Here Are the Top 6 Things to Do in Santa Clara

Seemingly located in middle-of-nowhere Cuba, Santa Clara is the liberal capital of the country known for its revolutionary spirit, a famous university, and many historical monuments, including where Che Guevara is buried. Our local insider Evie shows us around.

Che Guevara Mausoleum

Che Guevara Mausoleum. Photo credit: Evie Cheung

If you talk to Santa Clara locals, they’ll be proud that their national hero, the lauded Ernesto “Che” Guevara, is buried there. Though originally from Argentina, Che was one of the leaders of the Revolution, having spearheaded the movement alongside Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos.

On this monument, you’ll see the words “Hasta la victoria siempre,” which translates as “To victory, always,” a famous phrase that branded the Revolution. 

To get there, you can either take a horse-drawn carriage from the town square or brave the 30-40min walk in the Cuban heat.

The Armored Train Park (El Tren Blindado)

The Armored Train Park. Photo credit: Evie Cheung

As a monumental piece of Cuban Revolution history, The Armored Train Park is one of the most visited attractions in Santa Clara. This event ended the Battle of Santa Clara and was a turning point in the Revolution. 

In an attempt to thwart the rebels, Fulgencio Batista sent a train from Havana to Santa Clara, loaded with hundreds of soldiers and supplies. 18 guerrilla rebels attacked the train, and Che himself is credited with derailing it entirely by bulldozing 30 meters of train tracks.

Today, you can visit the original site and see historical black and white photos from that day.

To get there, you can walk, which takes about 20min from the city center, or lounge in a horse-drawn carriage which will cost you about 1 CUC.

Leoncio Vidal Park (Parque Vidal)

Located in the middle of the city, Leoncio Vidal Park is a favorite place for locals to gather and pass the time.

Here, you’ll find a relaxing atmosphere, well-manicured foliage, and the famous statue El Niño de La Bota (The Boy with the Leaking Boot), one of the symbols of the city.

El Niño de La Bota statue. Photo credit: Evie Cheung

The park is dedicated to Leoncio Vidal y Caro, a resilient colonel, who is remembered as a hero of the Cuban War of Independence against Spain.

To get there, it’s easy walking distance from the majority of hotels and casa particulares that you would stay in. Take note that the streets around the park are closed to cars to preserve the environment. 

Catedral de Las Hermanas Santa Clara Asis

This beautiful cathedral was the center of controversy in 1923, as it was originally built to replace the original church in the center of Parque Vidal.

Now located three blocks west of the park, it’s the home of beautiful stained-glass windows and a white statue of the Virgin Mary.

Teatro La Caridad

As one of the few remaining colonial theatres in the country, Teatro La Caridad is now preserved as a national monument. It’s one of the Eight Grand Theatres of the Cuban Colonial era.

Unfortunately, it’s closed to public functions, but we’ve seen a few travellers slip a few CUC to whoever is working the entrance, and discover a world of interior architecture from a different time.

El Mejunje

Looking for an authentic, off the beaten path experience? While it may not be in all of the tourist books, El Mejunje is definitely worth a visit during your time in Santa Clara. It’s an icon of the city and LGBT center.

It houses various art pieces from political Cuban artists and hosts many local events. Once a year, it hosts the Cuban Pride Parade.

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Put down the cigars and step out of the vintage cars! Explore historical sites of revolution, taste peso food, or go diving among vibrant marine life.

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