The city of Santa Clara, founded in 1689, is located in the central part of Cuba in the province of Villa Clara. In 1958, Ernesto Che Guevara led the battle for Santa Clara during the Cuban Revolution, and it was this city that became the resting place of his ashes, brought from Bolivia to Cuba in 1997.
Few people know that the Santa Clara tobacco factory is one of the best in Cuba.
How to get to Santa Clara
Santa Clara Airport receives flights from Montreal and Toronto. But flights from the Cuban capital, Havana, are not operated. Check liuxers for customs and traditions of Cuba.
From the train station located on Luis Estévez, there are daily trains to Cienfuegos (travel time 2 hours 30 minutes), Bayamo (9 hours 30 minutes), Camagüey (5 hours 35 minutes) and Holguin. Twice a day there is a connection with Santiago de Cuba (12 hours 15 minutes). Five night trains run to Matanzas and Havana (25 CUC, 5 hours). There is also a connection to Sancti Spiritus and Moron.
Weather in Santa Clara
From April to October the temperature is maintained at +30-32 degrees, and from December to March it drops to +16-17 degrees. The greatest amount of precipitation falls from May to October.
A common means of transport in Santa Clara are horse-drawn carts and bicycle taxis (the fare is 1 CUC). At the rental points of Cubatur, Havanautos, Micar, Transtur, mopeds and cars are rented. Near the bus station you can hire a taxi to Remedios and Caribarien. A taxi to Havana will cost 150-200 CUC.
Shopping and cuisine
Santa Clara’s pedestrian shopping area, referred to as the Boulevard, is located on Independencia. At La Veguita, the point of sale of the tobacco factory Fábrica de Tabacos Constantino Pérez Carrodegua, you can buy cigars, inexpensive rum and good coffee. The shop is located directly opposite the factory.
Caribbean cuisine is prepared at the El Sabor Latino restaurant located at Esquerra no. 157, at El Castillo at 9 de Abril no. 9 and at Paladar Bodeguita del Centro at Villuendas Sur no. 264.
Entertainment and attractions of Santa Clara
The Catedral de Santa Clara de Asís was built in 1923 and replaced the demolished church in Parque Vidal. The cathedral has beautiful stained glass windows and a statue of the Virgin Mary, known as La Virgen del Camino. In Vidal Park, you can visit the Museo de Artes Decorativas, a decorative arts museum with a collection of 18th-century furniture.
2 km west of Vidal Park is the Monumento Ernesto Che Guevara, a monument, mausoleum and museum complex dedicated to Che Guevara. On a huge square there is a bronze statue of Che, erected in 1987, on the day of the 20th anniversary of his assassination in Bolivia, and crowning the mausoleum, in which the ashes of the Cuban revolutionary and 17 of his comrades buried here in 1997 are buried.
A 10-minute walk from the city center is the Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindad, dedicated to one of the most important battles in the history of Cuba. On December 29, 1959, Che Guevara and his comrades blew up the railway tracks in order to derail an armored train. This event marked the end of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and the beginning of the 50-year reign of Fidel Castro. In the museum you can see the bulldozers that were used during the operation, and wagons with exhibits.
Few people know that the Santa Clara tobacco factory is one of the best in Cuba. Montecristos, Partagás and Romeo y Julieta cigars are produced here.
Loma del Capiro is a group of three small peaks of great historical importance. During the battle for Santa Clara during the Cuban Revolution, “Che” Guevara used them as a command center. On the smallest peak, Capiro Peak, with a height of 176.6 meters, a monument to the Battle of Santa Clara was placed. The other two peaks, 185.9 and 188.4, are called Dos Hermanas, or “two sisters”. The observation deck offers a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding area, where endemic plants grow and the tamarind tree depicted on the coat of arms of the city.
The gazebo, built in 1991 in Vidal Park, regularly hosts public concerts, and once a week the city’s philharmonic orchestra plays traditional music here.