 147 y 149, 200 m from playa El Bahia, facing Omnibus bus terminal in reparto Peñas Altas. Tel. (45) 27-14-70 or cell 53 87 30 72

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

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

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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), Rough Guide (RG) and web site Trip Advisor (TA)
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 ::: TA Specialty Lodging (50+Reviews) : Villa Soñada, Idael y Dania, Villa Costa Azul, Las Terrazas, Hostal Alma, Casa Lola TA Quality-Price (25+Reviews) : Casa Rabelo, Doña Edita, Guayasamin, Hostal Azul, Casa Manzaneda, Villa Encanto, Casa Marylin 010618



Content & photos © sogestour

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Updated 22.01.2024