Parque Serafín Sánchez

Sancti Spíritus

While not Cuba's shadiest or most atmospheric square, pretty Serafín Sánchez is full of understated Sancti Spíritus elegance. Metal chairs laid out inside the pedestrianized central domain are usually commandeered by cigar-smoking grandpas and flirty young couples with their sights set on some ebullient local nightlife.

There's plenty to whet the appetite on the square's south side, where the stately Casa de la Cultura often exports its music on to the street. Next door the columned Hellenic beauty that today serves as the Biblioteca Provincial Rubén Martínez Villena was built originally in 1929 by the Progress Society.

The magnolia-colored grande dame on the square's northern side is the former La Perla hotel, which lay rotting and unused for years before being turned into a three-level government-run shopping center.