24 hours in Trinidad, Cuba
Whilst on a two week holiday in Cayo Coco an island off central Cuba, we decided to spend two days breaking away from the isolation of the island to explore the quaint, small, colourful, colonial town of Trinidad. It is a very picturesque location, hugging the coastline with beautiful views over the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Also a UNESCO World heritage Site since 1988.
We left early from Cayo Coco taking about 3 and a half hours to get to Trinidad by coach, there are lots of great attractions to stop at on the way to break up the journey.
During the morning on the way there we stopped alongside a beautiful, old, fully working steam railway, watching the hustle and bustle of the locals boarding before we crossed the line to Manaca-Iznaga watch tower, a 45m iconic landmark in the Valle de los ingenious valley. This tower was once used to allow the sugar barons to watch the slaves working in the fields below. The first three levels are square and the top four are octagonal. For a small donation you are able to climb to the top and take in the spectacular views all around you. Not advised if you have vertigo!
Soon after we arrived in the hot, dry town of Trinidad. It proved it really does live up to all of the tourist brochure hype. The meticulously preserved town offers a window into the past, from its sprawling colonial palaces and plazas to its remnants of sugar mills and slave barracks from another era. It is easy to soak up the rich Spanish colonial architecture through the picturesque cobblestone streets within this walkable city, as you wander around Trinidad it’s like walking through a living museum. You soon forget your in the 21st century with the old classic cars, beautiful buildings, museums bursting with history and salsa in the streets.
Find a seat in the Plaza Mayor square and just take in the majesty of this charming atmosphere without masses of people spoiling the tranquil setting just like we did.
Within a short time of just walking around Trinidad, I felt that we got a real sense of belonging in the place. We pottered about the local markets, where vendors were selling local crafts. The atmosphere was still quiet and calm and the locals very welcoming and friendly. We drank rum cocktails in a side street, small bar whilst relaxing in the sunshine just like the locals.
Following my nose and the strong smell of cuban cigars, I entered a local shop near the main square were a lady was sat making cigars. She didn’t mind us watching for a while, but the process was fascinating. We bought a few too!
Must see sights: –
*Plaza Mayor – The historic centre of the town, surrounded by buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th century.
*Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima – The focal point of Trinidad I would say and the largest church in cuba. An impressive building from the outside, poor and very empty looking on the inside.
*Museums: – There are so many museums in Trinidad, to name a few ‘Romantic museum (Brunet palace) Art’ – 14 exhibition rooms recreating a colonial house from 1830‘s. Historical museums including, ‘Municipal museum’ and the ‘National museum of the struggle against bandits’.
*The most important must see for me is just strolling around the cobbled streets and absorbing the surroundings to the max. Such a beautiful town locked in a time warp.
Our guesthouse was situated outside of the town of Trinidad over looking a beach along the Ancon peninsula. It was very basic, with an en-suite bathroom, no balcony just a window looking out over the sea. Glad it was just for one night though, as on arrival the bathroom floor was covered in tiny red crabs which miraculously disappeared when you turned the shower on, then re appeared again. Quite funny really but slightly unnerving at night as they were coming under the bathroom door in to the bedroom! Nothing a towel under the door didn’t resolve though…
After dumping our bags, we quickly made our way to the beach to catch the last couple hours of sunshine and take a dip in the warm Caribbean sea. The beach was like something out of a film – so bizarre. There was a small beach bar to gets drinks and a few sun loungers scattered around. But there was really cute puppies, piglets and chickens running round, horses tied up near the trees at the back of the beach too. It was just crazy – but I loved it!
The next morning was my brother’s 21st birthday we had a lovely celebratory breakfast before we made our return journey to Cayo Coco. we stopped and spent half a day on visiting ‘El Nicho’ waterfalls, which I highly recommend. We hiked through and around caves and deep into the flora and fauna coming across secret natural rock pools with fresh, crystal clear water that you can even swim in if you fancy a cooling dip at the base of the waterfall. This was amazing and so refreshing! We also had a picnic lunch in the beautiful surroundings.
Where to stay suggestions: –
- Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad 5* (from £78 per night)
- Casa de Miriam B&B (Tripadvisor Travellers choice 2013 winner)
- Islazul Hotel La Ronda
Hope you have as much fun visiting Trinidad as we did…