What to do in Santa Clara Cuba? Cuba’s city of revolution, in fact the birthplace of the revolution lies about 250kms east of Havana in central Cuba. What can you do in Santa Clara? Well there’s quite a lot!
It’s country’s fifth largest city and one that has held an important place in Cuba’s history since its foundation in 1689. But rather than being a conservative city resting on its heritage, Santa Clara is in fact one of Cuba’s edgiest towns. This is thanks to its youthful population and continuing revolutionary spirit. Wondering what to do in Santa Clara Cuba?
Uncover the Santa Clara’s Revolutionary Heritage
Santa Clara Cuba boasts not one, but two, revolutionary figures, although the first may not be quite so well known to audiences outside of Cuba. Marta Abreu de Estevez was known as the ‘benefactress of the city’ thanks to her numerous philanthropic acts. A known rebel sympathiser in the Cuban War of Independence 1895 – 1898 her husband became the first Vice President of an independent Cuba in 1902. Marta Abreu de Estevez‘s philanthropic legacy can still be found right across Santa Clara. She was responsible for the building of the Santa Clara train station and later the Teatro de la Caridad.
The Che Guevara Mausoleum
The Che Guevara Mausoleum is the final resting place of well known revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara and is very much intrinsically linked with Santa Clara. It mainly stems from the fact that Che Guevara was heavily involved in the last battle of the Cuban Revolution that took place in Santa Clara in late 1958. A column of troops led by Guevara that derailed a train full of government soldiers and supplies sent to defend the city against the revolutionaries. This victory turned the tide of the war in favour of Castro’s revolution.
A decisive moment in the revolution, the dictator Batista would flee just a few hours later. A rail carriage acts as a tiny museum and memorial, the Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado, to this fateful day.
The earthly remains of Guevara have lain in state here since being returned from Bolivia in 1997. In 1966 he had gone to Bolivia with intentions to broaden the global socialist revolution. On 7th October 1967 he finally captured by Bolivian Government forces and executed by firing squad two days later.
Packed full of information on Che and the revolution, the Che Guevara Mausoleum should be a must on anyone’s list of what to do in Santa Clara Cuba!
Join the Locals and Relax in Parque Vidal
Father Conyedo Monolyth and Teatro de la Caridad in Parque Vidal.
This city square is one of Santa Clara’s most important urban destinations and another hot spot to add to any list of what to do in Santa Clara Cuba. Parque Vidal is a popular meeting place for locals to relax and meet up with friends. The park is full of shady palm trees under which you can escape the midday sun. The park is where local musicians come to perform and on occasion the city’s orchestra performs in the square’s bandstand.
Taking up an entire city block, here you’ll also find a statue to Marta Abreu de Estevez among other works of art. Around the park’s perimeter you’ll find many of the city’s most important and historic buildings including Estevez’s Teatro de la Caridad. Here you’ll also find the Santa Clara Libre (aka The Santa Clara Hilton), the Marti Library (the former city hall), and the Colonia Espanola de Santa Clara centre of dance.
What To Do in Santa Clara Cuba on a Night Out?
For an alternative take on Santa Clara nightlife head local nightclub El Mejunje. It’s home for the LGBTQ+ community in Santa Clara and has fabulous drag shows every Saturday night! Every night of the week, there are theatre plays, poetry recitals and musical performances.
Bar Club Boulevard: One of the most famous clubs in Santa Clara with live performance nightly.
Sótano: In the basement of the Hotel Santa Clara Libre. Resplendent with 1950’s style decor it gets busy on weekends.
For a great Cuban coffee head instead for Café Literario, a popular haunt with the city’s student population. A place to both study and socialise, it’s very much a local hangout.
To try the local cuisine Paladar El Alba is a good place to start. Santa Clara locals know it for its impressive portions of excellent food and its relaxed feel.
Explore Santa Clara’s Urban Art Scene
Street art, or graffiti, doesn’t have to mean hurriedly-sprayed tags that seem to instantly diminish their surroundings. Far from it! The local street artists have gone to great length to create works of art that suit their surroundings. But are also appreciated by the residents of the area. The inter-municipal bus station may not seem like the place to find stunning artworks, this is in fact exactly the case in Santa Clara.
The local graphic artists’ collective called Melaito regularly paint comic book–style murals on the Carretera Central (or Marta Abreu St) between Vidaurreta and Carlos Pichardo streets near the bus station. Also on the walls around the Vanguardia office near Parque Vidal.
Since the murals are constantly changing its difficult to say exactly what you’ll find. But they are generally themed in political satire. Often poking fun at Cuba’s on-again, off-again relationship with the USA. This another must for those wondering what to do in Santa Clara Cuba.
What to do in Santa Clara Cuba
Well now you know the top things to do in Santa Clara. Why not join one of our tours and see with your own eyes all that you’ve read about here. And more!