Located in the center of Cuba, about 500 km east of Havana, Camagüey is the perfect stopover for those who want to discover a less touristy Cuba.
On the program: stroll through the colonial streets of the city center, exploration of Camagüey’s architectural heritage and gastronomic dinner on the terrace.
Follow the guide!
Camagüey in a few words
Camagüey is the country’s third largest city (with some 300,000 inhabitants) and is located in the province of the same name.
Located in the center of Cuba, it is the country’s largest province.
Nicknamed “the city of churches”, Camaguey is full of pastel-colored religious and colonial buildings.
Its labyrinthine colonial downtown area and its small streets are also an invitation to stroll.
Camaguey: a little history
Camaguey was one of the first seven cities founded by the Spanish in Cuba.
It was originally called Santa María del Puerto de Príncipe.
It was originally built on the northern coast of the island and was gradually moved to its current location to escape the attacks of the pirates who were scouring the Caribbean at the time (among them James of Sores, the exterminating angel).
It is also for this reason that it would have been built according to this sinuous plan.
Camaguey has always been against the current of the rest of the island.
When Cuba lives on the culture of the sugar cane, the city chooses to dedicate itself to the bovine breeding.
Even today, Camaguey is a strong leader in front of Havana and Santiago de Cuba.
Getting to Camaguey
Camaguey is very well connected to the rest of the country.
Viazul buses serve Camaguey from most of the country’s major cities.
Six buses to Camaguey leave daily from Havana.
You will have to be patient, because the trip is long! Count 33 CUC for a 9-hour drive.
However, most tourists go to Camaguey from Trinidad or Santa Clara.
The bus ride from both cities is 4.5 hours (15 CUC).
Taxis collectivos also make the trip.
From Trinidad, allow about 4 hours (30 CUC).
Camagüey also has its own airport, the Ignacio Agramonte International Airport.
Cubana offers daily flights from Havana for 102 CUC.
What to see in Camaguey
One day is more than enough to visit Camaguey.
To discover the city, there is nothing better than to stroll quietly through its labyrinthine streets.
On the way, don’t miss to stop at the many points of interest that Camaguey has to offer.
Plaza San Juan de Dios
In the heart of the historic center of Camaguey, the Plaza San Juan de Dios is a magnificent colonial square.
It is one of the best preserved and best known squares on the island.
The square was built in 1728, and it was here that the body of the independence hero Ignacio Agramonte was transported upon his death.
The Hospital de San Juan de Dios and the church of the same name, where the remains of Agramonte rest today, border the Plaza San Juan de Dios.
Climb up the bell tower for a breathtaking view of the old center of Camagüey.
Parque Agramonte is named after the independence leader Ignacio Agramonte, whose bronze and granite statue stands in the middle of the square.
An oasis of tranquility in the heart of Camaguey, the park invites you to take a break in the shade of its four palm trees, which refer to the four Cubans executed for their participation in the 1851 uprising in the city.
Contemporary art lovers should visit the Casa del Arte Jover, where painters Joel Jover and Ileana Sánchez exhibit their work.
Also check out the beautiful blue and white Moorish façade of the Casa de la Diversidad.
Cathedral Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria
It is also on the Parque Agramonte that you will find the Cathedral Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria
Dedicated to the Patron Saint of Camagüey, the Virgin of Candlemas, this baroque cathedral was rebuilt in 1864 on the site of an old chapel.
It was restored on the occasion of the visit of Pope John Paul II, in 1998.
You can go up to the bell tower for 1 CUC.
Casa de la Trova
Also located on Parque Agramonte, La Casa de la Trova is a must for music lovers.
It invites strollers to relax to the sound of some Cuban music.
Renowned artists perform there regularly.
In the evening, you can even get into a dance session!
Plaza del Carmen
Recently completely restored, the Plaza del Carmen is a well deserved break, a few steps away from the República Avenue.
You can admire statues of the inhabitants of the city, vacant at their occupations, as well as tinajones, large earthenware jars, typical of Camagüey.
Plaza de la Soledad and Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
The pretty Plaza de la Soledad is located at the corner of Agramonte and Republica Streets.
It is especially for the beautiful Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, which proudly stands with its ochre facade above the city center, that the plaza is worth a visit.
The church was built in the 18th century and has become a symbol of Camaguey.
Plaza de los Trabajadores
To admire the monumental face of Che on the façade of a building (which you will find on most of the postcards of Camagüey), go to the Plaza de los Trabajadores.
This is also where you will find the Casa Natal de Ignacio Agramonte, retracing the history of the independence hero, and the Iglesia y Convento Nuestra Señora de la Merced, which is worth a look.
To admire the Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, go to Parque Martí.
With its neo-Gothic style, very rare in Cuba, the church makes the square look like a small Barcelona.
The Casino Campestre is the largest urban park in Cuba. It is a meeting place for the people of Camagüey. Many cultural events are held here.
There is a baseball field, a soccer field and athletic tracks. Statues of all kinds are also scattered throughout the park.
Do not miss the arbour at the entrance: it was built in honor of the two aviators who made thefirst direct flight between Camaguey and Seville in 1933.
Head 110 km northeast of Camagüey to find the seaside resort of Santa Lucía.
With its 20 km of beaches, Santa Lucía has no reason to be ashamed of Varadero, its great competitor.
Be warned, this is a far cry from the intimate atmosphere of Cayo Levisa: the big resorts follow each other and look the same.
But it’s a good opportunity to do some diving and to eat on the beach, with your toes in a fan!
Accommodations in Camagüey
Are you looking for an accommodation in Camaguey?
We have some good addresses to suggest you.
If you have a small budget, we recommend you :
- The Casa Guerra
- The Casa Andres
- The Hostal Los Torralbo
If your budget is less tight, we recommend the Hotel E El Marques: it is ideally located in a nice colonial building in the center of Camaguey, on Parque Agramonte.
Restaurants in Camaguey
You will soon realize that Cuba is not exactly a paradise for gourmets!
So to cut the monotony of the endless chicken cutlets, we have found two addresses in Camaguey that we hope you will tell us about!
Go to Plaza San Juan de Dios, where you will find Restaurante 1800.
The food is very good and the service is very nice.
The prices are still quite reasonable: 30-35 CUC for two for mojitos, tapas, main dish and a little tea to digest (yes, we enjoyed ourselves!).
The Café Ciudad is another very good address located on the Parque Agramonte.
The restaurant is located in a pretty colonial house, with a small patio.
We recommend you the fish and shrimps brochettes: a delight! To eat well is the beginning of happiness!
Bank & exchange offices :
- Banco de Crédito y Comercio: at the corner of Avenida Agramonte and Avenida Cisneros
- Banco Financiero Internacional: 21 Independencia
- Cadeca: Calle Republica, between Santa Rita and Oscar Primelles
- Bus station: Carretera Central
Travel / Excursion Agencies:
- Infotur: Ignacio Agramonte
- Cubanacan: Maceo #67, in the Gran Hotel
- Etecsa: Republica, between San Martin and Jose Jamon Silva