If you’re heading to Santa Clara, the capital city of Villa Clara smack in the center of Cuba, you’ll find yourself amongst 200,000 locals and the final resting place of the famous Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevara. The following eight attractions make the hit list of both Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet and ensure your visit includes the major attractions of this small city.
1. Conjunto Escultorico Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara
Easily the largest draw for tourists and visitors, the popular museum, mausoleum and monument is well situated on a hill overlooking the city.
Limited time, long lines, no access to cameras or bags, and reduced toilet facilities somehow don’t detract from the peaceful atmosphere that is a literal shrine to Cuban’s revered revolutionary. The highly secure and beautiful mausoleum features an eternal flame lit by Castro in 1997 and the small, intimate museum next door has a wide variety of interesting information on Che and his life, giving context to this national hero.
Bring a Spanish dictionary as all descriptive plaques are only in Spanish.
2. Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado aka The Boxcar Museum
This site honors the 90-minute battle where Guevara and 18 revolutionaries derailed a military train in 1958 and in doing so, the dictatorship, after which Castro has since reigned.
A quick but vital visit for anyone interested in Cuba’s recent history.
3. Fabrica de Tabacos Constantino Perez Carrodegua aka Tobacco Factory
While the rum is cheap and coffee strong, the real reason anyone comes here are the world-renowned cigars. This factory is one of Cuba’s best, featuring high quality, name brand cigars, in a more intimate setting than the more popular Havana sites. The tobacco factory is opened everyday and you can visit it between 09.00-11.00 and 13.00-15.00. Entrance fee is 1CUC.
4. Teatro la Caridad
If you’re lucky, you can catch a live concert in this impressive venue with great acoustics, but if not, you should still visit and appreciate the detailed carvings and painted ceiling of this well-restored Colonial theater.
5. Club Mejunje
An art gallery alongside graffiti-ed walls, classic salsa dancing one night and a drag show the next, this institution reflects its name of Mejunje or mixed. A must visit for any culture vultures; concerts are both indoors and outdoors and feature traditional and cutting edge entertainment.
6. Parque Leoncio Vidal
Full of energy and locals and surrounded by classic Cuban architecture, this park is a great spot to add to your itinerary. If it’s 8pm on Thursday or Sunday, you will find yourself being welcomed by the municipal orchestra into the country’s busiest and quintessential urban locales. Stop by the legendary dive bar Marquesina for a drink.
7. Catedral de las Santas Hermanas de Santa Clara de Asis
This well maintained 1923 church is a good spot to visit for some peaceful reflection, as well as to appreciate the stained glass windows.
8. Estatua Che y Niño
Located in front of the Officina de la Provincia on a main road, this detailed and impressive statue from 1988 also has a number of smaller sculptures and symbols incorporated into Guevara’s uniform telling his life story.
Book a Casa Particular in Santa Clara
Make sure to book your casa particular if you want to avoid any hassle in finding one when you arrive, especially in high season. We offer a wide range of Casas Particulares in Santa Clara which you can book in advance, just browse our site, make your selection and book your casa with ease.