The province of Villa Clara is a traditional sugar, cattle and
mineral producer. Excellent coffee grows on its southern mountain
slopes, as does one of Cuba's important tobacco crops. Hence Santa
Clara has always been an important commercial center and today houses
one of Cuba's largest universities.
A recently built causeway linking the mainland to the keys of Santa
Maria has helped open the beautiful virgin beaches to tourism.
Accessible by a recently built causeway linking the mainland to
the keys, Villa Clara's northern coast counts two pristine beaches:
- Caye Santa María, with 11 km of spectacular sands, is
set in a beautiful natural surrounding.
- The isle of Las Brujas has 2 km of virgin beach.
Hanabanilla Lake is a large, fresh-water mountain reservoir surrounded
by tropical forest of the Escambray Mountains. It is a popular Cuban
fishing spot and includes a flora and fauna reserve.
The Elguea Health Spa lets you dip into its natural medicinal and
thermal baths near the coast of Villa Clara province.
The city was founded in 1689 on the site of the ancient Native
American village of Cubanacan. The coastal population wanted to
flee from the frequent attacks of privateers and pirates, a common
story for many coastal towns.
In 1958, guerilla troops commanded by Ernesto Che Guevara attacked
the industrial centre of Santa Clara after a hard, 400-kilometre
march that had begun in the Sierra Maestra mountains. The dictatorship
finally surrendered to Guevara's troops.
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