Introducing Santa Clara
Che city has long been hallowed turf for hero-worshipping, beret-wearing Guevara buffs, but away from the bombastic monuments the city pulsates with a vitality that includes some of the country's most eclectic nighttime entertainment outside Havana. Think a mix of music, theater and dance made in Cuba for Cubans – none of your touristy cabaret shows here. The celebrated cultural scene is thanks to the city boasting the country's second-most prestigious university, a feature that lends it academic airs and a brash youthfulness. Santa Clara might not be pretty like Trinidad, but Cuba's self-styled 'liberal city' with its impromptu concerts, drag shows and heavy-metal festival is certainly full of life, even if it isn't exactly the kind you envisaged experiencing when you booked your trip to Cuba.
Santa Clara is a great springboard, too, for almost anywhere else you want to get to in Cuba: it's no wonder that once Guevara had wrested this city from Batista's grasp the revolution was all but nailed.
Santa Clara destination guides
Family - Viva Cuba!
From tobacco fields to fishing villages, and revolutionist monuments to relaxing beaches, Cuba is home to one of the most captivating cultures in the world. Take in the crumbling facades of colonial buildings, meet chilled out locals puffing on cigars and wiggle your toes in the sand on an isolated beach.
Cuban Highlights Ride
Set off on the ultimate Cuban cycling adventure. Travelling from the crystal waters of Cuban beaches to lush tropical valleys in Topes de Collantes, the Cuban Highlights Ride showcases the very best of this charismatic Caribbean island.