Replies: 17 - Last Post: Oct 24, 2012 2:10 PM Last Post By: Trythisagain
Oct 22, 2012 2:41 PM
Oct 22, 2012 3:00 PM
1Manzanillo itself is not a resort destination.
There are probably only a few casas in the whole town. There is an Islazul hotel - much the same as the Islazul hotels in every main town in Cuba.
Manzanillo airport serves for tourist arrivals who are then taken to one of the resorts further along the coast near Niquero.
The first time that I visited Manzaillo, I spent a week, and only saw one TUR car. I haven't been to Manzanillo for a few years, but when I did it was the place in Cuba the most operating in the CUP economy and with the fewest places operating in CUC.
Oct 22, 2012 3:06 PM
2I recall going to what I was told was one of the poshest restaurants in town.
It had no starters, five main courses - bistec de cerdo, filete de cerdo, masas de puerco frito, I don't recall the other two, but they were also some sort of pig. Of those only two were actually available. I think the meal (with beer) cost about CUP 90 for two.
Oct 22, 2012 3:15 PM
3I was in Manzanillo last year and although everything BeardoUK says about it is true, I like it very much (except that I have never been there when it wasn't steamy hot!)
As of last year there were two casas; one I could not recommend and one I definitely would. It's the home of Adrian & Toni, Ph. 530-235-3028. It's located at 49 Martieres de Vietnam y Calle Caridad. Calle Caridad (Charity Street) is one of the most unique places in Cuba. It is a two-block long street up a steep hill that has been turned into a memorial to Celia Sanchez, who once lived on that street. It's now for pedestrians only, paved in broad terracota steps to the crest of the hill. The houses on each side are incorporated into the memorial--I don't know how to explain this exactly, except to say that their little iron-railing steps end on the broad steps of what was once a street, and on the sides of different houses, tucked over windows or under doorways or wherever, are ceramic tile murals of flowers, birds, and the like. At the top is a huge mural sticking up against the almost-always blue sky, with a stylized image of Celia's face and a quote from the poem Armando Hart wrote for her. On the whole memorial her name appears only once, on a small side mural of a dove flying across a field of blue, and the name, "Celia."
Elsewhere in Manzanillo, just down the street from the children's hospital that bears her name, there is another monument to her, but nowhere near as original or charming as this one. This one you can step right out into from Adrian and Toni's house. Town centre is four or five blocks away, easily walkable. It consists of a pleasant tree-shaded square surrounded by Andalusian architecture. Sometime's there's an organ grinder there (sans monkey), this tradition having also been imported to Manzanillo from the Old World.
I should mention that Adrian and Toni's casa is not part of the CUP economy; the price is 30 CUC/night, or was when I was last there. Their casa has a rooftop terrace where, if you like, they will serve you your meal. The food was very good, and Adrian, who speaks English, is very knowledgable about what there is to do in the area (actually very little, but a few things).
From Manzanillo, it's about a two-hour drive to either the beach at Marea de Portillo, near Pilon, or to La Comandancia de la Plata, south of Yara. Both, but especially the Comandancia, are well worth visiting. There are small Celia Sanchez museums in her birthplace of Media Luna and in Pilon where she lived as a young woman.
Oct 22, 2012 3:16 PM
Oct 22, 2012 3:34 PM
Oct 22, 2012 3:45 PM
6As always, Rosa (ttjpdo), gives the best advice because she knows the south eastern part of Cuba so well, especially Granma Province.
It is also a favourite location of mine, and although I have yet to to to the Comandancia, I have been ins many of the nearby areas surrounding Marea del Portillo. There are two hotels there run by Club Amigo, and usually one of the two is open most of the time.
I enjoy the little beach at Punta de Piedra about 6 or 7 kg from Marea. I had a bike (that I took and left with a friend), and I used it during my stay, or walked lots. It is my favourite place in Cuba, even if I haven't been to many places on the island. The people are lovely as is the countryside.
Cayo Coco is a small island near Punta de Piedra, if you can get on a boat to the island (through the hotel), it is well worth it.
Have a lovely time there.
I just passed through Manzanillo, but did see the magnificant Moroccan style Gazeba in the city. Another favourite place is Bayamo, pretty city.
Eastern Cuba has some of the most spectacular scenery, mountains (Sierra Maestra) and sea on the other (but the road is horrible).
