Sancti Spiritus Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo Street View

Things to do in Sancti Spiritus: Planning Your Visit

Sancti Spiritus isn’t a must-see destination in Cuba but if you’ve got some time to spare on the road from Trinidad to Camaguey, here are the top things to do in Sancti Spiritus.

Sancti Spiritus is no little Trinidad despite what people may say. There’s a reason why few tourists choose not to make Sancti Spiritus part of their trip… besides, there are many better places to visit in Cuba.

But we here at DIY Travel HQ had a few hours to kill before catching an onward bus to Camaguey.

The bus station is located roughly 2 km east of downtown. We chose to walk into the city with our bags, and take turns exploring the attractions before returning.

Travelers with a lot of luggage, or by themselves can just skip Sancti Spiritus as Trinidad is much better.

Below are the sights along the walking tour we created that will take you around the best things to do in Sancti Spiritus.

Sancti Spiritus Calle San Miguel Street Art

Cobbled old town streets of Sancti Spiritus

Things to do in Sancti Spiritus

  • Parque Serafin Sanchez and Around

Parque Serafin Sanchez is the hub of Sancti Spiritus, with most attractions lying to the south.

If you are taking turns exploring the city, choose your seat wisely. There is very little shade in the park, and the few good seats are usually taken.

Around the park are a few places to visit – just follow the music emanating from Casa de la Cultura.

Sancti Spiritus Parque Serafin Sanchez and Casa de la Cultura

Let your ears be your guide to the Casa de la Cultura.

Across the street from Casa de la Cultura is the impressive Biblioteca Provincial Ruben Martinez Villena.

Sancti Spiritus Biblioteca Provincial Ruben Martinez Villena

Biblioteca Provincial Ruben Martinez Villena

Inside are the expected bookshelves and work spaces, but of more interest is the view of Parque Serafin Sanchez from the second story balcony.

Sancti Spiritus Inside Biblioteca Provincial Ruben Martinez Villena

Inside the impressive Biblioteca Provincial Ruben Martinez Villena

Sancti Spiritus Parque Serafin Sanchez

Parque Serafin Sanchez

Next door is the Museo Provincial, but probably not worth the 1 CUC entrance fee. Remember that I CUC = $1.00… check out our guide to Cuba’s dual currency system for more information on the CUC vs CUP (peso).

We found the museums in Havana to be poorly curated, so held little faith that Sancti Spiritus could do any better.

As always, take a peek through the open windows before paying to see if you have any interest.

Sancti Spiritus Museo Provincial

Museo Provincial

Sancti Spiritus Inside Museo Provincial

Take a peep through the open windows!

The remainder of the square is filled with hotels, restaurants, and shops that were renovated for Sancti Spiritus’ 500th anniversary in 2014.

The lines forming on the north side of Parque Serafin Sanchez are for La Perla.

For security reasons, only an allocated amount of Cubans may patron the store at a time.

Sancti Spiritus La Perla

La Perla

  • North of Parque Serafin Sanchez

There are only three attractions north of Parque Serafin Sanchez, but none of them can be considered the top things to do in Sancti Spiritus.

The first is the Museo Casa Natal de Serafin Sanchez (1 CUC / $1.00).

He is a local hero with an obsession with revolutions. Having fought in both Wars of Independence, he eventually met the Grim Reaper in 1896.

The museum takes you through his endeavors.

Sancti Spiritus Museo Casa Natal de Serafin Sanchez

Museo Casa Natal de Serafin Sanchez

A few blocks north are the homely Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Ciudad, and Fundacion de la Naturaleza y El Hombre.

Sancti Spiritus Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Ciudad

Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Ciudad

The latter chronicles the 1987 canoe journey from Ecuador to the Bahamas.

Upon visiting, they were closing for lunch so I grabbed a few quick shots of the interior.

Overlooking the Hatuey canoe was a map depicting the 20 country journey.

Sancti Spiritus Fundacion de la Naturaleza y El Hombre

17,422 Km; 20 countries; 432 participants

  • South of Parque Serafin Sanchez

From Parque Serafin, stroll along Calle Independencia Sur to the remainder of the attractions that make up the top things to do in Sancti Spiritus.

This pedestrianized shopping street is filled with shops, restaurants, and accommodation.

Sancti Spiritus Calle Independencia Sur

Calle Independencia Sur

Make sure to try the delicious virgin pina colada (5 pesos / $0.20) at the peso stall on the right before you reach the Colonia Espanola Building.

Sancti Spiritus 5 Pesos Pina Colada

Sneak some rum into this 5 pesos virgen pina colada for an even better deal!

Sancti Spiritus Colonia Espanola Building

Colonia Espanola Building

Thirty meters past the triangular park is a non-touristy cigar factory – unlike the Alejandro Robaina cigar plantation tour we took in Pinar del Rio.

The windows are obstructed with a wire mesh screen that makes observation near impossible.

You can still see some of the process, but you may be better off trying your luck by asking the receptionists for a closer look.

The cheapest tour we found in Cuba was 5 CUC / $5.00, so you know the max to offer.

