Villa Clara and Cienfuegos Provinces lie due east of Matanzas Province, with Villa Clara north of Cienfuegos. Together they share some of the prettiest scenery in Cuba.
The southern and eastern portions of Villa Clara Province are dominated by rolling uplands called the Alturas de Santa Clara, which rise gradually to the steep, pine-clad Sierra Escambray. Cool forests tantalize bird-watchers and hikers, with artificial lakes good for fishing, a famous health spa, and an invigorating climate. The mountains extend south and west into Cienfuegos Province.
Industry is centered on the city of Cienfuegos, a major port town that also boasts some splendid colonial architecture and, nearby, a fine botanical garden, while the city of Santa Clara (also an important industrial and university city) should be on every traveler’s itinerary for the fascinating Museo de Che (Guevara).
Villa Clara is second only to Pinar del Río as a center of tobacco production, centered on the scenic Vuelta Arriba region, east of the provincial capital. Here, the historic town of Remedios is caught in a delightful time-warp. Remedios and neighboring villages are renowned for their parrandas, unique carnival-style revelries that border on mayhem. Nearby, gorgeous beaches lie at hand in the Cayos de Villa Clara.