Why Trinidad is Cuba’s real star! Trinidad in Cuba, a short four hour scenic drive from the hustle and bustle of Havana. It’s a place that will make you believe that magic happens. So to not add Trinidad to your Cuba itinerary is to do yourself a disservice. Here are 7 reasons why Trinidad is Cuba’s real star!
1. The Achingly Beautiful Plaza Mayor
It’s important to remember that Trinidad was once an extremely wealthy town. This wealth was obtained by the slave labour that drove sugar wealth in the 18th century. The former wealth of the town is reflected in the grand buildings that border its main square (Plaza Mayor). Most of the structures have been extensively restored now. The end of slavery saw the collapse of the sugar industry and left much of Trinidad in a dilapidated state for close to a century.
This changed in 1988 when the area was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The funding made it possible for the restoration of many buildings and their ongoing maintenance. You’ll want to spend an afternoon strolling around the Plaza Mayor admiring the beauty of this architecture.
2. The Vibrant Nightlife of Trinidad
Every city and town in Cuba has a Casa de la Musica with live music and dancing every night that is the focal point of its nightlife. If you can’t dance Salsa don’t worry, no one cares as long as you are having a good time!
There are plenty of restaurants and bars with outdoor terraces around the Plaza Mayor too. Here you can sit back, take a breather and watch the world go by. Or if you feel like a little dancing there is Disco Ayala. A nightclub that has been set up inside an actual cave on top the of Los Cuevas – the hill overlooking the town.
To sit have a drink and listen to some great Cuban music try Casa de la Trova. It’s just a two minutes walk from the Casa de la Musica in the Plaza Mayor.
3. Historic Trinidad – The Valley of the Sugar Mills
Just outside the city of Trinidad lies the UNESCO Site Valle de los Ingenios or Valley of the Sugar Mills. At its height more than 50 sugar mills were operating here. Although many of them were demolished a handful still remain, such as the former plantation, Manaca Iznaga. The former owner’s residence has been converted into a restaurant and some of the original slave barracks still stand. The original bell tower/watch tower was once used by the guards to survey the surrounding fields where over 30,000 slaves once toiled. If you feel so inclined you can climb the tower and take in the amazing view.
4. The Beguiling Escambray Mountains
The Escambray Mountains begin just beyond the Valley of the Sugar Mills and it is a microclimate unto itself . It’s well worth hiking up there but you will need a guide and transportation. There are even a number of small coffee plantations in the hills which you can visit.
A guided hike to the Caburni Waterfalls to watch the clear waters cascade over a 62 metre drop is definitely a highlight. While it’s not all that far from Trinidad, you’ll still need to allocate at least a full day to explore.
After Fidel Castro took control of Cuba in 1959, a number of insurgents opposed to his rule took to the hills. Many of these rebels sheltered in the mountains as they battled with the new Cuban government. The insurgency was ultimately unsuccessful, and defeat was declared in 1965.
5. The White Sands of Playa Ancon
The edge of the city of Trinidad is home to Playa Ancon, one of Cuba’s best-known beaches. It’s like someone drew a picture of their dream beach, with white sands and beautiful blue waves. There are other beaches when Playa Ancon becomes overcrowded in mid summer.
The seaside village of Casilda is a great alternative. If you want to enjoy the rustic charms of Trinidad while staying in luxury, this is most definitely an option. In one of the many of all-inclusive resorts in Casilda.
6. Trinidad’s Creole & Cajun Roots
Nowhere is the African influence on Cuban culture more evident than in Trinidad. The fusion of African Latino cultures can best be explored via your taste buds. Trinidad has an abundance of delicious Creole and Cajun food, which means the local dining options are the probably the most diverse in all of Cuba. Trinidad’s proximity to the ocean means that succulent seafood is readily available.
It’s worth trying the swordfish at 1514 Restaurant, (Simón Bolívar 515). For a more casual dining experience, try the regional cuisine at Mesón del Regidor (Simón Bolívar 424). This place is where local musicians serenade you as you dine. Other worthy contenders include Bistro Trinidad, (Calle Encarnacion 34) Restaurante Casa Shango, (Juan Manuel Marquez 31).
7. A Day Trip to La Boca
Another short getaway is just on the outskirts of Trinidad is La Boca (river mouth). A small beach fishing village where every wonderful stereotype about such a place seems to be true. You can sit by the water and watch fishermen bring in their daily catch. The fresh catch is then sold to local restaurants where the fish are prepared and cooked to perfection for you to enjoy! La Boca has only a handful of accommodation options. So you can opt to spend the night here instead of making the short trek back into town.
Check out our 8 DAY CUBA GROUP TOUR and let us help you discover why Trinidad is Cuba’s Real Star!