About 15km east of the Cienfuegos city limits, the Jardín Botánico de Cienfuegos has one of the most complete collections of tropical plants in the country. The 11-acre site is home to over two thousand different species, divided up into various different groups, most of them merging seamlessly into one another so that in places this feels more like a natural forest than an artificially created garden. A road runs down through the grounds to a café and a little shop selling maps of the park. This is where the only indoor areas are found, a cactus house and another greenhouse full of tropical plants.
Guides are essential if you want to know what you’re looking at, but though it can be difficult to find your way around, there’s a definite appeal to just wandering around on your own, following the roughly marked tracks through the varied terrain and past a series of (usually dry) pools and waterways. Highlights include the amphitheatre of bamboo and the vast array of palm trees, totalling some 325 different species.