After Che Guevara liberated this city in 1958, the area continued its revolutionary path, eventually leading to edgy cultural developments.
Tour the city of Santa Clara to see the familiar images of Che, one of the world’s most famous revolutionaries. Alongside these historic monuments are opportunities to explore the more modern features of the city, including restaurants and clubs stretching the traditional bounds of freedom.
The Argentine medical student Che Guevara became an activist and guerrilla warrior in the 1950s and joined the Castro brothers in overthrowing Cuba’s Batista presidency. As you stroll through Santa Clara, look for the monuments memorializing the bitter battle here that ensured a victory for the revolutionaries.
Visit the Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado where Guevara and his band of young fighters successfully overtook an armored train using a bulldozer and homemade explosives. Nearby is a statue of Che holding a small child, showing his gentler side. The Che Guevara Mausoleum holds the remains of the revolutionary and other fighters who died with him in the failed overthrow of the Bolivian government in 1967. Gaze up at the 22-foot-tall (7-meter) statue of the revered local hero and explore all aspects of his harsh and fascinating life in the Che Guevara Museum.
Apart from learning about the battled history of the city, enjoy its cultural activities. Step inside the 1885 Teatro la Caridad to see its stunning ceiling fresco painted by Camilo Salaya. Visit the modernized Club Mejunje to dance, have cocktails on the balcony and read the walls of graffiti. This was originally a meeting point for gays and transsexuals and has become a popular spot for all Santa Clara visitors. For quieter moments attend Mass at Catedral de Las Santas Hermanas Santa Clara Asis.
Santa Clara is in central Cuba, about a 3-hour drive from Havana. Come here to purchase authentic Cuban cigars and learn the truth about the bereted man whose face you’ve seen on T-shirts around the world, Che Guevara.