TBT Travel Diaries // Cuba: Santa Clara to Havana

So if you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve probably seen that I went on the trip of a lifetime last July. I was lucky enough to spend two weeks travelling up the north coast of Cuba, and since I never wrote a full blog post about it, I thought it was about time I shared what I did there (plus a lot of photos from my trip!)

Caibarien, Villa Clara Province

I can honestly say that I got emotional when I first saw Cuba from the sky as we were flying into Santa Clara airport. This was not only a trip I’d spent months planning, but a country I’d wanted to visit for such a long time (and also a part of the world I’d never travelled to before).

Our first stop in Cuba was Cayo Santa Maria. The Cayos are part of an archipelago just off the coast of the Villa Clara province of the country, linked to the mainland by a 48km causeway which was built in the 90’s in order to widen Cuba’s tourist market after the US blockade on the country ceased most of their trading opportunities. This is essentially the tourist sector of the country, filled with all inclusive resorts and white sand beaches that stretch for miles.

Camajuani, Villa Clara Province
Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa Maria

Although I had a wonderful time relaxing on these gorgeous beaches, I’m not one of those people who can travel halfway across the world just for a rest, so I was definitely excited to get out and see ‘the real Cuba’.

Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara
Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara

Our next stop was the city of Santa Clara, around a two hour drive through small villages and the Cuban countryside from Cayo Santa Maria. Santa Clara is primarily known for being the city where the last battle of the revolution occurred in 1958, and you can still visit the derailed supply train which was ambushed by the guerrilla troops during the battle. Of course, we also had to take a trip to the mausoleum of Che Guevara. You can’t take cameras inside the actual mausoleum (which is partly the burial site of Guevara and his troops, and partly a museum of his life) but above are a few photos from the outside of the site.

the derailed train in Santa Clara
Santa Clara
Santa Clara

We didn’t spend too long in the centre of Santa Clara as we had mainly visited the city to see the historical sites, but what we did see was full of brightly coloured colonial buildings, art galleries and street vendors.

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We also stopped off at Remedios, one of the oldest Spanish settlements in Cuba. Remedios is a small town but full of history – it was under constant siege from pirates during the 17th century, and its town square is framed by two beautiful colonial style churches – one, the Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Remedios, featuring an altar made of gold (hence the previously mentioned constant pirate attacks).

Cigar and rum store, Havana
view of the city from el Christo de la Habana

Our final big stop was, of course, Havana. This city completely captured my heart – the people, the laid back atmosphere (despite it being a capital city) the way that the building styles change throughout the city – we only spent two days in Havana but I definitely could’ve spent a lot longer wandering around its back streets.

Plaza de la Revolución, Havana
Plaza de la Revolución, Havana
Mosque in Havana Old Town
Havana Old Town
Havana Old Town
Havana Old Town
view of Havana from the FOCSA building, the tallest building in Cuba
Almacenes San Jose, Havana

I absolutely adored my time in Cuba and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, or to go back if I ever get the chance to. It’s a country so rich in history, filled with beautiful architecture and inhabited by the friendliest people – and on top of all that, you’re surrounded by a clear blue sea and walking around in the Caribbean heat. Let us know if you’ve been to Cuba yourself or want to travel there!
lots of love,

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14 thoughts on “TBT Travel Diaries // Cuba: Santa Clara to Havana

  1. Ahh, I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba. This all looks gorgeous 😍😍. I’ve always wanted to see Havana, it looks incredible in your photos!

    Liked by 1 person

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