Punta Gorda

This chic area of Cienfuegos is a great attraction for a seaside walk, a sunset cocktail or a swim in the clear, blue waters of the bay. There are also plenty of interesting buildings, a local market and modern restaurants and bars to visit. Come in the evening to join Cubans promenading with their lovers and families.

Cienfuegos sits on a peninsula in almost enclosed bay, the Bahía de Cienfuegos. Built on a grid system, the Paseo del Prado (also known as Street 37) is the principal street and runs north-south, for much of its route along the seafront.

On reaching Punta Gorda, it is clear to see that this is a neighbourhood for the wealthy. The views out across the bay from the waterfront, in particular from Streets 35 and 37, are stunning. It's no wonder that moneyed Cubans and entrepreneurs have selected these plots for their homes, hotels and restaurants.

A neighbourhood facing the sea

Because of its rich native ecosystem of trees, green spaces and beach, Punta Gorda is essentially Cienfuegos' "green lung". It is a popular area for strolling, people watching and relaxing. Swimmers can enjoy a natural environment and crystal clear waters. Punta Gorda is also known as "Oyster Beach". This mollusc thrives in the clear waters and is easily spotted while swimming or paddling.

Even if you choose not to get your toes wet, Punta Gorda offers plenty of activities and distractions. The local market is well-known and worth visiting. There are many beachfront hotels and restaurants where you can stop for a drink or a meal. The Hostal Palacio Azul is probably the grandest, and the Restaurante Villa Lagarto gets great reviews for its menu and service. You could easily while your time people-watching and admiring the views with other tourists and many locals, many of whom gather at the Centro Recreativo la Punta (The Point Recreation Centre), a green park with a gazebo and a bar - perfect for romantic liaisons and sundower cocktails at sunset.

At the end of Street 37, just before arriving at the tip of the peninsula, is the marvellously Palacio del Valle. Pop by to marvel at the many architectural styles which were combined in this impressive building. The view from the roof terrace is stunning and there are also refreshments available from a restaurant inside.

Access to Punta Gorda

The Punta Gorda peninsula lies to the south of central Cienfuegos. Leaving the hubbub of downtown Cienfuegos behind, the Malecón sea wall and promenade, which line Paseo del Prado, lead to Punta Gorda. The Malecón, long, straight and planted with tall palm-trees makes a pleasant walk (around 2km/1.2 miles) or taxi ride along the sea.

Punta Gorda is a great place to relax and enjoy the Caribbean climate and the sea air during your stay in Cienfuegos.

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