Though touched by historic events since its founding, today’s Santa Clara is known as ‘Che’s Town’.
SANTA CLARA, CUBA
Casa Particular ~ Casa Diana
Well located, simple, clean, comfortable and Diana is a pleasant hostess. (re photos: those are our bags on the second bed, sorry.) A number of pillow choices are stacked beside the tv. The room has a small fridge, fan, air-conditioner and private bathroom. Breakfast was served in the kitchen; we liked that.
Owner: Dr. Diana Lourdes Romero Campos (doctor of dentistry)
Address: Colon 236, e/ Sindico y Nazareno, Santa Clara, V.C. Cuba C.P. 50100
Phone: 53 (01 42) 203815
SIGHTSEEING IN SANTA CLARA
Santa Clara (founded in 1689) has many historical buildings but it is more recent history which attracts many of today’s young travelers. This is known as Che’s Town. This is where revolutionaries under the command of Ernesto Che Guevara waged the Battle of Santa Clara; a blow which was the beginning of the end of General Fulgencio Batista regime and allowed Fidel Castro’s forces to claim victory. Santa Clara is where Che is entombed and a number of monuments pay tribute to his life and the Battle of Santa Clara.
SANTA CLARA TOURS
GAP Adventures has a number of tour options for Cuba; the longest being their 15 day Colonial Tour. Many of the historical city centers are small so we encourage you to tour on your own by walking and/or using bicitaxis and cocotaxis. It can be more affordable, more flexible and more fun than an organized tour. Take a Lonely Planet guide book with you for detailed information about the sights to see.
Remember to take some time, tuck the guide book away, and just enjoy watching citizens going about their daily lives.
SANTA CLARA NIGHTLIFE
You may not know what is happening, but in Santa Clara it is bound to be happening at Club El Mejunje (#12 Calle Marta Abreu). In the ruins of a roofless building with a tree now it’s steady occupant, Club Mejunje hosts nightly events. The night we were there it was salsa dancing in the early evening and later we came back to catch the end scenes of a comedy play. We hear on Saturday nights there is a drag show, but we didn’t have to wait until Saturday as some “dragsters” became our dancing partners. A most memorable night. Buy something from the bar or bring in your own.
FOOD & DRINK IN HAVANA
For decades Cuba has been criticized for its bland and unimaginative food. Other than street pizzas, Cubans tend to eat at home … mostly for economic reasons. When Cuba reopened it’s doors to tourist in 1997 and began allowing casa particulars (similar to B&Bs) visitors to this country had an opportunity to enjoy home cooked meals. Some of Cubas best and most reasonably priced meals can be enjoyed in casa particulars. For dinners and lunches the choice is usually chicken, pork, fish or vegetarian.
Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners: In Vinales we had breakfast and dinners at Villa Basita which were tasty and always plentiful; so much so that we only had a light snack mid-day. After touring the island for three weeks we rated Basita’s chicken the best in Cuba.
Water: Drinking water in Cuba, for visitors, should be bottled. Most Cubans boil the water they use. At Villa Basita guests are treated to complimentary bottled water.
Drinks: Cuba is famous for it’s rum. Individual purchased drinks are tourist priced. Buying a bottles of rum and mix at a bar and mixing your own is common in Cuba. Beer brands ‘Bucanero’ and its lighter version ‘Cristal’ are the two most popular beer offered. A great people watching place with reasonably priced individual drinks in Vinales is a little bar with outside tables on the north-west corner across from church square.
Snacks: Pop, chips and cookies are luxury items and are sold in Cuban Convertible pesos (CUC$) – the “tourist pesos”. National pesos (CUP) which you can get at a Cadeca (change booth) – CUC$1 = 24 national pesos. You can buy local goods like street pizza for around 45¢ US, a fresh loaf of bread (approx 12¢), ice cream cone (approx 7¢) or a glass of sugar cane juice (approx 8¢).
GETTING AROUND HAVANA
An easy, comfortable and inexpensive way to go between Havana and Vinales is by ViaZul Bus. These buses are equipped with toilet and air conditioning. Two trips per day book up ahead of time so make sure to buy your ticket at least the day before departure.