Central Cuba, especially the provinces of Villa Clara, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus, offers a wide range of tourist options for vacationers interested in learning about the Caribbean Island's history and nature.
South of the city of Santa Clara, the capital of Villa Clara province, lies the Cubanacán Protected Area, a natural paradise and a safe haven for amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds, including ten endemic species.
In addition, the Escambray Mountain Range, characterized by steep slopes and winding roads amid thick forests, is home to the last flocks of parrots in the province.
The region boasts a peculiar town, San Juan de los Remedios, which was the eighth village founded by the Spanish conquistadors in Cuba in the 17th century.
The historic heart of Remedios, which was declared a National Monument in 1980, is the José Martí Square, formerly known as the Parochial and Elizabeth II Square. Beautiful flamboyant trees (royal poinciana), and colonial-style buildings like the house of the Royal Second Lieutenant and Las Arcadas, flank the square, which is also close to two churches: Our Lady of the Good Trip and the Parochial Church of Saint John the Baptist.
The latter has a gold-plated altar and a sculpture of a pregnant Immaculate Conception, which experts consider a unique piece in the world.
In Sancti Spiritus stands out the city of Trinidad, which formerly known as Villa de la Santísima Trinidad (Village of the Holy Trinity) and one of the first seven villages founded by the Spanish conquistadors in 1514.
Also called Cuba's City Museum, Trinidad has the privilege of being one of the colonial towns in the country and is among the most complete and best-preserved architectural complexes in the American continent.
Declared Humankind's Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1988, Trinidad was founded by the Guaurabo River, where the Spaniards found aboriginal labor force, fertile lands and excellent ports to prepare their expeditions to conquer the Americas.
Large colonial mansions, luxury palaces and Cuban colonial art turned Trinidad into an undisputable urban and architectural jewel.
The city of Cienfuegos, the capital of the province of the same name and also known as the Pearl of the South, offers vacationers excellent facilities such as the Jagua Hotel.
Cienfuegos is also famous for its natural sites, including the centennial Botanic Gardens (founded in 1901), which covers 97 hectares and holds one of the world's most complete collections of palm trees.
Nature lovers can also visit El Nicho, which is accessed through a road in the Guamuaya mountain range that runs through the Yaguanabo Valley, from where they can have a breathtakingly beautiful view of El Negro waterfalls.