Cienfuegos, to the east of Havana, is a lovely city to see and explore. It was founded in 1819 by Catholic settlers from the former French colonies of Haiti and Louisiana. This is a maritime town with a well-preserved historic center which is an UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a great place to explore and take pictures. The buildings are painted light pastel colors and are most attractive.
To stay, we recommend the boutique hotel, the Hotel La Union, which is set in a complex of 19th century colonial buildings with a large courtyard and nice rooms.
I would also recommend the restaurant at the Placio de Valle which featured quality seafood. It is found in a beautiful palace which is worth the visit in itself. It is located at Calle 37 e/ 0 y 2 in the Punta Gorda neighborhood. According to AFAR Magazine “The Moorish-inspired architecture in Cienfuegos may be surprising, and the Palacio del Valle stands out as the city’s prime example of this style that enjoyed a moment of popularity at the beginning of the 20th century. This palace, located on Punta Gorda, was built between 1913 and 1917 and it’s is a visual delight, both inside and out. With its Moorish tiles and mosaics, carvings and intricate woodwork—all made of imported materials—the building was referred to as a lavish, architectural caprice at the time of its construction.”
On the way to Cienfuegos you might stop for lunch at Playa Giron, which is the eastern side of the Bay of Pigs. There is also a small museum, the Museo Giron which covers the anti-Castro invasion in 1961.