Trinidad, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Valley of the Sugar Mills (where sugar was produced between the 17th and 19th centuries), is one of the best-preserved colonial cities in America. Walking through its historic center, filled with pastel-colored houses, transports you to another era; a magical sensation. Despite its small size, there are many super interesting things to see in Trinidad in 2023, and there are also several excursions from Trinidad that you should consider during your visit. I would dedicate at least a couple of days to it.
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Organize Your Visit to Trinidad Cuba
Today I want to share with you my exciting experience in Trinidad, a hidden gem in Cuba that you can’t miss. I’ll tell you all the details of my adventure in this magical place through my travel blog. So get ready to discover all the charms of Trinidad, because I assure you that you will fall in love with this city just like I did.
Have you ever dreamed of getting lost in a corner of the world where time seems to have stopped? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll feel in Trinidad. From the moment I set foot in this city, I felt transported to a bygone era, where cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, and Cuban music come together to create an unforgettable experience.
How to Get to Trinidad?
To get to Trinidad from my point of view, the most convenient way is to travel by rental car or by booking private transportation. I have traveled to Cuba three times, and you have to explore its roads to truly know it. Whether you want to hire a driver or rent a car, I always recommend this company, the most reliable on the island.
Where is Trinidad?
Trinidad is a city located in the central region of Cuba. It is part of the province of Sancti Spíritus and is located on the south coast of the island, near the Caribbean Sea. This charming colonial city is known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Trinidad is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cuba due to its beauty and historical heritage.
Interactive Map of Trinidad
Welcome to our interactive experience of Trinidad, a unique city in the heart of Cuba. This map will take you on an exciting journey through cobblestone streets, historic squares, and points of interest that make Trinidad an unforgettable destination. Explore the rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty of this Cuban gem as you navigate the map. Get ready to discover the wonders that Trinidad has to offer and plan your next adventure in this beautiful corner of the world. Let the exploration begin!
Where to Stay in Trinidad?
To stay in Trinidad, I’ve tried a bit of everything. The private house called Hostal Lola is great. Perfectly located with an incredible courtyard for breakfast in the mornings. If you prefer a hotel, this last time I stayed in a new hotel called Hotel Mystique La Popa that has a spectacular viewpoint.
I take this opportunity to remind you that for traveling to Cuba, both the visa (which I processed through the Enjoy website) and health insurance are mandatory. As always, I contracted the Iati Estrella. You can get it here with a 5% discount.
Discover the Cuban Rhythm of Trinidad
Trinidad, one of the musical epicenters of Cuba, invites you to enjoy vibrant songs and the unique Cuban rhythm in several unmissable places. Here are the best options:
Canchánchara: How about enjoying the typical cocktail of Trinidad, the Canchánchara, while listening to live music? This delicious concoction, made with aguardiente, water, lemon, and honey, is served in clay cups. In the atmosphere of an 18th-century house, you can enjoy this traditional drink and immerse yourself in Cuban melodies.
Casa de la Trova: If you’re looking for an experience with a touch of decadence and love classic songs, this place is for you. Casa de la Trova is a landmark for vintage lovers and offers an authentic musical immersion.
Jazz Café: As the name suggests, Jazz Café offers jazz music every night. The relaxed atmosphere and soft melodies make this place a perfect space to dive into the world of Cuban jazz.
Casa de la Música: This place, located on the famous stairs next to the Church of the Holy Trinity, is an absolute classic. Every night, it fills with enthusiastic music lovers in search of authentic Cuban music. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a refreshing mojito for only 2 euros (200 CUP).
Get ready to move to the rhythm of Cuban music and savor the essence of this historic city!
Night of Music and Dance at Casa de la Música
At night, Casa de la Música is the place to be. Who can resist Cuban music and dance? You’ll enjoy live music, dance salsa, and experience authentic Cuban nightlife. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert dancer; here, everyone moves to the rhythm of the music!
