The city of Santa Clara is the capital of the province of Villa Clara located towards the northern central part of the island. It is one of the largest cities in population with approximately 175 000 inhabitants. It was founded close to the Belico and Cubanicay Rivers in 1689.
Santa Clara is very clean and calm city; it conserves a valuable architecture with neo-classic styles, among them: Provincial Palace which dates back to 1922; Museum of Decorative Arts, with a broad collection of colonial antiquities and furniture of a variety of styles; La Caridad Theatre of 1885 and the Leoncio Vidal Park, among others.
This city played an important role, in the Independence War in the 19th century as well as the fight against the Batista dictatorship at the end of the 1950´s. In the city of Santa Clara and the rest of the region the figure of legendary guerrilla commander Ernesto Che Guevara stood out. An important event in this region was the famous and definitive Battle of Santa Clara which lasted 90 minutes and marked the final stage of the struggle for the definitive national independence. As a permanent reference point of this historic event, you can visit the Tren Blindado Monument. (Disrail Train Monument). One of the most impressive visits is the Ernesto Che Guevara Memorial located in the plaza (square of same name) wich holds the remain of the Argentine Guerilla commander as well as the remains of his companions who felt in combat in Bolivia in 1967. Che´s remains were brought to Cuba from Bolivia 30 years after his death.
It is worth visiting the surrounding towns like Camaguaní, mainly agricultural municipality with an abundant number of Cigar factories; Remedios; Caibarien, town of fishermen surrounded by deep waters home to lobster farms now with a recently build road of 48 kilometers long called ¨pedraplen¨ which link the main land with northern keys: Las Brujas, Santa Maria, Ensenachos, Cobos, Majá, Fragoso, Frances, Las Picúas and Español de Adentro among others.
The keys´environment is perfect for those that love nature tourism; for those that like archaeology there is the Pelo de Oro or Muñeco Caves; or plans excursions to the close Caiman Grande Lighthouse and the San Pascual ship, an authentic relic of the naval industry which is currently a floating hotel.
The province is the second on the island with mountains, the Escambray which is shared with the provinces of Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus. Other attractions are the Hanabanilla Lake, one of the major artificial reservoirs on the island constructed on the foothills of a mountain and where you can find flora and fauna reserves in addition to the medicinal-mineral waters and Elguea thermal waters.
Hanabanilla. Cuba river located in the mountainous center of the island. Born in the mountain range known as Guamuhaya Group, the Embalse Hanabanilla it is a tributary of the river Arimao together with the Guanayara, Black and Jivacoa rivers