In the central park you will find one of the most popular bars in Santa Clara- "The Marquee". It is located right next to the Teatro de La Caridad. The nightlife is guaranteed in this beautiful city in the centre of the island. Local bars such as Cari have live music, the Tope (on the rooftop of Hotel Santa Clara Libre), the Forest Spectacular, Cabaret Venice (in the national currency) and others. There is a multicultural place called "El Mejunje" where each day has a different theme. Every Friday is dedicated to traditional Cuban music and on Saturday it becomes the best gay hangout in Cuba. Good places to eat are: "El Reservado" or "1830". Without a doubt, Santa Clara is a city to fall in love with and to return to.
One of the most important battles for the triumph of the Cuban Revolution took place in Santa Clara, in which Che had a very important role. It is because of this that when they killed Che, Cuba decided to take his body, and cremate him in Santa Clara Ernesto Guevara Memorial, where presumably the remains of Che, and most of the guerrillas who accompanied remain to this day.
The Beach of Cayo Santa Maria is connected with the Sol Cayo Santa Maria. It's a large expanse of white sand, lapped by the warm waters of the Atlantic. It's a great place for relaxing and reading. It's recommended to spend a few days before in Havana, buy some books at any of the many bookstores in the city (edited numerous books about Cuban culture and others that talk about their difficult relationships with the American state. I really did learn a lot through these texts and during a short week relaxing on the beach, you can browse your purchases. All this area, as the hotel is connected with the seafaring Caibarién through a causeway, paved road that has been built to access the key as a kind of tiny island that is far from the island and surrounded by sea and small marshes. Due to where we can also come up against numerous tropical storms, meteorological phenomena to behold as they come and go as they please. Something curious in the area is that to protect the revolution and as a control of what is happening in Cuba, these areas have cameras that even given their size, they're not too intimidating. There are also topless areas which are quite well hidden you only have to walk a short distance from the hotel area.
We made history on December 29, 1958, when Ernesto Che Guevara and a group of 18 young revolutionaries, rifle in hand, derailed an armored train with an excavator and homemade Molotov cocktails. The battle lasted 90 minutes and decided the fate of the Batista dictatorship, leading to fifty years of Fidel Castro's socialist regime. We approached the train tracks on the spot where the derailment occurred, east of Independence. Once there, and after paying 1 CUC for entry to investigate the cars with bullet holes and with recreations of some inside in others, to get an idea of how it all happened. The excavator has its own stand at the entrance, as a national hero.
The return trip to Havana from Cayo Santa María on a domestic flight was a wonderful experience. A hot sunny day, I could see the Cayo Santa Maria and Varadero coast. In the photos I've shown both perspectives, that island which is connected to the mainland by a causeway is the Cayo area with its beaches and the other photos are part of the resorts of Varadero. Incredible!
I had expected more, placed on a pedestal and worshiped as an icon of the city that seems to live by and for Che. But there is the other side of the city, which is much more intimate and elaborate than that presiding over the grand mausoleum and museum that welcomes us into Santa Clara.
You need to walk roughly 15 minutes and leave behind the Monument to the armored train that takes us to the front of the Provincial Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba. Here, the statue, which seems to fill your entire view, shows Che with a small Cuban child (symbolising the next generation) on his shoulders.
And if you were to look more attently, and it's imperative that you do, you can find smaller sculptures incorporated into the revolutionary uniforms, depicting moments of his life. There are also portraits of the 38 men that were killed with Guevara in Bolivia hidden in the belt buckle. The work is the product of the artist Marroyo Basque Casto, who used her son Sandro as a model for the child who Che has on his shoulders. It's worth coming to visit the statue to admire a something slightly different to the typical effigies that you might find of Che on the island.
This quintessential Cuban park is named after Colonel Leoncio Vidal and Caro, who were killed at the site on March 23, 1896. In the shade of the palm trees, Vidal park is adorned with monuments of prodigal sons of the city, among which are Vidal and the philanthropist Marta Abreu. Many prominent buildings border the perimeter, including the Teatro La Caridad from 1885 which was one of the great theaters in this province during colonial times due to its frescoes inside done by Zalaya Camilo. There´s also The Museum of Decorative Arts of the eighteenth century which is full of period furniture and the Provincial Palace, a neoclassical gem built between 1902 and 1912 that houses the Martí library. On the corner, a real eyesore stands out in contrast to the the architectural beauties that surround the square. This is the Hotel Santa Clara Libre, a civilian building built in the fifties of the last century. It was originally called the Grand Hotel. A movie theater called ¨Cloris¨was built on the ground floor and today it is one of the most modern of its kind in the Midwest. During the battle of Santa Clara, on December 31, 1958, the hotel was taken over by rebel army troops under the command of Ernesto Guevara because it was the lair of the Military Intelligence Service (SIM) of the dictatorship of Batista. It was and is a symbol of modernity for the inhabitants of the city and also a testament to a break with the past of capitalist decadence. But the real wonder is the Cuban character that shines through - there are no cars, no sellers, no crowds, rush or stress. It´s a space to enjoy the hospitable and friendly character of the Santa Clara-ness.
Alejandro Garcia Caturla was one of the exponents of contemporary Cuban music, and one of its most celebrated and internationally renowned composers. He was born in the town of San Juan de los Remedios.