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|Established in 1514 as Santa María del Puerto del Príncipe in the centre of what is now Cuba's cattle country, long known as the town of tinajones (large earthen jars), the third largest city on the island was long isolated from the rest of the island until the railway passed through in 1903, then the Carretera Central, trans-island highway in 1931.
Its local historical hero is an army general, Ignacio Agramonte who died fighting in 1873. Camaguey boasts a wide architectural heritage with some 300 hectares of buildings in good condition, and the largest contingent of Catholics in the country who pray in its numerous baroque churches. On June 8, 2008, the town center's 54 hectares were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Details here.
The influence of its settlers from Andalucia has given Camaguey some lovely ornate small plazas surrounded by colonial mansions. The country's great contemporary poet Nicolas Guillén (1902-1989), exiled under Batista, eulogist of negritude, interbreeding and the Revolución as well as first president of the UNEAC (Cuban writers and artists) is remembered on calle Hermanos Agüero in his childhood house, now a museum.
Its ballet troupe of 75 dancers, Ballet Folclórico de Camagüey is the second most important in the country, having created works more than 130 times around the world since its foundation in 1968. Its theatre, music, puppet and magic venues and groups also attract spectators regularly.
POPULATION 326,918 (2007)
Mercado Agropecuario El Rio, the farmers market fruits, vegetables including ñames, boniatos, malangas, yuccas and all varieties in between, meats, sandwiches, freshly-squeezed orange juice for pennies : unique in Cuba • Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria - photo • Casa de Jesus Suarez Gayol who led student movement against Batista, was first Minister of Sugar and died in Bolivia with the Che : a small but moving museum • Casa Natal de Ignacio Agromonte • Casa Natal de Nicolas Guillen on calle Hermanos Agüero • Casino Campestre (nice large park in centre : see box below) • Museo Hospital San Juan de Dios, Plaza San Juan de Dios • Iglesia del Carmen a rare two-steepled church; in pink • Iglesia de la Soledad near narrowest street in Cuba, el Callejon de la Soledad • Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Merced with some ceiling paintings • Museo provincial Ignacio Agromonte, avenida de los Martires, La Vigia • Plaza San Juan de Dios • Monasterio de las Ursulinas • Galeria Alejo Carpentier • Tifereht Israel Synagogue
El Cardenal, calle Marti 309 for its great (best in Cuba?) comidas criollas; La Terraza, calle Santa Rosa 8 for mutton, chicken and pork; El Califa, calle San Clemente (Raul Lamar) 49 : hearty meats for the macho in you. Lonely Planet says its "food is fantastic"; La Mandarina Roja on Padre Olallo 731 offers Chinese food in pesos;
Best choice is La Isabela in what used to be a cinema, honors Cuba's movie directors and serves lasagna, fettucine and a good pizza : always crowded since it opened in April 08, corner Agramonte and Independencia; El Retorno very affordable fare (fried yucca, piglet) on calle Bella Vista; Bodegan Don Cayetano calle Republica 79 for prawns, tuna and chorizo, tavern-style; lovely Parador de Los Tres Reyes on Plaza San Juan de Dios for chicken and next door in a fab location : La Campana de Toledo in courtyard, main courses from 7cuc to 18cuc; Don Ronquillo, Calle Ignacio Agramonte 406 expensive but in a nice setting on Galeria Colonial's shaded patio; payable in moneda nacional : El Ovejito in Plaza del Carmen for lamb chops; the very popular menu at Rancho Luna on Plaza Maceo; La Volante for its version of the national dish, ropa vieja (mashed pork);
DINING ROOMS in local hotels : Salon Caribe on 5th floor of Gran Hotel, calle Maceo 67; the dining room at the Hotel Colon, calle republica 472; Hotel Plaza, calle Van Horne 1; Hotel Puerto Principe, ave de los Martires;
Snacks, pastries or ice cream Meson for local beer on calle Republica; Impacto (sundaes and cake) on Republica 366; Calle Republica's ice creams; fried chicken at Cafeteria Las Ruinas on Maceo; Cafeteria El Ferro near the estacion de tren; Panaderia Doña Neli, facing the Gran Hotel, a good bakery; burgers in the Gran Hotel snack bar; Vicaria Pollito's chicken specialties (5km on way to Nuevitas)
Tourist info center Infotur (too rare in Cuba) on Agramonte 448 also harbors the organized tours desks of Havanatur 28-8604 offices and wimming pool at the Gran Hotel (2cuc); Rent a bike at Cafeteria Las Ruinas or at Islazul, corner Maceo; car rental at Hotel Camaguey : Havanautos (32) 27-2239, Cubataxi (32) 28-1247, Public library : Biblioteca Publica Cisneros 177 (32) 29-37-73, Policlínica Centro's medical services, calle República 211 (32) 29-7810
Bus for Playa Santa Lucia (3xday) • Bus Viazul link above and below (32) 27-0194 terminal is named Alvaro Barba, 3 km southeast on way to Sibanicu • Planes airport is 9km northeast on way to Nuevitas with a daily flight to La Habana Aeropuerto Ignacio Agromonte (32) 26-1862 • Trains (local and national links above) Estacion de Ferrocaril, Avenida Carlos J. Finlay (32) 28-3214) Worthy of note : a day train leaves for Moron 148 km northeast of here through Florida and Ciego de Avila. Moron is the gateway to cayos Coco, Guillermo, Paredon Grande and Romano at 15h30 every afternoon.
