Visit Remedios from Cayo Las Brujas

Church san juan bautista de Remedios

At just 40km (24 miles) from Cayo Las Brujas, Remedios is an ideal destination to get a feel for the “Authentic Cuba” and the Cuban people. All too often on these tiny islands, it’s hard to get a true understanding of Cuba but, by visiting either Caibarien or Remedios, you’ll certainly feel you’ve grasped a great deal of culture, even if it’s only for a day trip. Remedios goes by its longer version name of San Juan de los Remedios and is both a city and municipality, located just 3 miles (4.8 km) from the coast. Like Cayo Las Brujas, Remedios is part of the province of Villa Clara. Isabella II of Spain declared Remedios a City when Cuba was still a Spanish colony.

Parrandas Remedios Cuba

Remedios is world-famous for its Parrandas or carnivals, considered one of the Caribbean’s leading traditional festivities. The carnival is held each year around Christmas time with the streets starting to become “carnivalized” by mid December and the festivities continuing on into the New Year. It’s really something special, and worth your time if you’re in Cuba. To get to Remedios from Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Santa Maria or Cayo Ensenachos it will take less than an hour by car and the roads are beyond reproach, especially the pedraplen causeway, on which 90% of your journey will take place.

Remedios Cuba

Remedios is a historic city, the eighth oldest city in Cuba and despite its meager proportions of just 47,000 inhabitants, its a very dynamic city. Cuban historians estimate the foundation date of Remedios as being sometime between 1513 and 1524. It is thought to have been founded by a Spanish nobleman named Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa on 13th of April 1514, however exact documentation supporting this has been obscured by time. Some documents that do exist, place this settlement as having been only preceded by Baracoa (1511) and Bayamo in 1512, so yes, this is a very old city indeed, for the Caribbean and the Americas as a whole. Many unofficial sources claim Remedios was founded before Trinidad (1514). Remedios has actually had a few different names over the past 500 or so years. The first was Santa Cruz de la Sabana then Santa Cruz de Vasco Porcallo and the penultimate, Santa Cruz de la Sabana del Cayo and, finally in 1578, San Juan de los Remedios de la Sabana del Cayo.

Cuba Remedios City

The whole city of Remedios was declared National Historic Monument in 1980, mainly because of its long and historic history. The city center is particularly attractive with its 17th century Spanish colonial architecture and beautifully ornate buildings. The main things to see in Remedios are the; Plaza Isabel II is the “Iglesia Mayor” of San Juan Bautista, which displays 13 marvelously decorated gold altars. This Parish Church is composed of the main church, Parroquial Mayor de San Juan Bautista, and a chapel known as Ermita del Buenviaje. The two religious structures are exemplary examples of Spanish colonial architecture in the Caribbean and must be seen to be appreciated. The bell towers of both the church and the chapel define the landscape of this historic Cuban city. Due to its proximity to the coast, Remedios was under regular siege by pirates and corsairs, François l’Olonnais being the most renowned of the bandits. During these decades, the gold altars were hidden under white paint. Another impressive church can be found on the north side of the square called the Iglesia del Buen Viaje or Church of the Good Journey. Remedios hold the odd accolade as being the only city in Cuba with two churches on its main square. The delightful Central Plaza or “Plaza Mayor” was renovated in the 1970s and is encircled by amazing colonial buildings, picturesque monuments, large trees, Cuban palms and a gazebo similar to those found in many cities in Cuba.

Church Remedios Cuba

Overall, no matter where you go in Cuba, Remedios is nationally famous its Christmas festival and carnival “Las Parrandas de Remedios”, which officially takes place between the 16th to the 26th of December but celebrations begin before and go-on after these dates. Throughout the “parrandas”, there’s unparalleled rivalry between the neighborhoods of San Salvador, represented by the colors red and blue, and a rooster as a mascot, and El Carmen, represented by the color brown and a globe. The memory of the celebrations can be further investigated at the Museum of Parrandas, located in a 19th-century building since 1980. Here you’ll find photos, documents and hand-made objects; all linked to the carnivals festivities.

There is also an exciting side trip you can take which includes a ride on steam-locomotive train from Remedios which is a blast. The train then returns to the city within about an hour.

Remedios Steam Train Ride Cuba

You could spend hours wandering around Remedios looking at the architecture and historic sites. Above all, Remedios is a nice city to visit because its largely devoid of tourism and its residents are extremely friendly and sociable.