Until 2011 Cienfuegos was the smallest province in Cuba (excluding the city of Havana and the Isla de la Juventud) with an economy almost entirely dedicated to the growing and processing of sugar. Sugar mills and sugarcane plantations dot the landscape. There are waterfalls in the sierra of the province.
Scuba diving off Cienfuegos province is extremely popular both with tourists and locals. There are numerous underwater caves, and well over 50 dive sites in the province.
The provinces of Cienfuegos, Sancti Spíritus, and Villa Clara were once all part of the now defunct province of Santa Clara.