It doesn't seem to attract as many tourists at the surround cities, but Sancti Spiritus (Latin for Holy Spirit) is full of charm and friendly people and if you want laid back then you'll be happy you stopped here. Founded by Diego Velázquez in 1514, it is famous for its guava fruit, which is grown on the banks of the Rio Yayabo.
The city is 375km from Havana and an overnight train will get you there in around eight hours. There are also buses from Havana and many other Cuban cities. The best way to get around town is to take a horse and cart or bicycle taxi.
You can find a few hotels dotted throughout the city from $20 upwards, but for the special experience, stay with a local family in a 'hostal', which is actually their home and get the inside information about the city. Prices for hostals start at around $18.
Stroll around the historical city centre and take in the sights and sounds, or take a horse and cart for a great way to see the area. Check out the local artists at the market on the cobbletoned streets of Calle Llano.
Check out the bridge over the Rio Yayabo, which was built by the Spanish in 1815 or the Fundacion de la Naturaleza y El Hombre, near the Parque Maceo for some of the area's history. The Iglesia Parraquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo is worth a look, especially for Sunday Mass.
The more you wander around the city, the more gems you will find. Be sure to listen for the live local music in the plazas and squares throughout the city, a welcoming sound with welcoming people where you can dance, eat, drink and really get into the city life.
(by Kelly Luckman)