Exploring Remedios Cuba
Remedios in Cuba is a small, tranquil town that goes berserk every Christmas Eve in a cacophonous firework festival known as Las Parrandas, Remedios is one of Cuba’s lesser-glimpsed colonial highlights. Some historical sources claim it is Cuba’s second-oldest settlement (founded in 1513), although it is officially listed at number eight after Santiago and proudly celebrated its quincentennial in 2015.
The anniversary has transformed Remedios in Cuba from a slightly scruffy stopover on the way to Cayo Santa María into a mini-Trinidad replete with handsome boutique hotels, a beautifully restored central square (Plaza Martí) and several decent eating joints. However, the bulk of Cuba’s culture-seeking tourists have yet to cotton on to Remedios’ glorious rebirth. Come now before they find out.
Remedios in Cuba was founded between 1513 and 1524, making it one of the oldest settlements in Cuba. It is located in the center of the Island, in the province of Villa Clara and has a rich historical and cultural trajectory, a fact that made its historic urban center be declared National Monument in 1980. One of the best ways to soak up its atmosphere is through its magnificent central plaza, which provides a treasure of buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is the only square in the country with two churches: Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje and the Parroquial Mayor de San Juan Bautista.
Places of interest
- Iglesia Mayor and Plaza Isabel II
- Parish of San Juan Bautista de Remedios
- Parrandas Remedianas Museum
- Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje Church
- Alejandro García Caturla Music Museum
- Carlos Enríquez Art Gallery
Museo de las Parrandas en Remedios Cuba
Visiting this museum two blocks off Parque Martí is no substitute for the real-life revelry of Remedios firework-driven Las Parrandas, but what the hell? It maintains a photo gallery that usually recaps the previous year’s festival along with historical information on the tradition, including scale models of floats and depictions of how the fireworks are made. Enthusiastic guides will show you around when available, but beware of temperamental opening times.
Galería del Arte Carlos Enríquez
Overlooking the main plaza, this small gallery is named for the gifted painter who hailed from the small Villa Clara town of Zulueta. It displays works by artists from around the province. Exhibitions usually change every month.