Pinar del Rio Tourist Attractions
Pinar del Rio is the capital of the Pinar del Rio Province and is a bustling and busy city, with horse carriages and peddle bikes filling the streets. Small shops operate out of the porches of single storey houses selling and repairing all sorts of goods. The city is known for the large number and variety of columns that can be found throughout the historic center. The most architecturally interesting area is along Calle Marti.For the most part though, Pinar del Rio is more of an administrative center and not of particular interest to travelers. For travelers driving through the city it makes a nice stop for a half day or a couple of hours. For those spending the night the Casa de la Cultura features musical performances in the evening.
Palacio de Guasch (Museo de Ciencias Naturales Sandalio de Noda)
On Calle Marti is the impressive Palacio de Guasch, which houses the Museum de Ciencias Naturales Sadalio de Noda (Museum of Natural Sciences). One of the most unique buildings in Pinar del Rio, the Palacio de Guasch was built in 1909 by a well traveled doctor who wanted to incorporate some of his favorite architectural styles into his home. Large columns line the exterior, spires project from the roof, and an ornate railing runs around the upper level. The Palacio de Guasch is a mixture of Moorish, Gothic, and baroque styles that are combined quite nicely.The Palace contains the Museo de Ciencias Naturales Sandalio de Noda which provides information on the natural history of the Pinar del Rio area. There are a variety of stuffed birds, animals, and reptiles, as well as dinosaur sculptures on display.
Fabrica de Tabacos Francisco Donatien
If you are interested in the Cigar industry it is worth checking out the Fabrica de Tabacos Francisco Donatien. This former hospital turned jail is now a cigar factory and is reputed to make some of the finest cigars in the country. These cigars are not exported but it is possible to buy them in the nearby shop. The factory also serves as a school for learning the trade.Visitors are invited to see the process of cigar making as tours of the Fabrica de Tabacos Francisco Donatien are available to the public. Keep in mind that this is one of the town's biggest tourist attractions and it is frequently busy and very tourist oriented.
Teatro Milanes (Milanes Theatre) is a beautiful old building on Calle Marti and is perhaps the most attractive theatre in Cuba. Built in the first half of the 19th Century the theatre was renovated in the late 1800s and has also recently undergone a lot of restoration work. It originally opened in Pinar del Rio under the name Lope de Vega but the theatre was later renamed for the poet Jacinto Milanes. The Teatro Milanes is a neo-Classical three story structure with a linear façade and columns, capable of seating up to 500 people.
Provincial History Museum
The Museo Provincial de Historia (Provincial History Museum) on Calle Marti provides a good overview of the history of the province and the town of Pinar del Rio. Exhibits cover pre-Columbian period to present day. There is a particularly good collection of weapons and items from the wars of independence, as well as an art collection by local artists, including a piece by Domingo Ramos. In the same section are some personal items of Enrique Jorrin, known best for being the founder of the cha-cha-cha. Also of note is a colonial furniture collection.