One of the most exciting experiences of visiting Trinidad is the opportunity to meet people from different parts of the world and share unforgettable moments with them. This city is a magnet for travelers of all nationalities, making it a perfect place to make friends from around the globe. 🌍💃🍹
While enjoying the night of music and dance at Casa de la Música, you’ll be amazed to discover how many people share your passion for Cuban music and dance. It’s the perfect place to start a conversation, make friends, and share travel stories. Music is a universal language that breaks barriers and allows you to connect with people from different cultures.
And, what better way to break the ice than by inviting your new friends to share some delicious mojitos? This refreshing drink is a symbol of Cuba, and enjoying it together is an excellent way to relax and get to know each other better. Mojitos are the ideal companion for a night full of laughter, music, and dance.
So, while enjoying Trinidad, keep an open mind and a receptive heart. The friendships you make here can last a lifetime. Share mojitos, share laughs, and, above all, share unforgettable moments in this magical city. Diversity and friendship await you in Trinidad!
Restaurants in Trinidad with the Best Local Food
If you’re looking for delicious places to eat in Trinidad and enjoy live music, here are several that I’ve really liked:
Café Real: This charming place has a perfect courtyard to enjoy live music from local groups while having dinner. It’s a super lively and authentic atmosphere.
Los Conspiradores Restaurant: Located at the foot of the stairs of Casa de la Música, it is unmistakable for its beautiful wooden balcony. For many, this is the best restaurant in Trinidad. Not only is the food delicious, but the atmosphere is super romantic, and the live music is pleasant. Although prices are a bit higher than in other places, it’s really worth treating yourself.
Adita Café: If you fancy a change in your culinary options, this restaurant specializes in pizzas in Trinidad. It’s perfect if you want to try something different. Additionally, right next door, you’ll find Giroud Café, another excellent pizzeria.
Sol Ananda: Located in a palatial house in Plaza Mayor, this restaurant is a gem in Trinidad. It offers a unique experience with its different rooms and culinary philosophy. Ideal for enjoying a special meal in a historic setting.
Guitarra Mía: If you love live guitar music and want to experience it while enjoying a delicious meal, this restaurant is a perfect choice. Its cozy atmosphere and delicious food make Guitarra Mía a special place to dine in Trinidad.
These additional restaurants in Trinidad will provide you with a wide variety of culinary options and live music experiences to enjoy during your visit. Bon appétit!
Must-Visit Places in Trinidad
Almost all the attractions to see in Trinidad are concentrated around the Plaza Mayor, a charming place surrounded by palaces converted into museums, churches, and ideal colonial houses.
Trinidad’s cobbled center is the best-preserved in Cuba, and the main reason is that after the abolition of slavery and the collapse of the sugar business, the city plunged into poverty. This was precisely the key to its preservation: with no money, there were no changes. The rich without slaves could not maintain their standard of living and emigrated, leaving Trinidad frozen in time.
My day in Trinidad started at Plaza Mayor, the heartbeat of the city. Get ready to be amazed! The square is surrounded by pastel-colored buildings with wooden windows and doors. It’s like a fairy tale. Here, you’ll find local musicians playing Cuban music, and you can buy unique crafts. Also, don’t forget to visit the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, a true treasure.
The Church of the Holy Trinity
The Church of the Holy Trinity is an architectural treasure located in the heart of Trinidad. This temple, blending neoclassical, Greek, and Cuban styles from the 19th century, is a testament to the city’s rich history and a must-visit for tourists.
The construction of the Church of the Holy Trinity took 75 years, and the result is simply spectacular. Its facade combines neoclassical and Greek elements, making it a unique piece of Cuban architecture. The church is an impressive example of the influence of different styles in the region.
Treasures Inside: The interior of the church is equally impressive. A main wooden altar dedicated to the Virgin of Mercy. However, what truly stands out in this church is the “Christ of the True Cross,” a carving dating back to the 18th century with a fascinating history.
