The caves of Matanzas have served as a very popular tourist attraction for Cuba. Tours opened up in 1862 when visitors carried torches and candles making these Caves of Bellamar the oldest tourist attraction that is still visited on the Island. While the caves of Viñales are said to be a bit more alluring, the grand Cuevas de Bellamar are also a great option for the curious spelunker.
The pharmacy was constructed January 1st 1882 and prospered as the only pharmacy in all of South America for decades. Dr. Ernesto Trolet Lelievre in collaboration with Juan Fermin de Figueroa Veliz prepared and adminstered all prescriptions. The pharmacy thrived through January 16th of 1964 when it was shut down and turned into a museum. Today it stands a replica of what it was when it first opened its doors in 1882.
Matanzas is a beautiful beach town, the lesser known of the northeastern beaches that adorn the coast of Cuba. The Matanzas bay is the deepest on the Island and it is home to the oldest pharmacy in all of South America. If your aiming to visit the more fashionable beaches of Varadero, consider staying a night or two in Matanzas.
Cuba is much larger than I realized. The bus to get from one side of the island to the other will take you around 12 to 14 hours. A flight, I am told, lasts about an hour.
With a flourishing tourist business, Cuba certainly understands the need to cart people from one city to the next. If you are traveling on a budget, it can be a bit tough finding a cheap method of transportation as the taxis are always eager to provide a swift but pricey trip.