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Travel Guide Caribbean Cuba Remedios

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Introduction

Remedios is a city in the Villa Clara Province in the central northern part of Cuba and has around 50,000 inhabitants. It is the oldest Spanish settlement in the former Las Villas province. It is now part of the province of Villa Clara. It was declared a City by Isabella II of Spain, when the Island was still a colony. Remedios is the Cradle of the Parrandas, possibly the Caribbean's largest and oldest traditional festivity. Its patrons are San Juan Bautista and the Virgin of the Buenviaje.

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Neighbourhoods

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Sights and Activities

The main attraction in the Plaza Isabel II is the "Iglesia Mayor" of San Juan Bautista containing 13 beautifully decorated gold altars. The city was under constant siege by pirates and corsaires, most famous attacker was François l'Olonnais, therefore the gold was hidden under white paint. In a renovation that took place between 1944 and 1954 thanks to the generous Cuban millionaire philanthropist Eutimio Falla Bonet, the real gold under coats of paint were re-discovered. The story goes that Falla Bonet traced his family tree back to Remedios, and found that one of his ancestors had been a founding member of the city and had been born in Remedios. On the north side of the square sits another church, the less fortunate Iglesia del Buen Viaje. Remedios is the only town in Cuba with two churches on its main square, but the Iglesia del Buen Viaje is abandoned, leaking and closed until repairs are authorized by the Communist government. The Central Plaza or "Plaza Mayor" was restored in 1970 and is surrounded by colonial buildings, beautiful monuments, trees, palms and a gazebo like many towns in Cuba, following a Spanish urban standard.

Remedios is distinguished by many Cubans for its Christmas festival, "Las Parrandas de Remedios", one of the most popular events of the region that takes place between the 16th to the 26th of December every year. Considered the oldest festivities in Cuba, the "parrandas" were initially promoted by Father Francisco Vigil de Quiñones, who used to officiate at the Iglesia Mayor of San Juan Bautista de los Remedios. The priest, who was concerned about the absence of parishioners at the "Misa de Gallo" (midnight mass), had the idea of encouraging children to take to the streets and wake up the citizens using whistles, horns and tin cans, so that they had no other choice than get up and attend mass. That singular and noisy initiative got deeply rooted among the population, resulting in the most attractive festivity in the country. In 1871, the "parrandas" adopted a structure that has survived the passage of time. According to tradition, when the bells of the Iglesia Parroquial Mayor (Major Parochial Church) toll at 9 o'clock on the night of December 24, two neighborhoods make public their creativeness and efforts made during the entire year to participate in the competition. During the "parrandas", a "fierce" competition takes place between the neighborhoods of San Salvador, represented by the colors red and blue, and a rooster as a symbol, and El Carmen, represented by the color brown and a globe. The memory of those celebrations is compiled at the Museum of Parrandas, which opened in a 19th-century building in 1980 in Remedios, where photos, documents and hand-made objects linked to the festivities are preserved.

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

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Getting There

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Getting Around

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Eat

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Drink

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Remedios or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Work

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Learn

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Keep Connected

Internet

In many cities the only way for tourists to access the internet is through the government's communications centers. Look for buildings bearing the name "ETECSA", which stands for Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. ETECSA also has internet stations in some of the larger government hotels and resorts. The connection speed is comparable to analog dial-up speed in Havana or slower in smaller locations, at a cost of 6 CUC/hour. This is payable by purchasing a prepaid scratch card with a PIN code granting you access for one hour. The same card can be used throughout the country at any ETECSA terminal, allowing you to disconnect after your session and use the remaining time on the card further at the next hotel/city you go to.

WI-FI in hotels and restaurants is certainly uncommon if not non-existent and tourists should not rely on this being available when planning their means of communication.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Cuba is 53. To make an international call from Cuba, the code is 119. The emergency number is 116 and information number 113.

GSM cell phones will work in Cuba (900 MHz). Cuba is one of the most expensive countries in which to communicate. When bringing your own cellphone, incoming phonecalls to Cuba cost about $1/minute. Outgoing calls from Cuba are similarly expensive, and can be as high as $5 per minute for making international when roaming with your cellphone from overseas.

A better way is to rent cellphones, which is possible at several stores in Havana, including one in the airport. The rates are 9 CUC per day (6 CUC for the phone and 3 CUC for the SIM card), plus about 36 cents a minute for prepaid cards. If you bring an unlocked GSM phone operating at 900 MHz (or quad-band world phone) you can buy a SIM card for 111 CUC, plus your prepaid minutes. If you're staying two weeks or more it makes sense to bring a cheap phone, buy a SIM card and prepaid minutes, then give the phone to a Cuban friend when you leave. Cellphones are among the most desired items for Cubans (bring a case for the phone too, Cubans are very fussy about keeping their phones scratch-free). You will have to go to a cellphone store with your friend and sign a paper to give the phone to your friend.

Post

Correos de Cuba operates the Cuban postal service. They are generally quite slow, and delivery is never guaranteed. Mail is read by Cuba’s censors; avoid politically sensitive comments. Also, never send cash! Post offices (correos) usually are open weekdays 8:00am to 6:00pm and on Saturday 8:00am to 3:00pm, but hours can vary widely. Most tourist hotels accept mail for delivery as well, which might be a better option. International airmail (correo aereo) averages from at least 2 weeks to over one month, and even domestic posts might take 1-2 weeks. When mailing from Cuba, write at least the country destination in Spanish (as well). International postcards, cost CUC 0.50 to all destinations; letters cost CUC 0.80. Within Cuba, letters cost from 15 centavos (20 grams or less) to 2.05 pesos (up to 500 grams); postcards cost 10 centavos. Stamps are available in US dollars as well (if buying at hotels, this is actually your only option) and can be bought at hotels and blue and white kiosks labelled Correos de Cuba. Parcels from Cuba must be unwrapped for inspection. It is far better to send packages through an express courier service, like DHL or the Cuban local one (called EMS), although the same regulation applies.

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Accommodation in Remedios

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Remedios searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Remedios and areas nearby.

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This is version 6. Last edited at 8:59 on Aug 2, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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