Within its territory are two of the first seven towns founded by the Spaniards in the island: Sancti Spíritus and Trinidad. The Villa del Espíritu Santo (Villa of the Holy Spirit) was founded by Diego Velázquez and Fernández de Córdoba in 1515, about 6 km from its present location. Eight years later it was relocated, achieving great prosperity thanks to the sugar industry.
Capital: Sancti Spíritus Extension: 6 779, 81 sq. km
Municipalities: Sancti Spíritus, Taguasco, Jatibonico, Yaguajay, Cabaiguán, Trinidad, Fomento and La Sierpe
Denonym: espirituano/a Limits: to the north with the Old Channel of Bahamas, to the east with the province of Ciego de Ávila, to the south with the Golfo de Ana María and the Caribbean Sea, and to the west with the provinces of Cienfuegos and Villa Clara.
Access: its main accesses by land are the Autopista Nacional (National Highway,) the Carretera Central (Central National Road) and the north and south circuits and the Central Railway, the Línea Norte (the Northern Line) and the Sancti Spíritus-tunas railway branch line of Zaza. It has two national airports in the cities of Sancti Spíritus and Trinidad.
PLACES OF INTEREST PLAZA SERAFÍN SÁNCHEZ (SQUARE)
Independencia and Máximo Gómez streets
It is a modest central park, named after the patriot Serafín Sánchez, and surrounded by the main buildings of the city built in neoclassical style.
PLAZA HONORATO DEL CASTILLO (SQUARE)
A small square located in the intersection of Jesus Menéndez and Honorato del Castillo streets, it honors the memory of the local hero of the Wars of Independence Honorato del Castillo. In its center it was placed a statue of Rudesindo Antonio García Rojo, a city´s eminent physician.
Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espíritu Santo (Church)
58 Agramonte Oeste, Tel 042 32 4855
Perfectly preserved, this building dates from 1680. The soffits of the main nave and the vaulted roof of the Capilla del Cristo de la Humanidad y la Paciencia (Chapel of Christ of
Humanity and Patience,) make this church one of the most outstanding buildings of the historical center of Sancti Spiritus. It is the second oldest one that is conserved in Cuba, and its tower, erected in 1819, became the highest of the Island.
Museo de Arte Colonial (Museum)
74 Plácido Sur and Jesus Menéndez streets, Tel 041 325455
Located in the striking Palace belonging to Valle Iznaga family dating from the second half of the eighteenth century, it was subsequently subjected to various renovations, leaving it with its current appearance in the 19th century. It has more than a hundred doors and windows, and is decorated with decorations typical of the colonial period. Among its most valuable pieces, it has porcelain and fans that illustrate the way of life of the landowners of the time.
Puente Yayabo (Bridge)
Continuation of Jesús Menéndez Street on the Yayabo River
Considered one of the symbols of greatest prominence of the city, it was constructed in 1817, with a height above 9 m and a length of 85 m. considered unique of its kind in Cuba, it is distinguished by its 5 monumental arches of Romanesque style. It was built with bricks, lime and sand from the surroundings.
CASA DE LA GUAYABERA (MUSEUM-SHOP)
Calle el Llano and Padre Quintero Streets
Both, a museum and a store opened in 2012 to honor the Cuban guayabera, it has in its collection more than 200 pieces donated by personalities like Fidel and Raúl Castro, Hugo Chávez and Alicia Alonso. Visitors may buy their own custommade guayabera in this place.
PARQUE DE LA CARIDAD (PARK)
A small square officially known as Parque Maceo, it is characterized by its simple Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad,
and for having in its vicinity the
Fundación de la Naturaleza y el
Hombre (1 Cruz Pérez/tel 041 32 8342,) a museum that displays on the expedition made by a group of Cubans in 1996 in canoes for 17 524 km from the Amazon River to the Bahamas. In addition, there are collections ranging from canoes to replicas of armament used by Hernán Cortés.
PRESA ZAZA (DAM)
6 km east of Sancti Spiritus heading to Ciego de Avila
Marked by an impressive surrounding vegetation, it is the ideal place for birdwatching and hiking. Its waters are perfect for fishing for trout and perch. Nearby is Hotel Zaza (Tel 041 32 7015) where you may book fishing trips on the lake through Ecotur.
PARQUE NACIONAL CAGUANES (NATIONAL PARK)
Located near Yaguajay, it is home to almost 200 species of Cuban fauna, including the largest colony of the Cuban Crane that exists on the Island. It has impressive caverns with underground galleries where pre-columbian petroglyphs have been found. The park is part of the Reserva de la Biosfera Buenavista, with 313,503 hectares and has 11 protected areas.
Balneario San José de los Lagos (Spa)
Town of Mayajigua, Tel 041 54 6108
A modest lodging site with spa and a lake where you can take rides on water bikes and rowing boats. Its real importance lies in having hydro carbonated, calcic, magnesian, basic, temperate, colorless, tasteless and pure (from the bacteriological point of view) waters, which are suitable for medicinal baths.
RESERVA ECOLÓGICA ALTURAS DE BANAO (ECOLOGICAL RESERVE)
Tel 041 39 9205 Also known as "El Naranjal", it is a region rich in flora with more than 700 species of flowering plants, including 100 species endemic to the area, including 60 species of orchids. Banao is considered a paradise for lovers of birdwatching and for visitors who like horse rides, and excursions to caves and waterfalls. The reserve has 8 simple cabins and a small restaurant.
Founded in 1514, it is the fourth of the first seven towns settled by Diego Velázquez on the island. Known as “La Ciudad Museo de Cuba” (The City Museum of Cuba,) it experienced a rapid rise due to the sugar and slave trade in the Casilda region, which is proved by the great wealth of its constructions. In 1988 it was declared by UNESCO, along with the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Mills), World Heritage Site.
1 Plaza Mayor (Square)
Cristo, Desengaño and Real streets
The attractive Plaza Mayor, since the founding of the city, was the heart of its life. Surrounded by important buildings, it stands out for the sobriety and beauty of its surroundings with spacious benches and traffic-safe wickerwork. It has beautiful gardens and statues of neoclassic style that denote the refinement of the town.
2 Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad (Church)
Its construction was finished in 1892. Its interior, composed by 4 naves, has a Neogothic altar dedicated to the Virgen de la Merced with a painting of the Cuban artist Antonio Herr at the back. In this church is the image of the Señor de la Vera Cruz, an image carved out of wood in Spain in the seventeenth century. Legend has it that this culture came on a boat from Barcelona in 1731, bound for the Iglesia de Veracruz in Mexico. However, for three successive times the boat was pushed by strong winds to Casilda, about 6 km from the city. In the fourth attempt to reach Mexico, the Captain decided to leave part of the cargo on firm land, where was the chest containing the image. Since then it became an object of cult for the Trinidad people.
3 Palacio Brunet, Museo Romántico (Museum)
52 Fernando Hernández Echerri and Bolivar streets, Tel 041 99 4363 Its construction concluded in 1741 and it currently houses the Museo Romántico. A dozen showrooms show decorative objects and fabulous antiques. The palace stands out for the beauty of its architectural details, such as half-arches and for its excellent views of the square. Of its original owners, only a wrought iron bed is preserved in the building.
4 Museo Arqueológico Casa Padrón, Guamuhaya (Archaeological Museum)
457 Bolívar between Fernando Hernández Echerri and Rubén Martínez Villena streets, Tel 041 99 3420
It exhibits a great variety of dissected animals, objects belonging to pre-columbian cultures and relics of the colonial era. This house hosted the German explorer Alexander Von Humboldt during his investigations in the Island in 1801.
5 Casa de los Sánchez Iznaga, Museo de Arquitectura Colonial (Museum)
83 Ripalda between Fernando Hernández Echerri and Rubén Martínez Villena streets, Tel 041 99 3208
Located in the old house belonging to the Sánchez Iznaga family, it is dedicated to the different architectural styles of Trinidad, as well as to the construction techniques used during colonial times.
6 Antiguo Convento de San Francisco de Asís, Museo de la Lucha Contra Bandidos (Museum)
59 Fernando Hernández Echerri and Pino Ginart streets, Tel 041 99 4121
It displays the history of the struggle against the counterrevolutionary guerrillas in the Sierra del Escambray. It displays maps, photographs, a radio transmitter donated by the CIA to the bandits and the remains of a U2 plane shot down during the Missile Crisis in the zone. It has a room dedicated to the religious history of the building. You can go up to the bell tower to enjoy excellent views of the city.
7 PALACIO CANTERO, MUSEO HISTÓRICO MUNICIPAL (MUSEUM)
423 Simón Bolívar between Gustavo Izquierdo and Rubén Martínez Villena streets, Tel 041 99 4460
It is located in the building built by Mariano Borrell and Padrón, one of the main sugar producers in the city, and purchased in 1841 by María de Monserrat, who married a year later with landowner Cantero. The latter renamed the house as Palacio Cantero and turned it into a sumptuous neoclassical residence. The museum describes the history of Trinidad with collections of objects, maps, documents related to the Cantero family. It also expands on the events of piracy in the area, the slave trade, the activity in the Valle de los Ingenios and in the wars of independence. From its tower you can see a beautiful view of the city.
8 Museo Espeleológico (Museum)
Las Cuevas, Santa Ana
Located 1 km northeast of the center, this museum is located inside a cave of 3,700 sq. m. Legend has it that the native Caucubú took refuge in this cavern when the Spaniards murdered their lover Naridó, and in homage to their love a fountain was built on the site whose waters are said to bring luck to the lovers who drink them. On full moon nights, the young woman appears at the door of the cave looking for her lover.
VALLE DE LOS INGENIOS
Located east of Trinidad is also known as Valle de San Luis. It took its name from the large number of sugar factories (mills) that were located in its vicinity reaching the number of 43 in the nineteenth century, at which time the region became the main producer of sugar in
the country. Currently this large open-air museum, declared by UNESCO World Heritage Site, exhibits 70 archaeological sites. The viewpoint Loma del Puerto at 122 m of height offers a spectacular view of the whole valley.
The Comunidad Manaca Iznaga, is one of the main sites of interest, as it preserves many of its factories and facilities, as well as its impressive 45 m high tower, a perfect viewpoint from where you can see almost the entire valley.
PENÍNSULA DE ANCÓN
Located about 10 km south of Trinidad, it has among its attractions the namesake beach on the southern part of the peninsula. It has the Hotel
Club Amigo Ancón (Tel 041 99 6123), from which vicinities the boats that take the divers to the different diving sites in the coral reefs that border the coast set off. Similarly, on the rocky shores near the beach María Aguilar, there are lagoons where it is possible to watch, with just some diving goggles, a great variety of tropical fish. On the other side of the bay, in front of the peninsula is located, in the old port of Casilda, a place of passage for those who go to the beaches of the area, which in past centuries was one of the main points of the slave and sugar trade in the Island.
GRAN PARQUE NATURAL TOPES DE COLLANTES (NATURAL PARK)
Divided into a series of small parks, it has the Complejo
Turístico Topes de Collantes (Tel 042 54 0330), with a hotel, as its main feature, designed in 1936 as a sanatorium for tuberculosis. In 1970, it began to function as accommodation for tourism. Among its numerous natural attractions, Topes de Collantes has the Salto Caburní, an impressive 75 m high waterfall; the
Jardín de Gigantes, with trees of gigantic dimensions; the
Sendero La Batata, which has a cave system with an underground river and natural pools; the Parque Guanayara with the Sendero Centinelas del Río Melodioso and the Cascada del Rocío, and finally the Parque el Nicho, with the Sendero El Reino de las Aguas.
VIEW OF THE YAYABO BRIDGE Symbol of the city
MANACA IZNAGA The former house of the plantation belonging to the Iznaga family. From its tower, you can see the Valle de los Ingenios