Located in central Cuba, about 500 km / 300 miles east of Havana, Camagüey is the perfect destination for travelers looking to explore a less touristy side of Cuba.
💡 Planning Your Trip to Cuba 💡
🇨🇺 Visa: Before you depart, be sure to apply for your tourist card (which is your visa for Cuba). You can easily order your tourist card online through CubaVisa.
🛏️ Accommodations: To book your accommodations in Cuba, the Captain recommends Expedia. In Camagüey, the Captain especially recommends 2 casas particulares/B&Bs with very good value for money (Hostal La Fuente and Hostal Green House) and one hotel (Apodaca 12 Hotel Boutique Cuba).
🐴 Activities: Horseback-riding, hiking, day trips… there’s plenty to do in Trinidad. To book your activities, the Captain highly recommends Civitatis.
Camagüey in A Nutshell
Camagüey, the largest province in Cuba, is situated in the central part of the country, around 500 km / 300 miles east of Havana. With approximately 300,000 inhabitants, it is the third largest city in Cuba. Known as the “City of Churches,” Camagüey is famous for its religious and colonial buildings, painted in beautiful pastel colors. Its colonial center is a labyrinth of streets, which makes it perfect for strolling and exploring.
A Short History of Camagüey
Camagüey is one of the seven original cities established by the Spanish in Cuba. Originally named Santa María del Puerto de Príncipe, it was initially located on the north coast of the island but was moved gradually to its present position to escape pirate attacks that were common in the Caribbean. The winding street plan of the city is said to have been designed to thwart pirate raids.
Camagüey has always been different from the rest of the country. When the Cuban economy revolved around the sugar cane industry, the city focused on cattle breeding. Even today, Camagüey stands apart from other Cuban cities such as Havana and Santiago de Cuba.
How to get to Camagüey
Getting to Camagüey by bus
Camagüey is well-connected to the rest of the country through the Viazul buses, which serve the city from most major cities in Cuba. From Havana, six buses to Camagüey depart daily, but be prepared for a long journey of around 9 hours, with a cost of 33 CUC. However, most tourists travel to Camagüey from Trinidad or Santa Clara, with a 4.5-hour bus ride costing 15 CUC.
Getting to Camagüey by taxi
Shared taxis also make the trip to Camagüey, with a travel time of about 4 hours and a cost of 30 CUC from Trinidad.
Getting to Camagüey by plane
Ignacio Agramonte International Airport is Camagüey’s own airport. Cubana airline offers daily flights from Havana at a cost of 102 CUC.
Exploring Camagüey: What to See and Do
One day is enough to explore Camagüey, and strolling peacefully through its labyrinthine streets is one of the best ways to discover the city. Along the way, be sure to stop at the many points of interest that Camagüey has to offer.
Plaza San Juan de Dios
At the heart of the historic center of Camagüey, Plaza San Juan de Dios is a magnificent colonial square. It is one of the best-preserved and most famous on the island.
Built in 1728, it was here that the body of the independence hero Ignacio Agramonte was transported upon his death. The Hospital de San Juan de Dios and the church of the same name, where Agramonte’s remains now rest, border the Plaza San Juan de Dios. Climb the bell tower for an unobstructed view of the old center of Camagüey.
The Parque Agramonte is named after the independence leader Ignacio Agramonte, whose bronze and granite statue stands in the middle of the square.
An oasis of tranquility in the heart of Camagüey, the park invites you to take a break in the shade of its four palm trees, which refer to the four Cubans executed for their participation in the city’s uprising in 1851.
Art lovers should visit the Casa del Arte Jover, where painters Joel Jover and Ileana Sánchez exhibit their paintings. Don’t miss the beautiful blue and white Moorish facade of the Casa de la Diversidad.
Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Cathedral
Also located on Parque Agramonte is the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Cathedral. Dedicated to the patron saint of Camagüey, the Virgin of Candlemas, this Baroque cathedral was rebuilt in 1864 on the site of an old chapel. It was restored on the occasion of the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1998.
You can climb the bell tower for 1 CUC.
Casa de la Trova
La Casa de la Trova, located on Parque Agramonte, is a must-visit for music lovers. It offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy some Cuban music.
Renowned artists regularly perform there, and in the evening, you can even join in for a lively dance session!
Plaza del Carmen
Recently restored, the Plaza del Carmen is a well-deserved break just a short distance from República Avenue. Visitors can admire statues of the city’s inhabitants going about their daily activities, as well as tinajones, large earthenware jars typical of Camagüey.
Plaza de la Soledad and Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
At the corner of the shopping streets Agramonte and República, you’ll find the pretty Plaza de la Soledad.
The beautiful Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, which proudly towers over the city center with its ocher facade, makes the square worth a visit. The church, built in the 18th century, has become a symbol of Camaguey.
Plaza de los Trabajadores
For a chance to admire the monumental face of Che Guevara on the facade of a building (which can be found on most postcards of Camagüey), head to Plaza de los Trabajadores. You can also visit the Casa Natal de Ignacio Agramonte, which traces the history of the independence hero, and the Iglesia y Convento Nuestra Señora de la Merced, which is worth a look.
For a chance to admire the Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, head to Parque Martí. With its neo-Gothic style, very rare in Cuba, the church gives the square a small Barcelona vibe.
The Casino Campestre is Cuba’s largest urban park and an essential meeting place for the people of Camagüey. The park hosts many cultural events, and visitors will find a baseball field, a soccer field, and athletic tracks.
All kinds of statues are scattered throughout the park, and visitors shouldn’t miss the gazebo at the entrance, built in honor of the two aviators who completed the first direct flight between Camaguey and Seville in 1933.
Excursion from Camaguey: Santa Lucia
From Camagüey, a 110 km/70 mile drive northeast will take you to the coastal resort of Santa Lucía. With its 20 km stretch of beaches, Santa Lucía rivals the popular destination of Varadero.
However, it’s worth noting that the atmosphere here is quite different from the intimate setting of other resorts, like Cayo Levisa. Large hotel complexes are abundant and can seem similar. Nevertheless, it’s an ideal place to indulge in some diving or simply relax on the sandy beach.
Captain Ulysses’ Top Picks in Camagüey
Accommodations in Camaguey
Looking for an accommodation in Camagüey? The Captain has got some great options for you:
👉 On a tight budget? Consider:
- Hostal La Fuente, for its exuberant colonial ambiance and central location.
- Hostal Green House, for its small pool and luxurious terrace.
👉 Got a little more to spend? Captain Ulysses recommends:
Apodaca 12 Hotel Boutique Cuba, for its blend of authenticity and modernity, and prime location in the historic center.
Restaurants in Camaguey
Looking for delicious food options in Camagüey? Cuba may not be a foodie paradise, but Captain Ulysses has found two places that won’t disappoint:
Head to Plaza San Juan de Dios and try Restaurante 1800 for great food and friendly service. Prices are reasonable, at around 30-35 CUC for two people, including mojitos, tapas, a main course, and tea.
Café Ciudad is another great option, located on Parque Agramonte. The restaurant is set in a charming colonial house with a small patio. We highly recommend the fish and shrimp skewers.
Remember, good food is the first step towards happiness! 😉
Bank & Exchange Offices:
- Banco de Crédito y Comercio: at the corner of Avenida Agramonte and Avenida Cisneros
- Banco Financiero Internacional: 21 Independencia
- Cadeca: Calle Republica, between Santa Rita and Oscar Primelles
- Bus station: Carretera Central
- Infotur: Ignacio Agramonte
- Cubanacan: Maceo n°67, in the Gran Hotel
- Etecsa: Republica, between San Martin and Jose Jamon Silva