Getting Lost in the Labyrinth In Camaguey
Camaguey is a labyrinth where a poor map reader can easily get lost. The narrow streets seem identical and they look like endless mazes that seem to bring you back to where you’ve started. Getting lost in this old colonial city, however, offers a curious visitor some old gems that are new to his senses. If you take time to pause in front of an open door or window, you’ll be greeted by an old man/woman rocking on his/her chair. She’ll be delighted if you respond with a smile, a nod, or a simple “Hola!”
A short pause or look inside residential houses gives foreign visitors a glimpse of the life of Cubans and their family values. You’ll see huge portraits, a religious statue, a laminated diploma, and anything that’s considered family treasures hanging on the wall or plastered in a corner.
Sometimes, you’ll see an old television set of a bygone era. Remember those TV sets in which one has to turn the switch around to change channels and adjust the antennae for a clear reception? It’s still common to see those in Camaguey. The furniture in living rooms is sturdy antiques and varnished.
Some residential houses are supported with Corinthian, Classic or Doric columns — and they are not even owned by well-to-do families. I asked one of these two men in the picture (below) how old his residence was and he said it was 114 years old! It was bequeathed to his family by his great-great-grandfather on his paternal side.
It’s like every house in Camaguey is a museum in itself.
One-story houses are connected to each other and they’re as colorful as the ones in Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos.
Camagüey has 500 years of history. The streets are a maze of narrowness—and sometimes of solitude.
The center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage and it’s nothing short of ancientness and history.
The main pulse of the city happens on the center stretch of Independencia, the Main Street, where it’s pedestrian only.
Shops, markets, cafes, galleries, churches, colonial houses, hotels, ice cream parlors, bars, restaurants—and many more lined the city’s main thoroughfare.
Camaguey is Cuba’s Catholic soul. With 17 churches (dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries) scattered everywhere, devoted patrons wouldn’t mind church-hopping on Sundays.
These are elegant, grandiose churches built for hundred years and have been silent witnesses of the country’s history.
Cuba’s first saint, San Juan de Rios, was born here in Camaguey, thus, he is revered. I think that also explains why this city is the country’s catholic soul?
There are small parks everywhere and they are named after their heroes.
Colonial houses like these are ubiquitous in the Calle Independencia.
During lunchtime, the city center looks like this. The people? They’re either at home having lunch or taking an afternoon siesta.
The city is photogenic from every angle!
Here’s a view from the second tower above San Juan de Rios Museum.
And another angle from the top.
Cafes and souvenir shops are everywhere, too.
Every corner of the maze in Camaguey is a photo opportunity.
These teenagers are happy to be photographed.
Many of their hotels look like this, colonial buildings that are well-preserved.
Streets can be lonely, sometimes.
And sometimes, it’s hard to choose which way to go.
And the best time to walk around is at noon.
Houses can be really interesting at times.
They’re never boring. There’s always something to wonder about.
And yes, Camaguey is really photogenic. Here’s one more proof. And yes, it’s me. 🙂
These are beautiful photos, Alain!
The colors are spectacular! Went to Cuba few years ago but never heard of Camaguey. 🙂
Those beautiful photos do not represent the real city of Camaguey. They only portray what the government wants foreigners to see. People suffer calamities and please, don’t blame the embargo/
I am with Manuel Balboa’s comments…but also there is nothing more “Non-Camagüey” that the bright colours used…our houses were never painted so bright like a “Perico” a cuban will say.