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Cuban provinces: Villa Clara

The studied development of a solid hotel and service infrastructure in its north keys and the exploitation of other tourism attractions, mainly related to the traditions and history of the region, must lead Villa Clara to becoming, in a middle term, a preferred tourism destination within the largest of the Antilles.

For the last few years, this central province has mostly received a circuit tourism attracted by the close relationship between its capital city and the figure of the legendary Guerilla Commander Ernesto (Ché) Guevara. At the end of December of 1958, he carried out here decisive combats of the final struggle for the definite final liberation.

Santa Clara is a neat and quiet city that was founded in 1689. The memorial Museum, built as a tribute to Ché Guevara and his comrades, killed in combat in Bolivia; La Caridad Theater (1885) and the Leoncio Vidal Park are places that must be seen. The city also has the advantage that its geographical position locates it 267 kilometers from the City of Havana, 74 kilometers from Cienfuegos, 207 kilometers from Varadero and only 88 kilometers from Trinidad.

Camajuaní, an agricultural municipality abundant in good Tobacco rollers and San Juan de los Remedios, the eighth villa founded in the island by the Spanish conquerors (1515), are must see places located on the way to the north keys, mainly the second one, which deserves all the attention of visitors.

The historic center of Remedios, declared National Monument in 1980, is the only one in the country with two churches in its municipal square: Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje and Parroquia Mayor. In the second one you will see a huge altar, totally gold plated, and a sculpture –presumed to be unique in the world– which represents Virgin Mary pregnant.

In deed, what has made this simple town so well-known is the traditional parranda, whose origin dates back to the first quarter of the XIX century, dividing the population, since 1871, into two bands: San Salvador and El Carmen, represented by a rooster and a sparrow hawk, respectively. Both of them fight in the midst of smartness, imagination, music and noise from the night of the 24 of December until the next morning.

From Caibarién, a town of fishermen surrounded by deep waters with important lobster farms, a cause way on the sea more than 48 kilometers long links the north keys to the mainland; two of them: Las Brujas (with a small aerodrome) and Santa María already have facilities for accommodation.

Cayo Santa María, baptized as the white rose of Jardines del Rey, is merely 13 kilometers long. It is mostly covered by excellent beaches of very fine sand; clean, quiet and transparent waters; where the sea bottom –with abundant formations of Coral and a great diversity of sea species– invite visitors to practice Scuba Diving and under water photo shooting.

In the environment of the keys of the north of Villa Clara itself, it is possible to find interesting proposals for the lovers of nature tourism and archeology in the caves of Pelo de Oro or El Muñeco. As well as planning excursions to the near Faro Caimán Grande (Caimán Grande Lighthouse) or the San Pascual Molasses ship, an authentic relic of naval industry, which is today a floating hotel.

Villa Clara has other attractions like Lake Hanabanilla, one of the biggest artificial water reservoirs in the country, built right next to the mountainous region of Escambray where you will find a reserve of flora and fauna, and the resort of Elguea which treasures mineral-medicinal and thermal waters.

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