Santa Clara and Remedios

Santa Clara is an important university town. It is not much visited by tourists, but it deserves to be. Relatively slow riders like ourselves can start from Cienfuegos in mid-morning, have lunch in Palmyra, and arrive in late afternoon.

In Santa Clara, this statue of Che Guevara stands in front of the provincial PCC, the Communist Party of Cuba. Che led the rebels in the battle of Santa Clara, a decisive victory over Batista's army that led directly to the triumph of the revolution. Just outside town is an awesome memorial to Che.

Parque Vidal in the center of Santa Clara is a handsome square, one of the most impressive in Cuba, full of families and children on warm evenings and busy all the time. There is a pedestrian mall just one block to the north, with sidewalk cafes and restaurants. Here, a goat cart takes children for a ride around the park. Santa Clara is a lively, congenial city.

Remedios, only 47 kilometers from Santa Clara, is one of the oldest towns in Cuba. Remedios is often compared to Trinidad. That is an overstatement, but Remedios certainly has antique charm. While it lacks Trinidad's rich selection of restaurants, galleries, and music, it also lacks crowds of tourists — which can be an attraction in itself.

The ride from Santa Clara to Remedios passes through areas with small farms, diverse vegetation, and the hills of the Alturas de Santa Clara. From Remedios it is possible to return to Santa Clara, making a pleasant two-day loop, or to continue in a single day to Sancti Spiritus. Here we are asking directions before leaving Remedios.