"The Fortress, Cigars, Rum, Coffee, and Fresh Fish" Cumaná by atufft

Cumaná Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 23 photos

Don't Confuse Cumana' and Puerto La Cruz

Beach resort enthusiasts may get Cumana and Puerto La Cruz confused. Both cities are on the eastern side of the Venezuelan Caribbean coastline. Cumana' is the oldest city on mainland South America, located at the mouth of the Manzanares river, and at the entrance to a bay created by the Araya Peninsula, and near the Gulf of Cariaco. Today, Cumana is a commercial port and fishing city with an overly restored Spanish fortress, and more notably an oil hub for off-shore drilling. Cumana is also home to the famous Crispin Patiño cigar factory, which supplied Winston Churchill some of his cigars, and the rum distilleries in the city produce some of the world's best rum. Cumana is capital of Estado Sucre, and not far from Mochimas, which has some of the best beaches in Venezuela, a country with more than it's share of great Caribbean beaches to be sure.

Both cities are part of the Venezuelan "El Oriente", and as noted are on the Gulf of Cariaco, in which the islands of Tortuga, Margarita, and other Venezuelan resort islands are located. Puerto La Cruz has about 200,000 inhabitants, whereas Cumana' is a city of nearly 300,000. Both are along the east-west coastal highway that eventually leads to Caracas, with Cumana being further east. Cumana is also the termination of a main highway the leads into the interior, through Maturin, and eventually over the Orinoco River to Ciudad Bolivar and Ciudad Guyana. We arrived from Maturin, checked out the fortress and the city in general, before heading west to Mochimas for some beach action.

Cumana's is the Oldest European Settlement in...

South America, having been established in 1521. However, the city suffered not only from poison projectile blowing indigenous tribes, but also numerous earthquakes, the most recent being in 1929. The fortress was at one time ordered destroyed, and then rebuilt. Other than scant fortress foundations, very little of the 16th century city remains, and most of the colonial architecture seen by tourists dates to the late 17th century. We found the Castillo de San Antonio de la Eminencia a bit overly restored, but having great views of the city and the Gulf of Cariaco.

  • Last visit to Cumaná: Jul 1989
  • Intro Updated Jul 3, 2007
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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2007 at 4:26 PM

    This looks interesting, even if the fort is over-restored. I must admit I wouldn't have known what was the first city in Sth America!


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