Jardín Botánico Soledad
The splendid Jardín Botánico Soledad (tel. 043/54-5115, daily 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., CUC2.50), is about 10 kilometers east of Cienfuegos, on the main coast road to Trinidad, between the communities of San Antón and Guaos. Jardín Botánico Soledad was begun in 1899 by a New Englander, Edward Atkins, who owned vast sugar estates in the area and brought in Harvard botanists to develop more productive sugarcane strains.
Later, Harvard University assumed control under a 99-year lease, and a general collection making up one of the tropical world’s finest botanical gardens was amassed. Since the Revolution, the garden has been maintained by the Cuban Academy of Science’s Institute of Botany.
Pathways lead through the 97-hectare Jardín Botánico Soledad, reached along an avenue of royal palms. It harbors a collection of some 2,000 species, 70 percent of which are exotics. A bamboo collection has 23 species. Of rubber trees, there are 89 species; of cactus, 400. The prize collection is the 307 varieties of palms. The facility includes a laboratory and library. A basic café serves drinks.
Getting to Jardín Botánico Soledad
The bus from Cienfuegos to Cumanayagua passes the garden. A taxi will cost about CUC40 round-trip. Tour agencies in Cienfuegos offer tours (CUC10).
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition