Villa Clara.– A province with beautiful landscapes and attractions, Villa Clara offers lakes, mountains, colonial towns, burgeoning cities, stunning beaches, and a proud history as the site of the Sculptural Complex where the remains of Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara and his comrades from the guerilla struggle in Bolivia, rest.
The province also enjoys the privilege of being home to the city of San Juan de los Remedios, the eighth settlement founded by the Spanish in Cuba, as well as a spa resort with mineral-medicinal and thermal baths in Elguea, and Hanabanilla, the largest lake found in the country’s mountains.
To this must be added the expansion of tourist offers in the northern keys off Caibarién, an area blessed by nature, with beautiful beaches and various other attractions. This site received the benefits of the Revolution, thanks to the extraordinary vision of Fidel, who during the toughest days of the Special Period, envisioned transforming the area into a hotel resort reached directly from the mainland via a causeway.
It is there, on the islet of Las Brujas, where the Sercotel Experience Cayo Santa María can be found. The complex is situated near one of the best beaches in the Jardines del Rey archipelago, and after opening its doors last March, hosted the inauguration of the International Tourism Fair FITCuba 2018, held from May 2-6, and dedicated this year to beach offers and the United Kingdom.
Among the attractions of this resort, which boasts 600 rooms, is the fact that it is all-inclusive, offering visitors not only crystal clear waters and fine sand beaches, but also various food and drink options in several bars and restaurants.
The site also offers 14 blocs of bungalows, each with 48 rooms, for a genuinely Caribbean experience. Added to this are two natural swimming pools, an internet café, tennis court, wifi zone, beauty parlor, medical station, parking, as well as car and motorbike hire services, among other options.
Managed by Spanish firm Sercotel, the recently inaugurated hotel is set in a prime location close to the Santa María and Ensenacho islets, home to other famous establishments - as well as a short distance from the marina and one of the largest dolphin centers in Latin America.
The best way to reach the resort is via the 50 kilometer causeway, which also features the same number of bridges, and was awarded the Alcántara Ibero-American Bridge Prize for the Best Civil Work, representing an additional attraction for tourists.
MORE THAN SUN, SEA & SAND
In honor of FITCuba 2018, authorities from the province and Ministry of Tourism, launched a broad investment program which includes new works, and redevelopments, not only on the northern keys where the main activities of the fair took place, but also in cities such as Santa Clara, Remedios, Caibarién, Camajuaní, and Sagua la Grande.
According to Regla Dayamy Armenteros Mesa, Ministry of Tourism representative in the province, works include the construction of several hotels, restoration of patrimonial establishments, and improvements to Villa Clara’s network of non-hotel services, above all in the area from Santa Clara to Caibarién, and Sagua la Grande, which was presented as a tourist destination during the fair.
Meanwhile, in Santa Clara, the hotel Floreale is set to be completed shortly, followed by the Florida, while the Central Hotel was recently remodeled.
Likewise, two hotels in Remedios, the Bauzá and Leyenda, are under construction, as well as the Sagua and Palacio Arenas in Sagua la Grande, all of which will be four-star establishments, as part of the Encanto hotels collection. These new facilities will help expand lodging options in the province and benefit cultural/heritage tourism, an increasingly popular modality, especially among European visitors, according to the representative.
As part of the investment program, the Palmares enterprise also undertook various works in these areas, including the refurbishment of the Europa cafeteria, Bar Club Boulevar, and Don Antonio restaurant, all in the provincial capital, which will soon have its very own Bodeguita del Medio, noted Alberto López Díaz, president of the Provincial Assembly of People’s Power in Villa Clara.
The city’s Arco Iris recreational complex is also being redeveloped, and will feature new restrooms, electronic and traditional games, simulators, and gastronomic offers, with a view to transforming the area into an attractive option for families from the province, according to the Cuban official.
Other municipalities benefiting from the effort include Camajuaní, where improvements were made to the Cinema cafeteria and La Minerva snack bar, now a pleasant rest stop for those traveling along the highway to the northern keys. Meanwhile the Bahía Grill and Villa Nuova pizzeria are set to open in the municipality, as well as the La Ruina restaurant and Villa Blanca center, featuring a bar, snack bar, candy store, ice-cream parlor, party space, and kids play area, and is hoped will become one of Palmares’ top attractions in Camajuaní.
Another important initiative undertaken in honor of the fair, was the expansion of the La Granjita and Caneyes hotels, which now boast new lodging options in the form of cabins, ready to accommodate visitors to Santa Clara, stated Omar Milián Torres, director of Cuban hotel enterprise Cubanacán, who went on to highlight the benefits of the Santa Clara Bar-Restaurant tourist facility, located near the Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara Sculptural Complex, which features a bar, retail store, market, international pharmacy, restaurant, and recently opened tourist information center.
All these works are being carried out in a sector where revenue is being reinvested into social initiatives.
SAGUA LA GRANDE: A NEW TOURIST DESTINATION
On May 4, as part of the International Tourism Fair, a new tourist destination was launched: Sagua la Grande, a city with extraordinary patrimonial and cultural assets, where an ambitious redevelopment process is currently underway across its main institutions.
Regarding tourist offers, investment works are being carried out at the hotel Sagua, a four-story establishment, with rooms covering three levels and the fourth reserved for services; as well as the Palacio Arenas, considered to be one of the seven architectural wonders of Villa Clara, while works will recommence on the El Triunfo Bridge, one of the most iconic symbols of the city.
Works are also underway to complete improvements to a section of the main boulevard, Coppelia ice-cream parlor, clubs, pizzerias; repairs to the Sagua cinema and Alcázar theater, as well as the installation of new lights, benches, pavements, green areas in the Parque Central, and the construction of the Gran Rey cafeteria and La Jungla bar.
According to Regla Dayamy Armenteros, also underway as part of investments being carried out in Sagua la Grande – which aim to transform this city into an attractive tourist destination – is a project to build a marina in Isabela de Sagua, in order to facilitate visitor arrivals and excursions to the idyllic Esquivel islet and Mulata beach, off Villa Clara’s northern coastline.
The Cubita coffee store and Tabaco shop are also undergoing improvements, while the old Casino Español is set to be redeveloped alongside other facilities that will contribute to the development of tourism in the city, declared a National Monument in 2011.