Viazul goes by here east and west 8 x day to/from Varadero, Santiago, Havana and Trinidad via Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad (twice), Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas Rutas 16 + 24 + 25 + Cardenas & Colon (to/from Varadero) - Ruta 26
|ECOTOURING : A HANDFUL OF DAY TRIPS
Casas particulares can book you passage on an 8-seat Viazul minibus to La Boca (Los Cocos), a quiet spot at the entrance of the canal de Nuevitas. One can see Cayo Sabinal on the horizon. Departs at 8:30, returns at 5 p.m. Tickets 12cuc p.p. return. Otherwise, drive to Santa Lucia : there is a 12km-long playa.
••• Local agency Ecotur can handle visits to Cayo Sabinal as well as the regional parks and responsible tourism which includes an excursion named Cocodrilo which visits a tiny settlement once populated by aborigines along rio Maximo where a corcodile nursery can now be found. It's only 50 km away near Minas.
A newer offering goes to the old sugar mill works in the town of Brasil where a 30's era house La Casona has been restaured to offer 8 bedrooms for outdoors people who have to get up early for catch & release fishing off Cayo Romano. In Cuba, dial 0 32 60-6380
Still another proposed excursion is called Flamencotur which is a catamaran cruise among the cayos where flamingos thrive the largest nesting of these birds in the Caribbean near Nuevitas. And a popular visit is the one to a farm, Finca La Belen about 30 miles or 50 km from Camaguey with a menu of trekking, bird watching with a restaurant and swimming pool to relax.
••• Local Ecotur phone : (32) 27-4995 Ask for Francisco email ecotur @ caonao.cu
Plaza del Carmen 251107 © jakaphoto.com
|HEED THE HINTS IN THIS FINE PRINT
::: Make sure that in your first email or phone call you specify that you want to book a room in that particular casa and that you will reconfirm your booking on arrival in Cuba. Unless you only want a room in any house which may be of the same quality, not the specific casa you booked through photos on these websites ::: So as to not abandon expecting owners with empty rooms, reconfirm (or call ahead to cancel) your booking by phone as soon as you can after arriving in Cuba ::: Please write or phone a casa owner to cancel a booking. As late as it may seem, it allows them a chance to rebook. ::: Children under the age of 16 may share a bedroom with adults for free. Specify the child's age when booking. ::: Since October 2010, maximum bedroom capacity is not limited to two adults ::: Also, large casas are not limited to renting only two bedrooms per night. ::: At the end of the casa name, the V signals the casa was suggested by travelers or owners but not verified by the website staff. If you try it and like it, write us about it. ::: Unless otherwise mentioned, the average room rates and service prices are : 20-25cuc per bedroom per night [up to 40+ for 4 in a room]; breakfasts 3-5cuc, dinners 7-10cuc. ::: Note : monthly taxes have increased 15-50% for owners; this may be reflected on the aforementioned rates. ::: Any casa particular anywhere in Cuba must have a hot water shower, otherwise it cannot have a permit to rent ::: Please share your Complaints, comments & suggestions webmaster [@]cubacasas.net
|BOOK BY PHONE
• From Canada and the USA : 011 53 (add phone # preceded by 32 for Camaguey) • From Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (add phone # preceded by 32 for Camaguey) ••• HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER HERE ••• CELL PHONE NUMBERS on our town lists and casa pages are preceded by 05 for calls originating Havana; from anywhere else in Cuba, dial 015 + the 7 digits of the cell.
BOOK BY EMAIL :
Click on logo to open a message addressed to that casa in your email application; or right-click to copy address. Spanish vocabulary here.
|Click on our street map with street names here. Consult our vocabulary for inspiration here.|
MIRIAM GUERRA DE LA CRUZ
Two aircon bedrooms, private baths
Calle Joaquin de Aguero 525, one floor up, e/ 25 de Julio y Perucho Figueredo in reparto La Vigia. Locate on this Google map. Tel. (32) 28-2120 Cell (5) 270-3252
|HOUSE LA CHINA
Two aircon bedrooms, ensuites, small patio
Calle Popular (Ramon Guerrero) 103, e/Lopez Recio y San Esteban (O. Primelles), two blocks from Plaza de los Trabajadores. Tel. (32) 28-3081
|DELFIN y ELENA
One aircon bedroom, ensuite, lovely patio
Calle E.J. Varona (San Ramon Norte) # 171, entre Santa Rita (El Solitario) y San Esteban (O. Primelles), in town center near Casa natal Ignacio Agromonte. Tel (32) 29-7262
|ALBA FERRAZ PÉREZ
Two aircon bedrooms, private ensuites
Calle Popular (Ramon Guerrero) 106, e/ Lopez Recio y San Esteban, two blocks from Plaza de los Trabajadores. Tel. (32) 28-3081
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