(Pepito Tey, T43-545115, daily 0800-1700, CUC$2.50, children CUC$1, bar for drinks. Look out for 2 rows of palm trees leading to the garden from the entrance at the road. Bus from Cienfuegos stops outside, 20 centavos, or take an organized tour.)
Some 23 km east of Cienfuegos, on the road to Trinidad between the villages of San Antón and Guaos, is the Cienfuegos botanical garden, a national monument founded in 1901 by Edwin F Atkins, the owner of a sugar plantation called Soledad, nowadays called Pepito Tey. Atkins turned over 4.5 ha of his sugar estates to study sugar cane, later introducing other trees and shrubs that could be used as raw materials for industry. In 1919 Harvard University became involved in the studies and the site became known as the Harvard Botanical Station for Tropical Research and Sugar Cane Investigation. After the Revolution, the State took charge of the gardens in 1961, renaming them and employing scientific personnel to preserve and develop the many tropical species now found there. Different sections of the gardens are devoted to areas such as medicinal plants, orchids, fruit trees, bamboos and one of the world’s most complete collections of palm trees. It is a fine garden and a nice place to wander around. See if you can get a guide (Spanish speaking, tip welcomed) as it will be much more interesting.
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