Trinidad was a complete surprise for us, this Cuban town made us feel like we had stepped back in time to the colonial times. To really understand why Trinidad is one of Cuba’s best attractions and a UNESCO world heritage site we had to go back in time to the late 18th century. At that time, many people in Trinidad became rich, their wealth came from the tobacco and sugar production industries and they built many large houses, palaces and squares with their large incomes. After the sugar trade with Europe collapsed, Trinidad fell into a period of decline. However; Trinidad has preserved its colonial architecture in its buildings until today.
This laid back town is becoming more popular with tourists worldwide. It is very easy to wonder around Trinidad and get enchanted by its colorful colonial buildings, its charming plazas and cobble stoned streets.
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What to do in Trinidad
Plaza Mayor (Main Square)
This beautiful courtyard surrounded by palm trees is divided into 4 small gardens, decorated with some exquisite ornaments. I highly recommend taking a few pictures and then have a seat to chill in one of those benches with Spanish decorations and enjoy your surroundings.
Historico Municipal Museum
Definitely worth visiting! The main museum in Trinidad is located in a mansion that once belonged to a very wealthy family. Also known as the Cantero Palace, this museum displays some objects which belonged to the wealthy family as well as a fascinating exhibition of the sugar cane industry and the fight for Cuban Independence. The murals on the window frames and the ceiling are marvellous to observe.
It is well worth going to the bell tower to have a 360 degrees view of the city. The entrance fee was 2CUC per person.
If you like museums, Trinidad is known for being the capital of the museums in Cuba. You may like to check these other museums: Museo Romantico, Museo de Arquitectura Trinitaria and Museo de Arqueología Guamuhaya.
Galería de Arte
The artwork in Cuba is very impressive; most of the paintings are for sale and are very affordable if you would like to purchase one. This fascinating gallery displays many interesting paintings and give you an insight into the Cuban culture and traditions. This gallery has a free entrance.
A 15 km drive from Trinidad, you will reach Ancon Beach. If you are in Trinidad, you should visit this beach! The water is shallow and although the water is not crystal clear, it is still a light green Caribbean colour.
The beach sand is very nice, soft & white. There is a public bathroom that you can use for 2 CUC but you can also pay 4 CUC and use the Playa Ancon hotel bathroom plus you can use a palapa.
To get to playa Ancón there are two options:
Faster way but higher the price: Take a taxi which costs 16CUC per ride. If you find more people to share the taxi with, it is going to cost you less.
Slower way but lower price: There is a bus leaving in front of CubaTour Office in Trinidad to Playa Ancon (9am, 11am, 2pm) and from Playa Ancon back (12:30am, 3:30pm, 6pm). We recommend to take the bus at 9am to the beach and the bus at 3:30pm back to avoid an overcrowded bus.
If you are planning to visit other beaches in Cuba, or you have more time to explore a little bit the island, we suggest you check out this post: Varadero.
Topes De Collantes National Park
This place is located 20 minutes drive outside of Trinidad. We took a tour for this it was easier than hiring a private car. We started at 9am and boarded a soviet truck to the entrance of the park. This tour included a visit to a coffee plantation and a small hike through the national park.
The first part of the walk takes you downhill through the forest for about 45 minutes to a waterfall and a pool where you can swim. The descent is quite steep in some places, so you need comfortable shoes and a bottle of water. The walk brings you to observe some birds and flowers.
After the hike we were rewarded by this beautiful view of the waterfall. The water was cold but it was very refreshing. The walk back can be a little bit tough for some people because it is uphill.
Valle de los ingenios
This valley until the late 19 century was the centre of the sugar trade and one of the most important areas in the world. Large quantities of sugar was exported mainly to Europe and extracted by many thousands of slaves. This valley houses one of the main sugar plantation houses known as Manaca Iznaga Plantation.
If you visit the plantation, we recommend going up to the top of the tower to get a superb view of the valley.
This place is located 12 km from Trinidad, and the tour starts from Trinidad train station.
Templo de Santería Yemayá
If you are looking to visit a place with free entrance, you might want to visit this museum/house that it is dedicated to one of the most important religions in Cuba: Santeria. Santeria was brought to Cuba by the African slaves that worked in the sugar plantation in the 18th to 19th century.
This museum is free, behind the room there is a large altar worship.
Note: There is no explanation given inside or a person that can explain to you what this place is. If you are interested to know more about this religion ask a local or read an article beforehand.
Visit the Trinidad market and listen to a live music performance
Another free thing to do is to see the handcraft market that has beautiful clothes made by Cuban artists. Some of the clothes are sewed by hand and can take up to 30 days to finish!.
Cuba is not Cuba without its musicians. Do not miss out!
How to get to Trinidad
By car: Trinidad is located 5 hours from Havana.
By bus: the one we recommend is to take the bus Via azul. More reliable and convenient if you are on a short holiday. It is a 7 hours trip from Havana and costs 25 CUC. You often have to buy your ticket at least one day In advance.
Camiones: It is like a little truck with seats. This way is the cheapest transport available in Cuba. However, the camiones depart from all major cities but they do not have a timetable, you will have to rely on asking the locals where do these camiones depart and what time. Usually if you stay in a casa particular the family that you are staying with will be able to tell you. You can reach your destination by paying only 2 or 3CUC per person. However, we do not recommend this option for families or solo female travellers. If you are traveling in Cuba for a long period of time, you may like to try this method of transport but if you are on a short vacation, skip this one. Especially because you can spend the whole day traveling and making connections between camiones and you will reach your destination after so many hours traveling.
Colectivo/shared taxi: Another good option is a shared taxi. Depending on the distance and the people in the car it can be more convenient to use this method of transport. Sometimes it is almost the same price as traveling by Via azul bus. Always ask the price of shared taxi before going to Via azul. As the name suggests you split the costs with the other people in the taxi. Often these cars are old 1940’s or 1950’s American cars.
It does not matter which tour operator you use because the prices are going to be the same. The famous agencies are havanatur, Infotour , Cubanatour.
- Tope de collantes: 55 CUC per person
- Valle de los Ingenios: 30 CUC per person
Note: If you are traveling with your family or travelling with more than two people, we recommend to ask the price of a taxi to bring you to these places. Sometimes the taxi is a good option if you do not want to pay a tour.In some cases it can be cheaper because you can split the cost of the ride between the people in the car.
There are a few hotels to choose from in Trinidad but the city has a great selection of casas particulares. Our recommendations is:
Casa de Anay (it is pronunced a-na-e).
- Address: Calle Piro Ginal 254 between the streets: Francisco Gomez and Ruben Martinez Billena.
- Teléfono: 0141998698
The rooms are clean, with a good bed and it has a rooftop with a view of Trinidad where you can have your nice and substantial breakfast.
Trinidad has many good places where you can eat, stop following what the guidebook says and explore the city. If we can recommend you one though, my favourite was Restaurant San José (Calle Maceo 382, Trinidad).