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Santa Clara, Cuba

Visit Santa Clara and discover its historical and cultural importance, imperative to understand Cuba

Santa Clara, Villa Clara
Santa Clara
© Guillaume Baviere

Santa Clara, capital of the province of Villa Clara, is a must-see stop on your way through this region of central Cuba. The city was founded in 1689 by several families commemorated by a monument formed by columns located in the plaza of the Iglesia del Carmen (Church of Carmen). In 1692 it grew rapidly after a colossal fire emptied the streets of Remedios, causing the population to move to Santa Clara

Mausoleo del Che Guevara, Santa Clara
Mausoleo del Che Guevara, Santa Clara
© João Leitão

It had a very prominent participation in the fight for independence, during the Ten Years' War and the Cuban Revolution. For better context of the latter, in December 1958 the Battle of Santa Clara was fought  and the provincial capital was taken militarily by the commander Ernesto Che Guevara. Not surprisingly, for all its history of war and guerrilla warfare, this city is known by the nickname "Ciudad Liberal" (Free City). Santa Clara is all history, and in the case of Cuba this translates into revolutionary history. You will be able to find here the Mausoleo del Che Guevara (Mausoleum of the Che Guevara), constructed in honor of the guerrilla and the Museo del Tren Armado (Armored Train Museum), where you will be able to see the authentic train that the rebels occupied. Without a doubt, Santa Clara is a city not to be missed for all that it represents. If you go to Cayo Santa María, the "Ciudad Liberal" is an essential stop and a key point in Cuba.


What to see in Santa Clara?

Santa Clara, Villa Clara
Santa Clara, Villa Clara
© Chris Michael

Walking around the streets of this city is like traveling through a history book. If you walk around the city you will surely come across Parque Leoncio Vidal (Leoncio Vidal Park), location of many types of protests. Apart from its revolutionary history, Santa Clara stands out for its beautiful buildings such as the Palacio Provincial (Provincial Palace), the Biblioteca José Martí (José Martí Library) or the Teatro La Caridad (Caridad Theatre).

Che's famous city is not only popular for its monuments, but also for its vitality. This city hides an energy that encompasses part of the most electric nightlife outside Havana. It hosts the second most prestigious university in the country, which gives it an academic atmosphere and a youthful flair that shows us a mixture of music, theater and dance made in Cuba for the Cubans, as well as improvised concerts, drag shows and heavy metal shows.

In addition, it has several options for rest and more informal entertainment such as the Zoológico El Bosque (The Bosque Zoo), a curious zoo that mixes park, murals and animals. For maximum relaxation, you can rest at the Balneario de Elguea (Elguea Spa), where its warm waters will amaze you.

Monumento al Tren Blindado, Santa Clara
Monumento al Tren Blindado, Santa Clara
© Guillaime Baviere

The Tren Blindado (Armored Train) that the revolutionaries stormed during the Cuban Revolution is a must-see.

Una visita imprescindible es la del Tren Blindado que los revolucionarios asaltaron durante la Revolución Cubana.

How do you get to Santa Clara?

Whether you go to Cayo Santa María or want to visit this beautiful city, you should know that there are several ways to get there. Santa Clara has an airport, Aeropuerto Abel Santamaría. A

nother option is to arrive from Havana. Although the trip is not long (about 4 hours) you should know that the options are limited.

Are there trips organized to Santa Clara?

It is important to understand that Santa Clara is a must-see stop for those traveling to Cayo Santa María or another nearby key. Therefore, there are travel packages that include Havana, Santa Clara and several nights in Cayo Santa Maria. The packages vary in price, destination and duration, so if you are interested you can ask us for a tailor-made trip.

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