A number of visitors to Cuba tend to stick to Havana.
This can be understandable if you’re pressed for time, since you want to go to a place where a good time is all but guaranteed.
Don’t get us wrong, Havana is a suitably awesome destination for a holiday, but it’s far from being all that there is to see when it comes to towns and cities in Cuba.
In the lush green hills of central Cuba, you will find the stunning town of Trinidad.
With a rich and often dark history, this place will both move and fascinate you.
It also looks utterly stunning, and sometimes the light will hit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed architecture in a way that will make you think you’re dreaming… or at least that you’ve maybe had too much Cuban rum.
But what is it about this part of Cuba that makes it such a revelation to travel to?
And what exactly are the best of the best when it comes to things to do in Trinidad Cuba?
Casa de La Musica: Where the Party Starts
No matter where you go in Cuba, you will keep seeing a venue that goes by the name of Casa de La Musica (House of Music).
No, it’s not some sort of chain operation like McDonalds or Starbucks, but is the name given to the main musical venue in each town. Havana actually has two of them, which can lead to confusion.
The Casa de La Musica is a definite addition to any list of things to do in Trinidad Cuba. It’s located directly on the main square (Plaza Mayor) and is slightly elevated.
There’s a very gentle staircase that slopes upwards (and each stair is so wide that you can hardly think of it as an individual stair).
There’s live music almost every night, and this is the best place to get the party started. In many cases the party will start and finish at the fabulous Casa de La Musica.
A Bird’s Eye View
The Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco (Church and Monastery of Saint Francis) is not particularly tall, and yet this cheerful yellow bell tower dominates the skyline of Trinidad and makes for a handy navigation point.
You might have already “seen” this luminous bell tower before you even arrive in Trinidad.
It’s actually printed on the 25 cent Cuban convertible peso (CUC) coin, although it’s naturally better in person.
For around four of these coins (approximately $1 CUC, which is subject to change), you can climb right to the top of the bell tower. Built in 1813, a climb to the viewing platform allows you to see all the way to the beach.
Things to Do in Trinidad Cuba: The Sugar Connection
Much of Trinidad’s early prosperity was built upon the sugar industry, and a lot of the hard work was done by people who were there against their wills.
Just on the edge of Trinidad is the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills). This was where massive green fields of sugarcane were cultivated by slave labor.
It can be stunning to walk around the disused sugar mills (many of which are surprisingly intact) and former slave dormitories.
This area can become a little clogged with visitors during the warmer months, so it can be nice to hire a horse and explore the valley from the relative comfort of a saddle.
This allows you to get away from the more crowded zones of the valley.
No matter if there are a whole bunch of people waiting, there’s something you’ll need to see when you’re in the Valle de los Ingenios. It’s perhaps the most moving and poignant of all the things to do in Trinidad Cuba.
Climb and Remember
In the Valle de los Ingenios you should climb to the top of the Manaca Iznaga tower. This tower is just under 45 meters in height and was constructed in 1816 by the owner of the plantation, Manaca Iznaga. It’s a little chilling to climb to the top of this wooden tower and think that it was once used to track runaway slaves.
It’s a truly moving experience.
The mammoth bell that used to sound out the beginning and end of a slave’s working day is now on the ground at the base of the tower. It was removed for safety reasons so it would not come crashing down of its own accord.
Blues and Yellows
Much like the colors of the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, many parts of the town are painted in pastel colors that manage to be both bright and subdued.
It must be something to do with the amazing sunlight in this part of the world.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of the town is Tres Cruces, one of the central neighborhoods and a must-see when it comes to things to do in Trinidad Cuba. It’s really just a residential part of the town, so don’t expect nightlife or fine dining.
What you will see is street after street of bright blue and yellow homes that give the town such a feeling of warmth.
Seriously, once you leave Cuba, all other towns and their buildings will seem so drab and boring!
Hit the Beach
You can feel the ocean breezes throughout the town, but the actual ocean is on the very edge of Trinidad.
A day at the beach is a welcome inclusion on any list of things to do in Trinidad Cuba.
The main beach is known as Playa Ancón and is nowhere near as crowded as other beaches in Cuba can be (although you will have to fight for space during the peak months).
To get to the beach, it takes about 10 minutes in a taxi, or you can rent a bike and be there in an hour or so.
Check out our amazing tours in Cuba to see it yourself!