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GatorGirl57

Cienfuegos or Trinidad and Tour Suggestions

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Going to Cienfuegos on a cruise in November. Having a hard time finding info. Could anyone share what they did? Hoping not to book something through the ship. Also trying to decide if I should try to go to Trinidad instead, and if so, any tour guide suggestions? Thanks so much!

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Our cruise had limited time in Cienfuegos (2-8 p.m.) We did a ship's excursion. It took us to Parque José Martí, into Teatro Terry Tomás for a brief choir concert, then a busride down to La Punta, a resort area, back up Paseo el Prado, a shopping boulevard, got off the bus, walked back to Parque José Martí, where we were set loose for an hour. We walked down Santa Isabel to the waterfront. Santa Isabel was a blocked off street market with everything from the usual souvenirs to original art. At the waterfront was an open air restaurant/bar with music. After regrouping at the park we boarded the bus and returned.

 

If I had it to do over again, I would skip the tour and take a taxi to Parque José Martí. You could easily walk it if you wanted to, about 12 minutes. A cab ride to La Punta might be interesting. I'd spend time on Santa Isabel and hang out at the waterfront bar.

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Cienfuegos was my favorite place in Cuba! We hired a private car/driver & guide through Fernando Mora. We went to some places that the guide suggested, but mostly made our own itinerary. It was fantastic!!

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Cienfuegos was my favorite place in Cuba! We hired a private car/driver & guide through Fernando Mora. We went to some places that the guide suggested, but mostly made our own itinerary. It was fantastic!!

 

Did you hire the guide in advance or when you arrived? How much was it? Thanks!!

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Cienfuegos was my favorite place in Cuba! We hired a private car/driver & guide through Fernando Mora. We went to some places that the guide suggested, but mostly made our own itinerary. It was fantastic!!

 

What itinerary did you plan for this port? Thanks

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We made a reservation ahead of time with Fernando Mora (fernando8205 at nauta dot cu). We booked a car, driver and guide for the entire day....this cost $50pp. Our guide was Beatriz (fantastic!!)....she is a college graduate and speaks 4 languages, fluent in English with light accent. She was so fun and flexible - mixed her itinerary with our wishes for a great day!

 

The day started by the driver picking us up in a classic car (in good shape) just outside the port gate. We picked up Beatriz and first went out to the lovely Punta Gorda area and walked down a street lined with nice homes facing the ocean. We could see our ship and another one too. We visited the Palacio de Valle in the same neighborhood - what a gorgeous former palace that's now a restaurant. We toured through it then went up to the rooftop and had a soda pop.

 

Next we drove over to a city park/square and visited a church and saw the Teatro Tomas Terry. We then drove out to the Dolphinarium and watched a dolphin show. It was very nice and the seats were covered to keep the sun off us. This was our request to visit and entrance cost $10pp.

 

We wanted to go to a local beauty salon, so Beatriz took us to a salon owned by her friend. It was so fun and no tourists anywhere in sight. We got our hair trimmed by a really good hairdresser. They only charge $3 each for a cut!! We felt like that was a steal so we each tipped him $7. He was so grateful that he had tears in his eyes. Our car and driver left so we walked the rest of the time.

 

After the salon, we walked about 3 blocks to a little paladar for lunch. Great food....we had a dip with crackers - very good. I had creole shrimp (about 20 of them!), Cuban rice, cucumber and tomato salad, and homemade flan. Umm. Meal cost $10.

 

We then walked down to the large boulevard in downtown, stopping at small shops and flea markets along the way. We wanted rum and cigars so went into a shop with a huge selection. Rum was cheap but cigars cost more.

 

Walked further down the street and went into the beautiful old Hotel La Union. Took a tour, then had a Cuban coffee (latte) on the rooftop terrace. Great views over the city and our ship. Caught a taxi that took Beatriz home and us back to the ship. It was a great day and my favorite of the 4 days in Cuba. We were so happy that we could have a custom made tour that included things we wanted to do.

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The cruise on Royal Caribbean has a tender stop at Cienfuegos.

 

We are considering two tours that are being offered by the ship:

 

First one has highlights of:

Anastasio Cardenas: Learn about Cuba's cigar history and tobacco processing traditions while touring this prominent tobacco factory's facility.

Cuban culture: Enjoy lunch and cocktail tastings, plus an artistic show by locals and the beauty of Palacio de Valle.

Cienfuegos: Follow your guide on foot through Jose Marti Park past Tomas Terry Theater and Casa del Fundador for shopping

 

The other tour called Culture and Beauty of Cienfuegos lists highlights as:

El Nicho: A peaceful trek along forest trails leads to a powerful waterfall and natural lagoons.

