Is nightlife the domain of the young? Once you get to a certain age, the idea of spending all night in a crowded, smoke-filled nightclub might have minimal appeal. Of course, there are many young people who would also shudder at such an idea. Cuba is famed for its nightlife, and there might be a large number of adventurers who come to a place such as Havana largely for this purpose. Mojitos! Salsa!
It’s possible to enjoy a vibrant nightlife in Cuba without the hectic hassle of the crowds you might be expecting. Trinidad nightlife manages to be lively and yet relaxed. This might sound like a contradiction, but it’s the best way to describe the party scene in this remarkable, romantic town. You can go out and have a darn good time without being overwhelmed.
So where should you go to have a good time while in glorious Trinidad?
Casa de la Musica: The Best of the Best in Trinidad Nightlife
A number of cities and towns have a Casa de la Musica, and they’re all unique (it’s not a chain operation or anything like that). It’s often the best place to start exploring the party scene in a given destination, and this is no different when it comes to Trinidad nightlife. There are live bands and a constant feeling of festivity, seemingly like the whole town has come to meet and dance. The party often spills out onto the Plaza Mayor (Main Square) of Trinidad, although it’s not as though you would ever feel claustrophobic inside the Casa de la Musica – the whole venue is open air. You will literally be dancing under the stars. It’s a good spot for an all-inclusive evening of fun.
You can visit the casa, see what is happening on the plaza, before relaxing in one of the many restaurants overlooking the square. There will sometimes be musicians playing on the square itself, giving you dinner and a show. Sometimes these musicians will approach passers-by in order to sell CDs of their work. Don’t worry, they’re rarely pushy, and it can be a nice souvenir of your time in Trinidad. Located at Plaza Mayor in Central Trinidad.
Ayala: A Truly Underground Party
The concept of an underground party isn’t to everyone’s taste. It conjures up ideas of illegal clubs in abandoned sites, filled to the brim with sweaty club kids, jerking their bodies around in vague time to the electronic beats (which they call dancing). Ayala is literally an underground party, but not in the way you might be thinking. It’s a club located in an actual cave. Of course, the cave has been converted into an appropriate venue, with seating and lights. The lighting is something that needs to be seen to be believed as it bounces off the rough, natural interior of the cave. In many ways, the music choices make it feel like somewhat of a conventional nightclub, but this doesn’t make it any less special. Ayala is a deserved addition to any list of the best of Trinidad nightlife, and wouldn’t it be fun to tell your friends that you went partying in a cave? Located at Las Cuevas, Trinidad (at the top of the hill).
True Cuban Heat at Casa de la Trova
The Casa de la Trova is one of the mainstays of the Trinidad nightlife scene, and with good reason too. This unassuming courtyard comes to life at night and is one of the best choices if you want to practise your salsa dancing (and there’s also a fair amount of flamenco music and dancing – a leftover from Cuba’s Spanish heritage). You might want to get there early, since the venue is located in a small courtyard that fills with people rather quickly. It can also get a little warm when it’s full. The drinks are refreshingly inexpensive, so it’s a good choice for an authentic night out that won’t break the bank. Located on Fernando H. Echerri 29, Trinidad.
A Whole House of Beer?
Cuba has charm in abundance, but some of this charm can be oddly shabby in nature. This is obvious from the moment you set foot inside the Casa de la Cerveza (House of Beer). It’s housed inside an old theatre that was built in 1840. The roof fell in back in 1901 and has not been repaired. The walls were secured, and the site lives on as a music venue and beer hall, and has evolved into a popular addition to the Trinidad nightlife on offer. Don’t expect some kind of hipster beer paradise with a vast array of choices. This is Cuba, after all, and they like to keep things simple. There is generally only the local Cristal brand available, but it’s cheap and tasty. Located on Calle Antonio Maceo 461.
A Beach Party at Playa Ancon
We also want to mention a great spot on the edge of Trinidad – somewhere that you’re likely to visit anyway. Some 12 km (7.5 miles) out of town is the resplendent Plaza Ancon. This stunning beach is well worth a visit, and you can even rent a bike to get there (but perhaps avoid making the ride during the hottest part of the day). Alternatively, it’s fairly cheap to get there in one of the creaking, ancient taxis that operate in and around Trinidad. There is also a bus, but it’s infrequent and can be astonishingly crowded.
The beach itself is beautiful and it can be worthwhile to hang around when the sun goes down. There are many beach bars dotted along the edge of the white sand, and these turn into delightful little beach parties on the seemingly endless warm nights. After all, it might not feel like a true Cuban getaway without a beach party.