The 94-hectare botanic garden, 17km east of Cienfuegos, is Cuba's oldest, established in 1901. (Decades later the botanical garden in Havana used its seedlings to found its own green space.) The garden houses 2000 species of trees, including 23 types of bamboo, 65 types of fig and 150 different palms. It was founded by US sugar baron Edwin F Atkins, who initially intended to use it to study different varieties of sugarcane, but instead began planting exotic tropical trees.
You can explore the gardens independently or with a multilingual free guide. If you reserve ahead, you can also partake in a special 7am birdwatching excursion.
To reach the gardens, you'll need your own wheels or a taxi (around CUC$20 return with a wait). The cheapest method is to go with an organized excursion; Cubanacán in Cienfuegos runs trips for CUC$10. Drivers coming from Cienfuegos should turn right (south) at the junction to Pepito Tey.