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Villa Clara is a land of beaches, tobacco fields and lakes brimming with fish. It is home to the Buenavista Biosphere Reserve, which contains protected ecosystems that include mangroves, coral reefs, active dune zones, keys and reproductive zones for aquatic birds. On its northern coast, the 48 km el pedraplén causeway connects Villa Clara to the Cayerías del Norte, a series of tropical offshore islets, where the popular resort destinations of Cayo las Brujas and Cayo Santa María are located.

In the capital city, Santa Clara, you’ll find fascinating and historically significant sites commemorating the exploits of revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, among them the mausoleum containing Che Guevara’s remains, as well as several museums documenting his life.

To the west lies Remedios, a charming colonial town that hosts the famous Parrandas de Remedios, a festival featuring fireworks, floats and dancing in the streets each December.

Outdoor enthusiasts head south to Embalse Hanabanilla, one of Cuba’s largest lakes, noted for excellent bass fishing; and to the mighty Escambray Mountains beyond.

Local flavour

Don’t miss Remedios’ famous parrandas. Most notorious is the December festival, with its floats and fireworks, but there are also lively celebrations in May and June.

Villa Clara has a wealth of beaches on the Cayerías del Norte – hundreds of small keys along the province’s Atlantic coast. The largest are Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Ensenachos and Cayo Santa María. The islets are linked to the mainland by causeway.

Playa Las Salinas

This unspoiled beach is located next to Villa Las Bruias.

Perla Blanca

Bask in the rays on this sunny beach situated on the tip of Cayo Santa María.

Playa Periquillo, Cayo Santa María

Follow the causeway across the lagoon to get to this warm and inviting beach. Divers can explore the colourful coral reefs and shipwrecks dotting the shallow waters.

Boating and sailing

Marina Gaviota

Book a catamaran cruise at this marina located next to Villa Las Brujas.

Fishing

Marina Gaviota

Book a deep sea fishing excursion at this marina.

Hanabanilla Lake

Reel in a large mouth bass or a tasty trout at this mountain reservoir, one of the largest in Cuba.

Scuba diving and snorkeling

Marina Gaviota

Book a scuba or snorkeling session at this busy marina. Take advantage of the area’s shallow waters boasting colourful coral reefs and intriguing shipwrecks.

Excursions

Fábrica de Tabacos Constantino Pérez Carrodegua

Tour one of Cuba’s finest tobacco factories, and see how the world’s favourite cigars (like Montecristos, Partagás and Romeo y Julieta) are made

The Buenavista Biosphere Reserve is a prime attraction for ecotourists. Its diverse ecosystem includes mangroves, coral reefs, active dune zones and reproductive zones for aquatic birds. Don’t miss the spectacular Arroyo Trinitario waterfall.

Biospheres

Buenavista Biosphere Reserve

Encompassing 11 core areas, spanning across 313,502 hectares, this UNESCO-recognized biosphere protects ecosystems including mangroves, coral reefs, active dune zones, keys and vital reproductive zones for aquatic birds. Caves within the reserve hold historically significant paintings.

Nature

Arroyo Trinitario waterfall

The 1.5 km hike to reach this scenic waterfall is well worth the effort. Cool off with a dip in the pool.

Hanabanilla Lake

Explore this picturesque reservoir framed by a lush tropical forest.

This is the place to satisfy your curiosity about Che Guevara. Explore Santa Clara’s oldest church or cheer on the local baseball team at a stadium that seats 20,000.

Architecture

Visit Santa Clara’s oldest church, or see the mausoleum containing the remains of Che Guevara and his troops.

Monumento Ernesto Che Guevara

Visit the mausoleum containing the remains of famous revolutionary and the other guerillas that were killed during the Bolivian revolution attempt. The site also hosts a monument and museum dedicated to Che Guevara’s life.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen

This church located north of Parque Vidal was erected in 1748, with its distinctive tower added in 1846. The sizeable monument out front commemorates Santa Clara’s creation in 1689.

Dance

Sacromonte company

Spanish dance company formed by virtuous young dancers.

Galleries

La Casa de la Ciudad

Mingle with young artists at this multi-purpose arts building. It hosts regular art exhibitions and a permanent film museum.

Galería Martí, del Fondo Cubano de Bienes Culturales

The Fondo Cubano de Bienes Culturales Gallery is a cultural centre promoting and selling art and handicrafts by Villa Clara notable contemporary artists.

Galería de la Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba

Promoting the works by artists salient in painting, drawing, ceramics, design, sculpture, art reproduction, environmental design, architecture and critique.

Galería Encuentros de la Casa de la Ciudad

Permanent contemporary art exhibition space basically comprising donations of works by Villa Clara artists, showing the local talent.

Museums

Peruse artifacts from Ché Guevara or explore the work of renowned Cuban musician Alejandro García Caturla.

Monumento Ernesto Ché Guevara

This bronze statue of Che Guevara was unveiled in 1987, 20 years after he was killed in Bolivia. This site also houses the mausoleum containing his remains, and a museum dedicated to his life and achievements.

Museo de las Parrandas Remedianas

Dedicated to the parrandas, popular fiestas deeply rooted in this Villa Clara’s town, as well as in other neighboring municipalities. It houses maquettes, costumes, lanterns and other items used in these activities, as well as photos, musical instruments, etcetera.

Museo de Música Alejandro García Caturla

Discover mementos from the famous Cuban composer García Caturla’s life at this commemorative museum in Remedios.

Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado

Explore this distinctive boxcar museum in Santa Clara. It documents the day in December, 1958 when Che Guevara and 18 revolutionaries derailed an armoured train, with the resulting surrender of its passenger troops.

Sports

Estadio Augusto César Sandino

Cheer on the Villa Clara’s team –known as the Naranjas (Oranges), because of their uniform color– at this baseball stadium that seats 20,000.

Theaters

Parque Vidal

Enjoy a performance by the municipal orchestra, which has played here twice a week since 1902. This bustling Santa Clara park was named after Colonel Leoncio Vidal y Caro, who was killed here in 1896.

Teatro La Caridad

This iconic theatre has hosted world-renowned performers including the legendary Italian opera singer Enrico Caruso.

Explore the life of Che Guevara, mingle with local artists, shop along a busy Santa Clara boulevard, take a ferry to a truly unique restaurant or sip a cocktail at one of Cuba’s most vibrant nightclubs.

Nightclubs and Bars

Club Mejunje

This popular nightclub features an eclectic mix of entertainment, ranging from children’s theatre to traditional Cuban music.

Restaurants and Cafes

Río Negro

Take a ferry over to this Creole restaurant on the Hanabanilla Lake.

Shopping

Independencia

Stroll along this busy boulevard lined with local shops, including the handicraft purveyor Fondo Cubano de Bienes Culturales.

Steep in the sulfur springs or indulge in a restorative mud treatment at this long-standing health resort.

Hotel and Spa Elguea in Baños Elguea

Rejuvenate yourself with the sulfur springs and mud treatments used to relieve skin irritations, arthritis and rheumatism at this health resort located 136 km northwest of Santa Clara. This spa first opened in 1917, and is widely recognized as being one of the best of its kind in Latin America.

Fiesta de San Juan

Enjoy the nightly theatre commemorating the birth of Remedios at this festival in June.

Semana de la Cultura (Week of Culture)

Visit the main square in Remedios in May or June to take in the Week of Culture’s festivities.

Las Parrandas

This spectacular street party typically takes place the week before Christmas, and includes floats, fireworks and dancing.