"Santa Clara - one of my favourite places" Top 5 Page for this destination Santa Clara by Vikingvicki
Santa Clara Travel Guide: 53 reviews and 122 photos
I have been to Santa Clara & just outside 3 times. I much prefer it to Havana, there aren't as many tourists, the pace of life is slower & it just seems REALLY Cuban.
The first time I went I ended up spending the remaining 10 days there instead of travelling around, I just took little excursions from there instead. I rented a room in a private house & I would recommend that any day over taking a hotel, the money goes directly to the Cubans, the food is often very good, you find about about their lives and meet lots of different people as they always seem to have visitors & often they rent out more than 1 room.
The main thing to see in Santa Clara is ofcourse the Che Guevara monument, mauseoleum & the battle monument ->
This is where Che led an imortant ambush on Batistas government troups en route to Havanna. Above Santa Clara on a hilltop there is also a monument that goes with this one, it's a little way out, there isn't much to see but the views over the area are lovely & ofcourse all school children have to go see this important part of the revolution.
The next 2 times I was there wisiting my friends I stayed at a house outside Santa Clara. This was not legal as my hosts didn't have official permission to have a foreigner living there, so they took a great risk having me stay there. I was so nervous every time we saw a police or military vehicle. Not for myself as probably nothing would happen to me - but they could have been imprisoned & lose everything. MUCHISSIMA GRACIAS MI AMIGOS !
It was the most wonderful time of my life, these people have almost nothing and yet they are the most generous people I have ever met. If I bought them chocolate or drinks or anything, they immediatley also offered it to people dropping in, instead of as we often do - save it for a special occasion - no it was to be enjoyed by as many people as possible. It made me very ashamed of myself, even though I am not ungenerous or mean & since then I try my hardest to follow their example.
The house has no hot water, no toilet plumbing - but coffee, limes & some Cuban fruit grow right outside the door & rice is across the little stream at the back.
The 2nd time I was there, Cuba was hit by the worst hurricane for many years and we had to spend the night in the local train station. It was the only place in the area which was built sturdily enough to be completely safe, so all the people from the area brough all their valuables ( tv, radios, fridges, beds etc) to the station and we camped out there for the night. Made dinner on improvised gas stoves, played cards, listened to the radio and waited. I have to say I missed the height of the storm, I was tired and slept through it all........ well, there wasn't really anything to see, it was dark & very windy that's all ! This did ofcourse give me the opportunity to see the inside & workings of a railway station ( again totally impossible and illegal for foreigners) - I don't know much about these things, but I have a feeling time has stood still here in about 1965'ish. Have a look at the control panel behind the 2 ( original)cheeky girls.
- Pros:Smaller, quieter
- In a nutshell:My favorite place
Went to Camaguey by train & came back by bus as there were no trains. Non tourist buses in Cuba are just as unreliable... more travel advice
A 10 minute communal horse carriage (Santa clara's local bus system) ride out of town ( costs about 1 peso), I think it... more travel advice
Vikingvicki's Related Pages
Santa Clara Travel Guide
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