Jardin Botanico Soledad De Cienfuegos

One of Cienfuegos' most popular visitor attractions is the oldest Botanical Gardens in Cuba. Created as a research institute for the sugar cane industry, these vast gardens now boast around 2000 species of indigenous and foreign plants. It's a great place to come and relax and admire towering palms, beautiful orchids and the tranquillity of nature.

Cienfuegos' Jardin Botánico (Botanical Gardens) is one of Cuba's biggest garden complexes and a top visitor attraction of the city. It is Cuba's oldest Botanical Garden, having been founded in 1901. The gardens were established by Edwin Atkins, a US sugar cane entrepreneur, and were once managed by Harvard University and engaged in research to improve the sugar yield. Today, they are owned and managed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment. It covers a remarkable 94 hectares (232 acres), around 15km east of the city centre. The gardens have been classed as a National Monument since 1989.

An impressive biological collection

The variety of flora in the gardens is incredible - around 2000 species can be found here, compiled of 670 plant varieties and 125 plant families.

Because of the extensive collection of tropical plants and the way they have been planted, the gardens feel more like a natural forest than a cultivated park. One area comprises a 7-hectare forest reserve.

Particular highlights include the amphitheatre of bamboo, the palm selection, which extends to 325 species of palm tree and a stunning collection of 400 orchids species. Entrance to the park is via an avenue of Royal Palms, the Cuban national symbol.

As well as the flora, the gardens are home to many indigenous birds, reptiles and other fauna. The ornithology opportunities are excellent.

The gardens are also a site of scientific research to understand and preserve indigenous and foreign species. They also act as a seed bank and tree nursery.

Access

The gardens are open every day from 8am - 6pm. Last entry is at around 4:30pm. The entrance ticket costs $2.50 CUC, which includes the services of a guide. Guides are a necessity if you have a keen interest in the flora species. However, with a map, visitors can also wander freely.

There is no public transport passing the gardens. The easiest way to access it independently is by taxi.

A road crosses the gardens, at one end of which is a cafe and a shop. Maps of the gardens can be purchased here.

A visit to the Botanical Gardens is a great way to change gear during your trip in Cuba and relax for a couple of hours in verdant green surroundings.


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