Santa Clara is synonymous with Che Guevara. This city was the scene of the final battle of the Revolution, and subsequently the final resting place of Guevara himself. Most visitors just pass through Santa Clara on their journey across the island – stopping off to pay their respects at the Che Guevara Memorial, the huge Che statue, the Che museum and the site of a train derailed by the guerrillas, with exhibits inside the actual carriages.
Camagüey may not roll off the tongue when thinking of cities in Cuba – but it is the island’s third largest, and well worth exploring for a couple of days. The city is nicknamed “The Maze” – El Laberinto – thanks to its crazy, confusing streets – but this was no result of bad planning. Camagüey was designed this way to confuse invading pirates. These days, confused tourists can avoid getting lost by taking a tour by bicitaxi. There are numerous hidden plazas, large earthenware water pots and pretty churches are characteristic – as is the Ballet of Camaguey, the best outside Havana.