It’s the capital and largest city of the province of Matanzas with a population of approximately 120,000 inhabitants. It’s located on the north shore of the island of Cuba, on all three sides of the Bay of Matanzas, approximately 40 km (25 mi) East of Jibacoa. A taxi ride from the Jibacoa resort to Matanzas City should be around 15-20 CUC (one way). Another way to visit the city is to join an organized tour.
Matanzas is also called the “City of Bridges” because of its 17 bridges that cross 3 rivers: Canimar, Yumuri and San Juan. The other nickname for this city is “The Athens of Cuba” because of its many poets and strong cultural life. Matanzas is also known as the birthplace of the music and dance traditions danzón and rumba.
Here are some of the most interesting tourist attractions in Matanzas:
- Cuevas de Bellamar (Bellamar Caves)
- Museo Historico Provincial Palacio de Junco (historical museum)
- Museo Farmaceutico “Le Tiolet” which is drugstore and chemists lab built in 1882 by French doctors, it’s still stocked with ancient drugs, utensils and porcelain medicine flasks, all preserved under glass on the store’s original shelves.
- Plaza de la Vigia (Vigia Square) where you can find the Teatro Sauto (Sauto Theatre), the Junco Palace and an exhibition of ancient fire-fighting equipment in the former military headquarters.
- Plaza de la Libertad (Liberty Square), surrounded by colonial architecture buildings from the 1800s including the Government House (1843).
- Museo Memorial “El Morillo”, a National Monument built in the 18th century.
- Castillo de San Severino, a large fortress from the early 1700s perched on the western side of the Bay of Matanzas.
- Monserrat Hermitage, from this building, built in 1875 one can enjoy the best views of the city and the Yumuri Valley.
Lily & Normand