Santa Clara is known around the world as the City of Che. This was the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary war. The city is a celebration of the revolutionary leader.
But Santa Clara and the province of Villa Clara is much more than this.
Come with us to explore the uncelebrated eighth founding city, learn about tobacco, experience the final battle of the revolution with a participant, and visit some of Cuba’s most interesting gardens.
Remedios and more
Between Santa Clara and the sea is the small town of Remedios. Principally known to tourists for its Christmas celebrations, this area has maintained its traditions and ancient rivalries for centuries. To get there we take a step back in time with a visit to an old sugar factory and a ride an ancient steam train. A tour of the lovely centre of Remedios is highlighted with a visit to the church – one of the very few with a golden alter (as in real gold – not paint) it is more reminiscent of the alters of Latin America than Cuba. Lunch on a farm where we learn about growing tobacco. After lunch a visit to the local tobacco factory to see how leaves become cigars.
The Battle for Santa Clara
Come back with us to December 1958. Santa Clara is under bombardment from the skies and from the hills overlooking the city. The revolutionaries have blocked the way south for an armoured train, which is now holding the revolutionary army at bay. With a participant of that battle relive his life, his time in the Lucha Clandestina and the days of that battle in and around Santa Clara. Visit to the monument of Che Guevara.
Gardens of Central Cuba
Between the towns of Santa Clara and Cienfuegos we visit 5 gardens of special interest. In Santa Clara we visit a social gardening project dedicated to Che, which uses gardening as therapy for recovering alcoholics and drug abusers. In the dry lands west of the city we encounter Cuba’s largest and best collection of cacti. For lunch, a breathtaking orchid garden tucked into the folds of the Escambray. In the late 19th century, an American sugar baron began a garden. Today that garden has been preserved with its exotic species trees, and banks of bamboo from around the world. In Cienfuegos we visit the private collection of an orchid aficiando.
The Escambray Mountains
The mountains between Santa Clara and Trinidad are beautiful in all seasons. Cool streams, deep forests, small villages, and country farms make this a spectacular drive. Lunch on a local farm with time for a swim. A great way to rest between tours of these two cities.