Mar 02, 2018 - Harmony V

Today we enjoyed a full day in the beautiful coastal city of Cienfuegos, where we boarded Harmony V days ago. It is a very nice place and UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site; Cubans have recognized its value for a long time and call the city "the pearl of the south". We walked the busy streets around the downtown area, full of locals and their colorful carriages and carts. We peeked into several stores to look at some of the products for sale and get a glimpse of every day’s life of the "cienfuegueros", as the locals call themselves. At the Martí Square, which is considered the epicenter of social, political, and cultural life of Cienfuegos and the very site where the city was founded in the 1800´s, we learned about the magnificent buildings facing it including the Terry Theater, the Ferrer Palace, and the Cathedral.

After having walked around during the first part of the morning we had the privilege to attend to a private concert offered by the Orquesta de Cienfuegos band, whose members delighted us with almost one hour of wonderful Cuban music styles, including guaguancó, danzón, and son, among others.

We had lunch at a great restaurant named Villa Lagarto, located in the Punta Gorda district, and enjoyed the view of the bay while eating. From there we came back on board for a mandatory beauty sleep that didn't last long, because we had an appointment to watch a performance by a local group from Cienfuegos called Sonrisas de Colores (Colorful Smiles). They organize plays after school with young kids, ages 7 to 14, that dance and sing. We had a wonderful time and even joined them on stage. Seeing seven-year-old kids teaching seniors how to dance was a sight to behold. What a wonderful thing to see people dancing, hugging, and kissing, regardless of age, color, or nationality!

The day couldn't come to an end without some drinks, of course, and we had a few from the rooftop of the La Unión Hotel while enjoying some live music and watching the sunset, making the perfect ending of our last full day in beautiful Cuba.

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About the Author

Carlos Navarro

Undersea Specialist

Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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