After trying your luck at the cigar factory, reverse towards the park and chuck-a-leftie.

You will want to make another left down alleyway Calle Llano. Make your final left and you will come across the Casa de la Guayabera.

Sancti Spiritus Casa de la Guayabera

Casa de la Guayabera

The museum is rated as one of the best things to do in Sancti Spiritus. That’s because the city has self-proclaimed themselves to be the inventor of the Guayabera shirt.

For anyone that doesn’t know this particular fashion statement, like me previously, a guayabera shirt is a collared shirt with pockets sewn onto them.

The pockets were designed by local wives for their husbands to keep their tools and lunches handy.

Although originally intended for farmers, the guayabera shirt was made famous by Latin American leaders that included Fidel Castro.

Sancti Spiritus World's Largest Guayabera Shirt

World’s largest Guayabera shirt

The Casa de la Guayabera (free) has what may be the largest guayabera shirt in the world on display.

There are also several women in the process of making them, a collection of shirts worn by famous individuals, and a bar.

Sancti Spiritus Guayabera Shirt Sewing

Guayabera shirt sewing

At the far end of the patio may be the best place to take a picture of the Puente Yayabo bridge.

Sancti Spiritus Puente Yayabo bridge

Puente Yayabo bridge brings English charm to Latin America

Built by the Spanish, and aesthetically English, this four-arched bridge has become the symbol of Sancti Spiritus.

From Casa de la Guayabera, walk along the Rio Yayabo until you reach Calle Llano again.

If you didn’t stop to admire the wall art, do so now before making a left.

Sancti Spiritus Calle Llano Wall Art

Calle Llano Street Art

At the intersection on your left is Teatro Principal.

Sancti Spiritus Teatro Principal

Teatro Principal

Cross the road to stay on Calle San Miguel. As you noticed by now, this section of Sancti Spiritus is the old town.

Each picturesque street is narrow, windy, and stone paved.

The houses are cohesive, and recently got a fresh coat of paint.

Take your first right onto Calle Guairo to finish exploring old Sancti Spiritus.

Walking one block southeast will take you to the Museo de Arte Colonial (2 CUC / $2.00), which can be skipped.

Sancti Spiritus Museo de Arte Colonial

Museo de Arte Colonial

Turn left and head towards the blue Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo.

You can generally see this church from anywhere in Sancti Spiritus.

Sancti Spiritus Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo

Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo

Across the street is Plaza Honorato, which the Spanish used for public hangings.

Heading north along Calle Maximo Gomez Norte Sur will take you back to Parque Serafin Sanchez.

Sancti Spiritus Plaza Honorato

Plaza Honorato

Sancti Spiritus Food

Sancti Spiritus is off the beaten path, and has very few restaurants geared towards tourists.

This is a wonderful city to grab a cheap & authentic local Cuban food, instead of ‘pan con…’ or pizza.

Keep your eyes open as you explore the city.

How to Get to and from Sancti Spiritus

From Trinidad, your best bet for catching a cheap ride to Sancti Spiritus is at the gas station on Circuito Sur.

There is a camion at 2 pm (departs at 1:50 pm), but be warned the driver may ask for 20 CUC / $20.00 instead of 20 pesos $0.80.

For this reason we took a colectivo for 60 pesos or 2.50 CUC before exchanging, per person.

The benefit of coming to this location south of the center is that everyone here is going to Sancti Spiritus.

Waiting for Trinidad to Sancti Spiritus Transportation

Waiting for our colectivo from Trinidad to Sancti Spiritus to fill-up.

Unless you are taking Viazul, you will need to take a camion to Ciego de Avila if heading east.

You need to go to the north side of Terminal Omnibus Provincial on Carretera Central.

Sancti Spiritus Bus Terminal

Amarillos are around several corners of the bus terminal.

The Amarillo may be able to help you out – check out our guide to find out more about budget local transport in Cuba.

If it is late in the day, there may not be a direct connection to Ciego de Avila.

Instead, you will have to take a camion to Jatibonico, and try to catch an onward camion or bus to Ciego de Avila.

Due to this additional waiting time we had to spend the night in Ciego de Avila, and not Camaguey like we intended.

Bus from Jatibonico to Ciego de Avila

Beggars can’t be choosers. Take whatever local transportation you can in Cuba, even if it means standing.

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Sancti Spiritus is no little Trinidad despite what people may say – there’s a reason why few tourists choose not to make Sancti Spiritus part of their Cuba trip. Guess what made us stop. Attractions include Parque Serafin Sanchez, Casa de la Cultura, Biblioteca Provincial Ruben Martinez Villena, Museo Provincial, La Perla, Museo Casa Natal de Serafin Sanchez, Fundacion de la Naturaleza y El Hombre, Casa de la Guayabera, Puente Yayabo bridge, Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo & more.

***The Final Word – Sancti Spiritus is not an essential stop in Cuba, but generally straightforward for transportation to neighboring cities.***

What was the last place that you read a glowing review, and it turned out to be average at best?

5 Shovels

Super easy DIY travel around city centres

Visited in June 2016