Matanzas City

Matanzas is one of the most emblematic cities of Cuba, its long history and unique characteristics makes it a truly special city, called the "Athens of Cuba", Matanzas deserves to be visited and known.



Matanzas province is nestled between the parallels 22 01 and 23 15 'north latitude and the meridian 80 31 "and 82 09'32" west longitude, is located in the central western region of the island and its capital, city of Matanzas, in the northwest corner of the province just around the Bay of Matanzas.  



Matanza´s plains view from the Hershey Train


"The Hershey Train" is the only electric railway that has ever existed in Cuba. It is (still) operating since 1921 and travels from Casablanca Station in Havana to Matanzas. The trip is magical and a good way to experience the natural beauty of Cuba and the Cubans; and of course get to Matanzas City and its wonderful Hotel Velasco.


The province limits in the north with the Strait of Florida, in the south by the municipality of Limonar, northeast of Cardenas and Varadero and west with the new Mayabueque province. With over three hundred years, the city of Matanzas has been the subject of intense transformations. Matanzas economy is well represented in the industrial sector, where the food and chemical industries stand out , with production of fertilizers,  fiber and other sectors of the chemical industry in Cuba, but the most important economic activity of Matanzas is turism that is concentrated in the world class beaches of Varadero.



The region's climate is mild and is characterized by a maximum average temperature of 30 degrees and a minimum of 19.3º. The coldest temperatures occur during January and the highest in July and August, with the overall average of 24.9 degrees. During the summer the coast is cooler than inside the province, while in winter the opposite occurs, due to the thermoregulatory effect of the sea, the coast is felt more strongly by the northwest direction of prevailing winds . In general the climate is hot and humid the last prevail for the presence of the river San Juan, Canímar Yumurí and through the town. From June to August, the humidity in the territory, as the thermometer rises Farenhat-of 76'-88 'to 95, while during the windy 70'a lower 60s. In the coastal zone average relative humidity is higher and the minimum variability contributes regime typical coastal breezes. Due to the geographical position, the island is under the influence of the northeast trade winds. During the day on the north coast sea breezes dominate the trade winds strengthened by emphasizing the dry conditions and at night, on the north coast, offshore influences offset by the trade winds. In the dry season (November to April) manifest meteorological agencies such as cold fronts, which are more frequently in the months of December, January and February, when temperatures are lower and relative humidity decreases. October to March is the windy place with sea and sea penetrations moved. In March and April are frequent winds from the south and southeast and in the wet period are expressed strong winds associated with storms. 


In the geography of Matanzas one of the most important elements are the soils, characterized by being flat, fertile and deep. They are approximately fifteen families represented, twelve of them suitable for agriculture. There are typical flat areas located between the highlands to the south and southeast of the city, predominantly lateritic red soils also displayed on the limestone of the western peniplano subregion, and are generally flat. Neighborhoods such as Versailles, La Cumbre and even the Pan de Matanzas are on limestone. Matanzas terrain can be described in relief of heights and  plains. The heights are less common type and includes the karst structure monocline between 150-300 m, with a cupular very dissected karst. Is well represented in the Pan de Matanzas, the highest elevation of the province with 309 m in height. This area is dominated by limestone-like heights of hummocks. Elevations located northwest of the city, as is the case of the Havana-Matanzas heights, have a seasonal green hill near the coast. The plains are widespread and are younger, usually quaternary.


Bay of Matanzas

Bay of Matanzas

From the hydrographic point of view the city of Matanzas has a peculiarity that makes it different from others in the country, the presence of three rivers: the San Juan River, extending approximately 64 km away, with 46 Km Canímar and Yumurí All lead with 35 km to the north, are short and low flow, a feature that is accentuated by the prevalence of underlying limestone. For this and for being the county level is an area that is primarily limited the construction of dams and micro-dams. Matanzas also has valuable potential of groundwater, particularly well placed in the dry season. Another important geographical feature is the bay of Matanzas sac that has open, wide mouth and deep, conditions conducive to its use as a commercial port. The north coast from the border with Havana to the municipal boundary of Cardenas and Varadero, is typical of emergence and is bordered almost entirely by coral coastline and the presence of beaches in some areas. Rainfall, meanwhile, reached a historical average of 1347.5 mm of water towards the coast the values are less than 1100 mm.   

Flora and Fauna 

Cuban flora is extraordinarily rich and therefore had a high number of species of plants and because more than 50% of them are endemic, as determined by the insularity of the country. Flora from the most food, medicine and raw materials used in various industries. Among the plants that still thrive in the territory is the Melocactus matanzanus or lion, belonging to the family of cacti. It has a spherical, sometimes slightly depressed and is probably the most beautiful species of the genus. Essentially live in colonies and is endemic in the province, including a very limited area of the Three Ceibas Cuabal in Yumurí Valley, Corral Nuevo. It is in danger of extinction. 

In the area known as Punta de Guano, near Bacunayagua northwest coast of Matanzas, inhabits the Cocothrinax borhidiana, a species of palm which is endemic to the locality and is considered endangered. Another cactus, avocado or nudiflora Dendrocereus Spook is a tree species, whose genus is monotypic Cuban flora. Can be found at Punta de Guano. Discovered a few years ago, the tree Carpodíptera ophiticola, Bisse reaches up to 8m high, and its top is usually quite wide. Located in ultrabasic rock canyons near Canasí and is estimated as a new species native to that region.


Humming Bird

Humming Bird

Cuba historically has not had an opulent mammal fauna, however, has several species of insects, mollusks, amphibians, reptiles and birds. In the town yumurino is valuable Bacunayagua area, on the northwestern coast, bordering the province of Havana. Is a natural wildlife sanctuary, covering an area of 150 hectares including Bacunayagua Cove, the river of the same name and surrounding slopes of steep slope whose southern boundary is the bridge Bacunayagua. The region is rich in different species, which gives priority to land vertebrates and especially birds. The fauna associated to the mangrove ecosystem that appears on both sides of the river, where important representatives zoos. In the group of insects there is a large number of orders, the most striking, the Lepidoptera, which includes a remarkable variety of butterflies, of singular beauty. Some of the subspecies that can be seen more regularly in the vicinity of the northern coast of Matanzas are: Heliconius charithenius ramsdeni, Atala Eumaeus Atala stelenes Siproeta insularis, Eurema dina dina and Doxoxopa laure druryi. Among the mollusks are distinguished representatives of the Phylum mollusca, detected in the mouth and adjacent to the river Bacunayagua. 

In connection with the amphibians that live in the town of Matanzas, species and subspecies of most value are: Electherodactylus planinostris (common Bell), Electherodactylus caneatus (Bell), Peltophnyne fustiger (common toad); Sminthillus limbatus (Ranita de Cuba) Rana catesbeiana (Bullfrog). The common toad also lives in Bacunayagua, the Pan de Matanzas and the mouth of the river and BullFrog Canímar in the wild as the north coast Yumurí Valley and near the Pan de Matanzas, usually near rivers. 

Bacunayagua live in different species and subspecies of reptiles, including the Anthilophis andreai (Jubito), the Cyctura nubila nubila (Iguana), the angulifer Epicrates (Maja de Santa Maria) and Anolis equestris (Chipojo green). It also stands out as an area rich ornithologically a total of 68 types of birds reported. Yumurí Valley and the north coast also represent areas of interest in this regard, with copies as Priotelus temnunes (Trogon), the national bird has also been seen in Yumurí and Pan de Matanzas.


Tocororo, the national bird of Cuba

Tocororo, the national bird of Cuba


Bats make up 75% of mammals endemic land-based Cubans and their role is critical in regulating the ecosystem. Twenty-six species, some reported in this county, where stand the Noctilio leporinus (fishing bats), the largest in Cuba that feeds on fish and is located in wilderness areas, the jamaicense Artibeus (fruit bats), who lives in Bacunayagua and other areas and the Natalus stramineus, seen in the Caves of Bellamar. Other mammals, the Capromys pilorides (Jutia Conga), is spread by Bacunayagua Yumurí and Canímar. In the river Canímar inhabits Trichechus manatus (Manatee), in danger of extinction. An introduced species, the heatwave Oryctolagus (wild rabbit) has been observed in Canímar, Bacunayagua Yumurí Valley and the Pan de Matanzas. The Odocoileus virginianus (deer), can be located in the Valley of Yumurí.