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Things to do in Matanzas

Look underneath the battle-scarred, diesel fume choked surface of Matanzas and you'll discover the Athens of Cuba. The greatest things to do in Matanzas are visit art galleries, attend dance classes, stop for spontaneous musical performances, and go to the theater. 

Centro Cultural Comunitario Nelson Barrera

This cultural center is a great first stop. Learn a little bit about Afro-Cuban history as well as upcoming events and things to do in Matanzas like drum sessions or religious processions. 

Ruinas de Matasiete

This old warehouse facing the bay is actually a famous drinking spot where you can watch danzon and rumba performances. If you're looking for hidden gems, this is at the top of the list of things to do in Matanzas.

Sala de Conciertos Jose White

This historic concert hall built in 1876 still hosts regular classical music concerts as well as occasional danzon and rumba performances. Cap your evening with a drink at the beautifully restored courtyard bar. 

Museo Farmaceutico

This pharmaceuticals museum shows off early tools of the trade. Copper pots, medicine bottles, and mortar and pestles are among the antiques on display.

Ediciones Vigia

Handmade books on handcrafted paper are the specialty of this little book shop. Wandering through the old world atmosphere of this shop to choose a signed and numbered first edition is at the top of the list of things to do in Matanzas for book lovers. 

Iglesia de Monserrate

Walk 1.5 km up Calle 306 to this historic church for a gorgeous view of Matanzas and the Valle de Yumurí. There are restaurants nearby for refreshments and music.

Castillo de San Severino

This castle fort has served many military purposes over the years. In the 18th century slaves were offloaded from boats here, for much of the 20th century it was a prison, and now it houses a museum about slavery. The castle has a beautifully preserved central square and excellent views of the bay.

Plaza de la Vigia

This is the exact site where Matanzas was founded in the seventeenth century so it's one of the must-see things to do in Matanzas. It's a tiny square with a big history. A statue of the unknown soldier stands at the center as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the 1895 war of independence.

Updated March 16, 2018