Located on the banks of the river Yayabo , the settlement of Espiritu Santo - now Sancti Spíritus - is a perfect destination to enjoy the spirit of a quiet colonial city. One of the original seven Cuban cities, it was founded by Spaniard Diego Velázquez in 1514. In terms of tourism, Sancti Spíritus City is usually passed over by visitors making a beeline for Trinidad or Santiago de Cuba. Still, there are reasons to stay over here.
Sancti Spirítus is a city of narrow, winding streets, lending itself to meandering strolls where you’ll see colonial buildings such as the Parroquial Mayor , one of several examples of the Spanish Baroque style here.
The Yayabo Bridge, with its medieval roman appearance, was built by the Spanish in 1815; it is the city’s symbol and pride – so much so, it’s stitched onto the uniforms of Sancti Spíritus’ baseball team, the Gallos. The Yayabo Bridge is the only remaining colonial-era stone bridge in Cuba.
Parque Serafín Sánchez , in the city center, is surrounded by neoclassical buildings and the wonderful library; it’s a lovely, lively place to watch the world go by. Another highlight is the impressive Teatro Principal , built in 1876 and restored in 1980. Like most Cuban city’s, Sancti Spíritus has a Casa de la Trova , where city residents and visitors in-the-know go to mingle and listen to music.
Embalse Zaza, Cuba’s largest manmade, lake is just outside Sancti Spíritus.