This Christ was originally sent from Barcelona to Veracruz, Mexico. Interestingly, the ship carrying the image suffered the onslaught of the waves three times near Trinidad’s shores, which the captain interpreted as a divine sign. Consequently, he decided to dispose of some of the items he was transporting, including this image. As a result, Cubans have developed a special devotion to this religious figure.
San Francisco Convent, the famous yellow tower to see in Trinidad
Every postcard of Trinidad reflects, from one perspective or another, the colonial yellow tower of the San Francisco Convent. Founded by the Franciscans in 1813, this building now houses a Museum of the Fight against Bandits. From the top of this tower, you get a good panoramic view.
Did you know that the slabs forming the sidewalks of the old town of Trinidad have a super interesting history? It turns out that these slabs were brought from Bremen, Germany, as ballast for ships carrying light loads like fabrics. And, guess what? Instead of wasting those slabs, they decided to use them to pave the streets of the old town. Nothing goes to waste here, right?
But the story doesn’t end there. If you look closely at the streets of Trinidad, you’ll notice that the stones are not fixed with mortar or adhesive. Instead, they were laid loosely, and as people walked and time passed, the stones settled naturally. That explains why grass grows so easily between the slabs! It’s a charming detail that adds a special touch to the streets of this historic city.
I love how every corner of Trinidad has its own story to tell, right? It’s a place full of curiosities and beauty to discover.
A Journey to the Past at the Romantic Museum
Would you like to know how the high society of 19th-century Trinidad lived? The Romantic Museum is your answer. This museum, located in a beautiful colonial mansion, will take you back in time. You can explore rooms decorated with period furniture, historical objects, and enjoy a charming garden. You’ll feel like you’re in a period drama!
Views from Cantero Palace
Don’t miss the panoramic view from Cantero Palace! This place will give you a bird’s-eye view of Trinidad and its surroundings. In addition to enjoying the view, you can learn about the history of the fight against bandits in Cuba. It’s like having a front-row history lesson!
Do you know what’s the best part? In Trinidad, culture is everywhere! Walking down Museum Street is like stepping into a living encyclopedia of Cuban history and culture. Here you’ll find museums that explore everything from archaeology to art and craftsmanship. Each one is a window into a different aspect of Trinidad.
Relaxation at Ancón Beach
If you have time (you should make time), take a short walk to Ancón Beach. This beach with crystal-clear waters and white sand is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the sea. You can swim, sunbathe, and savor the sea breeze. A dreamy place to unwind!
The Ancón Peninsula is located about 12 km away from Trinidad, and 375 km east of Havana.
How to Get from Trinidad to Playa Ancón?
You can go from Trinidad to Playa Ancón by:
• shared taxi
The bus from Trinidad to Playa Ancón departs from the corner of Lino Pérez Street (San Procopio) and Antonio Maceo Street (Gutiérrez) – many streets in Cuba have two names (before and after the revolution). The ticket costs 5 dollars/euros and can only be paid by card.
The bus schedule is:
- From Trinidad: 9 am, 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm
- From Playa Ancón: 10 am, 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm, and 6 pm
It’s common to see some drivers offering a shared taxi to Playa Ancón near the bus stop. So, you’ll have to negotiate the price and find more people if you’re traveling alone or as a couple.
You can also ask the owner of the private house where you’re staying to arrange a car with a driver for you. It will cost you 20 dollars/euros for up to 4 people, round trip.
If you enjoy adventure, my recommendation is to rent a bicycle. The journey takes about 40 minutes each way, and you can explore the neighboring beach, La Boca, on the way to Playa Ancón. The price is 5 dollars/euros for the whole day. But be cautious of the heat.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Cuba is from December to May when sunny, dry days with blue skies are expected. The rainy season starts in June and lasts until October/November. August is the hottest and most humid month of the year.
It’s essential to note that almost the entire Caribbean is affected by an annual hurricane season (from June to November), with September and October being the months with the highest likelihood of hurricanes.