Oct 22, 2012 4:23 PM
Oct 22, 2012 4:29 PM
8Ay, Manzanillo. There are some parts of Cuba where you feel like time stopped approximately 20 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the people are still waiting for something to happen. The largest cities in Cuba where I got this feeling were in Manzanillo and Matanzas.
That said, it is still a beautiful place. The stretch of road from Manzanillo down to Playa Coloradas is one of the most beautiful stretches of the Cuban coastline, and the sunsets there seems to last forever. Enjoy!
Oct 22, 2012 6:26 PM
9Granma Province seems to me a whole different "real Cuba" than some of the other "real Cubas". It is really interesting to see an almost purely CUP economy functioning there in the towns. My friends in Trinidad would go insane to go "chopping" there for a day. And you will also only see the most amateur of jiniteros at the Rapido, if any at all.
I have only flown in and out of Manzanillo, but Cubans tell me it is really pretty there, and the people are nice.
Unfortunately, the heat is almost too much for me these days in the east.
If you are interested in music, keep your ears open for a really interesting Eastern style of organ music down there.
Oct 22, 2012 9:04 PM
10That's a great reminder TTA! Saw that organ type once in Bayamo a few years a go and then last year a similar one was wheeled into a resort happening at Playa Pesquero where we were staying for a couple of days. I had completely forgotten about it - like a giant pianola!
Oct 23, 2012 10:51 AM
11I heard a third casa opened in Manzanillo about a year ago...
As for gastronomy in this strange corner of earth, I remember before I went the first time people in Havana originally from Manzanillo had told me that I HAD to try 'lizeta', the local fish specialty. Well, right down by the shore you can't go wrong, there's a place right there called 'La Lizeta'. The only problem is that the 4-5 times I stopped by over a period of a couple of years, they never had any lizeta.
CUP economy: I will claim that Palma Soriano beats the heck out of both Manzanillo and Bayamo any day. Those towns see a few thousand tourists each year. I'd be surprised if Palma sees 20 a year. You can't even buy a Tukola with CUC at the Cupet!
Oct 23, 2012 10:56 AM
12Welcome back, Cubita! We haven't had the pleasure of your posts here on TT in quite a while. The little motel-style hotel at Punta de Piedra is now part of the Marea de Portillo-El Farallon complex; that is to say, all under Club Amigo management. It has been tidied up and is very pretty now. Its tiny beach (with sea grape trees for shade) there on the inlet is still there. Those looking for a resort experience in the area would still prefer the hotel at Marea de Portillo, which has that nice long beach leading to El Farallon about a kilometre away and up on a hill. But cyclists or anyone passing through or wanting to spend time hanging with the locals in Pilon would do better to stay at Punta de Piedra--or better yet, in town at one of the two licensed casas there now. (At least, there were two when I was last there two years ago.)
BeardoUK, yes, there was another casa in Manzanillo; in fact, there have been several over the years, although usually only one at a time. I stayed in one of them once some years back--not all that nice but interesting enough that I used it as a setting for one of the love scenes in my recent novel, THE WOMAN SHE WAS. On another trip I stayed in a different one that was really shabby. And then, when I was in Manzanillo visiting Calle Caridad, I saw the door sticker for a licensed casa at Adrian and Toni's place, and found it to be nicer than any of the others. At that time there was only one more, which maybe is still there, or maybe not. I think it's hard for Manzanillo casas to get enough guests to pay the permit fees. At 30 CUC/night, I don't think Adrian and Tony's place is any cheaper than a room at the hotel, but, well, you know how much nicer a good casa is than a shabby Islazul hotel!
Trythisagain, I agree with you about Granma Province feeling like "a whole different 'real Cuba.'" And yes, the heat can be intolerable--unless you happen to get up into the mountains or down on the beach.
Oct 23, 2012 11:10 AM
13Why was it that Manzanillo was hit by cholera earlier this year?
Oct 23, 2012 12:10 PM
14I have been planning to go and have a look at Manzanillo for a long time now, but have postponed it several times because people have told me that the town smell of fish ( being a fish port ) ! Is that true ?
And to Don Tomas: Palma experience a lot of tourists, or rather more "street wise yumas" , many on day/evening trips from Santiago.
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