This sprawling down-at-the-heels coastal town (pop. 39,000), eight kilometers east of Remedios, has some intriguing albeit much-deteriorated colonial structures. There’s a 19th-century trocha (fort) at the southern entrance to town where a huge stone crab raises its claws defiantly in the road divide.
The main street—Máximo Gómez—leads to Parque de la Libertad, surrounded by period edifices. Avenida 5, one block west of Máximo Gómez, is a broad boulevard pinned by the Monumento José Martí. On the east side of town, a palm-lined shorefront Malecón leads east to a funky fishing fleet.
Caibarién has a year-end parranda.
Museo de Agroindustria Azucarera
In 2009, the derelict Central Marcelo Salado sugar-processing factory, at La Reforma, three kilometers west of town, reopened as the Sugar Industry Museum (tel. 042/36-3586, Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–4 p.m., CUC3). It does a great job. First up is an informative video (an English version is offered) on the history of sugar in Cuba, and of sugar production. Then you tour the old mills (molinos).
Eight antique locomotives are on display (the oldest dates from 1904), and 14 were to be added. You can hop aboard a steam train for an excursion from the museum to Remedios (CUC9).
Accommodations and Food
Three blocks from the bayfront, Pensión Villa Virginia (Casa #73, Ciudad Pesquera, tel. 042/36-3303, virginiaspension [at] aol [dot] com, CUC20–25) is a tremendous casa particular in a prefab home in a quiet residential area on the east side of town. Take your pick of three nicely furnished rooms. Virginia offers free Internet. And the shaded garden patio is a great place for meals.
In 2009 Islazúl reopened the refurbished, 17-room Hotel Brisas del Mar (Rept. Mar Azul, tel. 042/35-1699, brisas [at] islazulvc [dot] vcl [dot] cyt [dot] cu, CUC20 s, CUC25 d year-round), at the tip of a peninsula that catches the ocean breezes. The rates are a bargain for this simple, yet charming modern option with a swimming pool.
Caibarién is a culinary desert. Your best bet is Dino’s Pizza (Av. 9, esq. Calle 10), on the southeast corner of the plaza.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition