The province of Villa Clara, in Cuba's central region, is a must for thousands of foreign vacationers who visit the Caribbean Island every year.
San Juan de los Remedios (1514), the eighth village founded by the Spanish conquistadors, was the first village in this region of the Cuban territory, inhabited by aborigines engaged in recollection, hunting and fishing before Spanish colonization.
In 1689, people from Remedios who fled the village escaping from the attacks of corsairs and pirates founded the city of Santa Clara, which today is the provincial capital of Villa Clara.
Dozens of kilometers of beautiful pristine beaches and a unique natural environment have turned the province into one of the most promising and fastest-growing tourist destinations in Cuba's leisure industry.
The region's tourist infrastructure includes game preserves and artificial reservoirs for trout fishing, in addition to tourist facilities on the keys, which are linked to mainland by a 50-km (32-mile) causeway over the sea.
The fastest-growing area in the region is Cayo Santa María, where some hotels have been built, and new projects are underway to increase the total number of rooms to 5,000. Add to this an air terminal and a runway on Cayo Las Brujas to receive small- and mid-size planes.
In addition, the northern municipalities of Sagua la Grande and Caibarién hold the Fauna Reserve of the Northern Keys.
Covering some 80,000 hectares, the reserve is a safe haven for huge colonies of flamingos, as well as endemic species such as lizards and mollusks, in addition to nearly 250 plant species, 40 of which are ornamental.
The keys also hold vestiges of pre-Columbian cultures in caverns near the beach, and visitors can enjoy beautiful seascapes, which are an excellent option for ecological tourism.
>From the keys, vacationers can take excursions to the Caimán Grande lighthouse and the San Pascual ship, a crown jewel of naval industry, which has been transformed into a floating hotel.
For travelers interested in health tourism, the Elguea spa, in Villa Clara, welcomes them with its mineral-medicinal waters and a wide range of therapeutic treatments.
Nature tourism is present at the Hanabanilla Hotel, which has 125 rooms equipped with all the amenities demanded by modern tourism and where guests are in direct contact with nature.
Nature lovers can also stay at Villa Carrusel La Granjita, an ideal place for family tourism where good services and tranquility prevail. The hotel is surrounded by palms, fruit trees and coconut groves.
Other hotels in the city of Villa Clara are the 95-room Los Caneyes, which resembles aboriginal houses from in the pre-Columbian period, and the Santa Clara Libre Hotel, one of the tallest buildings in central Cuba.