Santa Clara, Cuba • Come for Che, Stay for a Cristal

Santa Clara is Cuba’s 5th largest city but other than the mausoleum of Che Guevara there really isn’t much else to see and do, I was there for less than 24 hours and that was more than enough time. It lacks the charm of Havana and has very little by way of tourist attractions and even amenities – but if you are going all the way to Cuba I guess you should go see Che memorial, at least that’s what I thought, and if you do stay the night I know a great place for a drink!

Located in the centre of the city in Parque Vidal is the Hotel Santa Clara Libre. The hotel was involved in the Battle of Santa Clara and you can see some bullet holes that litter the façade. It’s not much to look at from the outside, well actually it’s a mint-green, skyscraping eyesore built in the 50’s but the view from the roof is fabulous. You have to pay a small fee to go up to the roof top bar, but once you get up there the drinks are cheap and the view is fantastic, you can see right across the city. Although the rooftop bar is more of a concrete cage I think it’s worth the trip up – it’s actually quite a pleasant place to sit and look out across the city, catching the evening breeze while drinking a nice cheap Cristal. I believe the bar even transforms into a night club later on in the evening but sadly I didn’t stay long enough to experience that.

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Photo Credits: Emily Wilson

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