San Juan Peak: Relish panoramic views of nature from the highest point in the Sierra del Escambray Mountains.

Cultural immersion: Performances and paintings await you at Jobero Verde Community Project, while Creole dishes are served for lunch

 

Anyone been on either of these?

Any thoughts?

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Did you hire the guide in advance or when you arrived? How much was it? Thanks!!

 

We are also going in November (11/23 in Cienfuegos). We asked FerTours about Havana and recommendations for Santiago & Cienfuegos (doing B2B),and they also do Cienfuegos/Trinidad. We will be there from 7am-5pm. Picking us up at 8am, driving to Trinidad first (over 1 hr drive). Walking tour, drink, lunch (own cost), flea market, then back to Cienfuegos for more tour. Hitting all the highlight on other tours, but completely customized. Cost- for 6 is 400 cuc, in comfortable van. Wanted to finish up closer to the ship. I get nervous when I have a long drive back in case something happens....

 

FerTours seems a bit higher then others, but very good response. I think they are viator in that they put the tour guides & cruisers together.

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We made a reservation ahead of time with Fernando Mora (fernando8205 at nauta dot cu). We booked a car, driver and guide for the entire day....this cost $50pp. Our guide was Beatriz (fantastic!!)....she is a college graduate and speaks 4 languages, fluent in English with light accent. She was so fun and flexible - mixed her itinerary with our wishes for a great day!

 

The day started by the driver picking us up in a classic car (in good shape) just outside the port gate. We picked up Beatriz and first went out to the lovely Punta Gorda area and walked down a street lined with nice homes facing the ocean. We could see our ship and another one too. We visited the Palacio de Valle in the same neighborhood - what a gorgeous former palace that's now a restaurant. We toured through it then went up to the rooftop and had a soda pop.

 

Next we drove over to a city park/square and visited a church and saw the Teatro Tomas Terry. We then drove out to the Dolphinarium and watched a dolphin show. It was very nice and the seats were covered to keep the sun off us. This was our request to visit and entrance cost $10pp.

 

We wanted to go to a local beauty salon, so Beatriz took us to a salon owned by her friend. It was so fun and no tourists anywhere in sight. We got our hair trimmed by a really good hairdresser. They only charge $3 each for a cut!! We felt like that was a steal so we each tipped him $7. He was so grateful that he had tears in his eyes. Our car and driver left so we walked the rest of the time.

 

After the salon, we walked about 3 blocks to a little paladar for lunch. Great food....we had a dip with crackers - very good. I had creole shrimp (about 20 of them!), Cuban rice, cucumber and tomato salad, and homemade flan. Umm. Meal cost $10.

 

We then walked down to the large boulevard in downtown, stopping at small shops and flea markets along the way. We wanted rum and cigars so went into a shop with a huge selection. Rum was cheap but cigars cost more.

 

Walked further down the street and went into the beautiful old Hotel La Union. Took a tour, then had a Cuban coffee (latte) on the rooftop terrace. Great views over the city and our ship. Caught a taxi that took Beatriz home and us back to the ship. It was a great day and my favorite of the 4 days in Cuba. We were so happy that we could have a custom made tour that included things we wanted to do.

Thanks for this great review. I've been looking for suggestions for our visit on Sirena this October so hopefully Fernando will have something available.

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Had a fantastic day in Cienfuegos Cuba. We hired  Alfredo Nodal, an English speaking Pedi cab driver  and had the opportunity to see everything and more. His english is excellent, he is a gentleman, and provided history of the entire area. We went to a park in Punta Gorda, driving by some beautiful seaside homes, then to the Villeje Palacio where we toured the palace, enjoyed adult beverages and a concert on the rooftop. We saw the University, Hospital, the BaseBall Stadium where we watching the cienfuegos elephants warming up, then by a train station through local neighbor hoods seeing  grocery stores, bakeries, and several schools.  We asked to go to an art gallery and he brought us to the home of Hermes Santiago, an amazing Cuban artist whose family opened their home and gave us a tour of the gallery. We traveled through the marketplace and Jose Marti square seeing the Grand Cathedral and the gorgeous teatro. The pedicab ride was so enjoyable we could get on and off where we liked, and were very comfortable, sitting in shade. We cannot recommend Alfredo enough...below is his email address if you are visiting and want to connect with him ahead of time to reserve your tour. You will not be disappointed.  Alfredo certainly touched our hearts and we truly loved  learning about Cienfuegos with him as our guide. We learned the highlights, the history and saw the reality. Here is Alfredo's contact information

alfredonodal84@gmail.com

 

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