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The small city of Sancti Spiritus is located in the central region of the beautiful Caribbean island of Cuba, with a population of only 100,000. It remains one of the most well preserved cities to represent the style and architecture from the days of the sugar trade. The Paroquial Mayor is a splendid example of 16th century architecture, located just south of the main square, a green towered church and the oldest one in the country. Possibly the grandest colonial building in Sancti Spiritus is the Colonial Art Museum, once a palatial mansion and decorated with Limoges pottery and Italian marble tables. There is also an 18th century American piano in the music room which is one of two that exist in Cuba today.
The city bridge is an attractive landmark, built in 1815 and standing over the River Yaruba and is well worth visiting. The Puente Yayayo is now a national treasure. Sancti Spiritus was one of the original few cities founded by the Spanish in 1514 and this influence can be seen in its buildings and the layout of the city. The island's biggest lake is located only a few miles from Sancti Spiritus. Presa Zaza is a man made lake at the dam on River Zaza and the country's largest lake. It is surrounded by pristine wetlands and is home to many species of fish. To the north of the centre of Sancti Spiritus is the Agricultural Fair which takes place at the weekends and where cattle exhibitions, rodeos and other displays occur.
Sancti Spiritus province is bordered to the north by the Atlantic and the south by the Caribbean with some of the finest beaches in Cuba. Playa Ancon lies 12 km south of the city of Trinidad and stretches for four kilometres. The beach consists of fine white sand and there is a reef lying only a few hundred metres from the shore that is excellent for snorkelling and diving. There are now a few hotels which cater for the tourists that arrive throughout the year but this is still a relatively undeveloped and quiet resort. Playa Ancon makes a great base for exploring the area, with the forested region of Sierra del Escambray close by as well as the stunning city of Trinidad with its beautiful architecture.
Trinidad is the best preserved colonial city in the country and with its baroque buildings and squares with old cobblestones it represents a major area that was once involved in the slave trade. There are several places worth visiting in Trinidad, including the Guamuhaya Archaeological Museum, Church of Santa Ana, Plaza Mayor and Taller Alfarero which is a ceramics workshops which uses traditional techniques.
There are regular flights from the UK to Havana Airport throughout the year. Transport links are good in Cuba, with regular bus services available linking major cities. There is also a good rail service from Havana. Car hire is available from Havana Airport allowing the visitor the freedom to explore the country in an independent way. Many of the cities in Cuba use horse and carriage transport as a form of taxi. Exploring the city of Sancti Spiritus is best done on foot or by local taxi. Taxis do not use meters and so it is advisable to negotiate a price before taking a journey.