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Villa Clara Province and its capital Santa Clara are seldom visited by tourists. Good Atlantic beaches do exist, but they're often overshadowed by those of Varadero, Cayo Coco, and Holguin. Santa Clara and the museum town of Remedios contain some worthy colonial architecture, but not as much as Havana, Trinidad, Camaguey, and Santiago de Cuba.

This makes Villa Clara a fresh, appealing destination for the Cuba visitor trying to get off the beaten track. The province's picture-perfect south depicted in several of our travel photos beckons to the ecotourist.

Santa Clara was the scene of the last decisive battle of the Cuban Revolution when fighters led by Ernesto Che Guevara captured an armored train carrying hundreds of Batista's troops on December 29, 1958. The dictator fled Cuba two days later and Fidel Castro was finally able to come down out of the mountains to proclaim the victory of the revolution.

(The 1990 Robert Redford film Havana touches on these events.) Today a huge bronze statue of Che Guevara stands in a square on the edge of Santa Clara, above a museum recalling these historic events.

All the photos on are by David Stanley, original author of Lonely Planet Cuba.
The images on this page are details. To view the complete photos, click on the thumbnails.

Verdant countryside south of Manicaragua
in southern Villa Clara Province.
Cuba welcomes visitors. This Caribbean country offers a unique and very different travel experience.

Armored train destroyed by Che Guevara in 1958.

Teatro La Caridad on Parque Vidal, Santa Clara.

All eyes on the scale at Sunday's Sandino Market, Santa Clara.

The Parochial Church in the small town of Remedios.

Flower vendors on Parque Vidal, Santa Clara.

Horsemen on the move in the Escambray Mountains.

Lake Hanabanilla in Villa Clara Province.

A fishing boat at Caibarien on the Atlantic coast.