Ciego de Ávila is the flattest province in Cuba, never rising more than
50m above sea level. Although there are relatively few rivers running
through the province, the good underground irrigation network makes the
area fertile and productive; sugar cane and pineapple plantations are
the major local crops. Indeed, the province is famous for its pineapples
and frequent reference is made to this ‘queen of fruits’ here.
The province was once home to a large indigenous population and there
are several semi-preserved sites which are worth looking up. There are
also remnants of late 19th-century fortresses which were used to divide
up the island during the War of Independence.
Ciego de Ávila City:
The city, 460km east of Havana and 110km west of Camagüey, has developed
as something of an historical pit stop: in the 19th century, travellers
used it as an overnight watering hole before continuing on to the
islands of Trinidad and Hispaniola.
Interesting places to visit include Parque Martí and the Teatro
Principal, a 500-seat theatre slated for further restoration, a few
blocks away. The theatre was built by rich socialite Angela Hernandez
Viuda de Jimenez, who struggled to create a cultural Mecca in her
For those interested in the struggle to overthrow Batista, the Museo
Provincial on Calle José Antonio Echevarría, is worth a visit.
Meanwhile, some may find the Centro Provincial de Arte on Calle
Independencia appealing. The Casa de la Trova, Libertad No 130, can be
raucous and entertaining, depending on the night.
Traffic in town is largely horse-driven and the longest possible journey
via this local transport should only cost a few pesos. The town is
built on a strict grid system centered on Parque Martí, but there are a
few buildings of note: the most popular meeting place on the square is
the Casa de Agua (Water House), which serves free glasses of local
mineral water, as well as homemade refrescos (soft drinks) and fruit
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