CIEGO DE ÁVILA is more like the suburb of a larger town than an urban centre in its own right. A friendly though pedestrian place set in the plains of the province, it is surprisingly young for a provincial capital – established only in 1849 – and features few tourist attractions save a couple of museums, and precious little nightlife. Often bypassed by visitors en route to Morón and the Jardines del Rey, this small city is not without charm, and an afternoon here will reveal a close-knit, slow-moving, unaffected place, its streets lined with whitewashed modern houses where families hang out on their verandas, old men relax in rocking chairs, and corn fritters and fruit juice are sold from roadside peso stalls. Refreshingly, Ciego de Ávila also has much less of a problem with hustlers and jineteros than bigger towns.

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