A transit point for thousands of vacationers who visit the largest Antillean Island every year, Cuba's central province of Villa Clara has many tourist attractions, including several towns with a centuries-old history.
In addition to Villa Clara's beaches and its exuberant flora and fauna, the region boasts a singular town, San Juan de los Remedios, the eighth village founded by the Spanish conquistadors in Cuba in the 16th century.
The core of Remedios's historic heart, which was declared a National Monument in 1980, is the José Martí Square, formerly known as Parochial Square and Isabel II Square. The plaza is flanked by beautiful royal Poinciana trees (Delonix regia) and centuries-old buildings such as Casa del Alférez Real and Casa de Las Arcadas.
Other major buildings surrounding the square are the churches of Nuestra Señora del Buen Viaje and Parroquial Mayor de San Juan Bautista. This is the only case in Cuba where the main plaza is flanked by two churches.
The latter holds a gold-plated altar and a sculpture of a pregnant Immaculate Conception, which is the only one of its kind in the world, according to experts.
Spacious corridor-like portals, big windows, iron-wrought railings and big eaves supported by peculiar wooden corbels, characterize the architecture in the village's historic center.
The ceilings - which are either simple or heavily decorated - form part of an architectural structure that also includes inner patios with abundant vegetation.
According to experts, Remedios has irregular streets, flanked by houses with big eaves that protect pedestrians from intense sun heat, encouraging visitors to walk the streets of the centuries-old town.
In the early years of the village, the local people's main economic activities were the cultivation of coffee and cocoa, minor livestock raising and contraband.
One of the village's most relevant buildings is a museum dedicated to the outstanding Cuban musician Alejandro García Caturla, who was born in Remedios in 1906. Housed in his former home, the museum treasures numerous personal objects related to García Caturla's life and work.
Moreover, Remedios is closely linked to a celebration that dates back to the 19th century, December's traditional "parrandas", during which the residents in the neighborhoods of Carmen and San Salvador de Horta hold a fraternal competition in which there is no room for losers.
For all these elements, Remedios has become a major destination in Villa Clara's leisure industry, offering a wide range of cultural and historic options that serve everyone's taste.