Where to Stay in Playa Ancón?
You can stay at Hotel Club Amigo Ancón, a resort with reasonable prices, around $45 per night for a double room, or in private houses/hotels in Trinidad.
Is Playa Ancón Worth Visiting?
The locals’ response was that you should definitely visit it. “Playa Ancón is the most beautiful in Cuba.” “It’s even more beautiful than Varadero,” they said. What we wanted was to see the famous most beautiful beach on the south coast of Cuba, and when we arrived, we saw a perfect image of paradise: white sand, crystal clear blue waters, surrounded by lush vegetation. And the best part was that it was completely empty.
Playa Ancón is 4km long, with simple infrastructure offering rental chairs and umbrellas, parking, and basic restroom facilities. There are also people offering boat excursions to nearby cays and other water activities.
Even after visiting Playa Flamenco in Cayo Coco (my favorite Cuban beach), Playa Pilar in Cayo Guillermo (considered the best in Cuba), and Varadero (the most popular beach destination on the island), Playa Ancón still holds a place in my heart.
And if you still ask me if it’s worth visiting, the answer is definitely YES.
The Valley of the Sugar Mills: Sugar Heritage
And we can’t forget to explore the Valley of the Sugar Mills, which is an important part of Trinidad’s history. This valley is the legacy of the sugar industry and will allow you to learn more about the region’s past. Its landscapes and ancient plantations are impressive.
The Valley of the Sugar Mills is a majestic expanse of wonderful natural valleys that were once the epicenter of processed sugar production and slavery in Cuba. A place where powerful Trinidad families used brutal slave labor to drive their economic success.
Today, the remnants of that industry serve as a reminder of its complicated history. The remains of sugar plantations, barracks, and estates are cultural landmarks: milestones that represent both the suffering and injustices of the past, as well as the resilience and strength of the people affected by it.
History and Sugar Heritage
The Valley of the Sugar Mills was at its peak one of the most important sugar production centers in Cuba in the 18th and 19th centuries. During that period, Cuba’s economy was heavily based on sugar production, and sugar plantations and mills dominated the landscape. The wealth generated by this industry was reflected in the architecture and opulence of the time.
Today, the Valley of the Sugar Mills is a testament to that golden era. The old plantations, mills, and colonial mansions can still be visited and explored. These historic sites allow you to delve into the life and culture of 19th-century Cuba. Some of the highlights you can explore in the Valley of the Sugar Mills include:
This tower is one of the most recognizable icons of the Valley of the Sugar Mills. It was built in the 19th century and served as an observation point from which plantation owners watched over their slaves. The panoramic view from the top is impressive.
Casa de los Ingenios
This museum is located on an old sugar plantation and offers a detailed insight into the history of sugar production in the region.
You can learn about life on the plantations, sugar production techniques, and the influence of the sugar industry on the Cuban economy.
Another restored hacienda that you can visit. This hacienda will take you back in time, showing you the life of wealthy families of the time.
Remains of Sugar Mills: Throughout the valley, you will find ruins of old sugar mills. These sites showcase the magnitude of the industry and how sugar production processes worked.
Romantic Museum: This museum, located in Trinidad, also gives you an overview of the history of the Valley of the Sugar Mills and its importance in the sugar industry.
Experience and Tour
When visiting the Valley of the Sugar Mills, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time. The colonial architecture, ancient machinery, and rural landscapes will allow you to experience Cuba’s history in a unique way.
How to Visit the Valley of the Sugar Mills?
If you’re traveling from Havana, the easiest way to reach the city of Trinidad is by bus with Viazul services or by car, which takes approximately 4 hours. You can also check national flights with Cubana airline.
Now, once you arrive in Trinidad, Cuba, you’ll need to board the tourist train at 9:30 a.m. at the central station. The train that used to transport sugar cane will now take you through the Valley of the Sugar Mills to the Guáimaro Mill. The journey takes approximately 5 hours, but the beautiful scenery and historic stops will make you wish it took 10 hours to arrive.
Top of Collantes Natural Park
Another must-visit place is the Top of Collantes Natural Park. Here, you will find spectacular natural beauty with waterfalls, trails, and lush vegetation. It’s a perfect escape from the city and an opportunity to connect with nature. You can book your excursion as we did with Civitatis; you’ll make the most of your visit to Trinidad, and you won’t have to worry about booking on arrival. Also, don’t miss the chance to take the Free Tours they offer, where you’ll learn about the history of this beautiful place.
My adventure in the Top of Collantes Park was an experience that merged the beauty of nature with colonial history in one of the most astonishing landscapes in Cuba. This park is located just 5 kilometers north of the charming city of Trinidad and spans about two kilometers along the Guaurabo River. Here, I’ll tell you about my enriching horseback riding route.
A Tour Highlighting History and Nature
We began our exploration on horseback, which was exciting in itself, as we followed the “Footprints of History” trail. Along the way, we encountered informational panels reminding us of events that took place here centuries ago. The combination of colonial history and the spectacular natural landscape around us was simply fascinating.
Nature in Its Splendor
As we progressed, lush nature surrounded us. The intense greenery, the singing of birds, and the whispering of the river created a natural symphony that enveloped us. The trails were well-marked, making the walk comfortable and secure.
Javira Waterfall: A Spectacular Finale
The climax of our excursion was the Javira Waterfall, a beautiful cascade that offered a refreshing end to our visit. The crystal-clear waters of the waterfall were irresistible, and we couldn’t resist the temptation to take a dip. The Javira Waterfall was an idyllic spot to relax and enjoy natural beauty at its best.
Tours in the Top of Collantes Park are designed for people of all ages and fitness levels. The trails are of low difficulty, making them accessible to most visitors, and you can ride a horse without any problem even if you’ve never ridden before, as the horses are very accustomed and calm, always exercising the necessary prudence required for horseback riding.
The entrance to the park costs 10 CUC, worth every penny for the experience it offers. You can also hire a local guide to learn more about the history and biodiversity of the place, something you don’t have to pay for if you book it with Civitatis.
The Top of Collantes Park is a natural gem that combines history and nature in one place. The route is an opportunity to connect with Cuba’s past while enjoying spectacular natural surroundings.
If you have the opportunity to visit Trinidad, I highly recommend exploring this park and immersing yourself in its beauty and history; we enjoyed it very much.
We made a stop for lunch at Restaurante los Almendros inside the Park of Cuba and ate delicious local food. The atmosphere and surroundings made us feel happy in the midst of nature while we dined, as we could also enjoy live music.
Its Cuban-style decoration stands out above all. If you choose to try the best shrimp cocktail in the city, El Ranchón Los Almendros is the right place. I highly recommend it.
The Wonderful Javira Waterfall
The Javira Waterfall is an impressive cascade that is part of the Tope de Collantes Natural Park. This natural wonder is a must-visit for anyone exploring the region in search of natural beauty and adventure.
The Javira Waterfall is one of Cuba’s natural gems and is located in the midst of the dense tropical jungle that characterizes this area. The waterfall forms as the crystal-clear waters of the Guaurabo River fall from a considerable height, creating a visually and audibly stunning spectacle.
The combination of the water’s freshness, the roar of the fall, and the greenery of the vegetation creates a magical atmosphere that completely immerses you in nature. This is a place where you can relax, swim, and enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature offers. After finishing the route at Javira Waterfall, you can take a refreshing dip in the middle of a spectacular environment.
You might also be interested in these posts about Cuba:
- Complete guide to Cuba
- What to see in Habana Vieja
- What to see in Trinidad
- The Best Beaches in Cuba Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo
- What to see and do in Varadero
Have you been to Cuba? Tell me what you think of my experience and any suggestions to make the most of your time in Cuba. I hope you find these recommendations helpful!
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