Trinidad lies in the central part of Cuba on the south coast at 370 km from Havana. Trinidad city was founded by Diego de Velasquez in the beginning of the Colonial Era. The historical role of Trinidad is quite limited to the early 19 th century as here the industrialization of the sugar industry began. Thanks to a number of historical coincidences the historic centre of those times has been preserved. Unesco has declared this centre and the nearby Valley of the Sugar Mills Patrimony of Mankind.
What to do in Trinidad?
A walk over the cobbled streets of the centre of Trinidad makes you feel like going back into time. Don’t forget to visit the Romantic Museum and the Cantero Museum near the Parque Mayor, it is like paying a visit to a rich sugar barons family. For refreshments and some music try the Canchanchara bar. With a car you can visit the nearby Valley of Saint Luis where the sugar cane production became industrialized at the end of the 18th beginning 19th century under impulse of the slave trader Pedro Iznaga. You can visit his hacienda which has a bell tower to call the slaves to work. It used to be the highest building in the whole of Cuba. The best views over the valley are from the Mirador which you find at your left when leaving the city for Sancti Spiritus. An unforgettable way to visit the valley is with the steam train which leaves daily around 09.30 AM from the Trinidad railway station. The track is incredible through small tunnels and over sometimes huge bridges, right through the sugar cane fields to the hacienda of Iznaga at Manaca, even continuing to the colonial hacienda Guachinango. The functioning of the train is a bit erratic as it breaks down easily but if it is working on your visit don’t doubt to do this. Check it out in the Trinidad railway station.
At the background of Trinidad loom the Sierra del Escambray and the Topes de Collantes nature park. This huge mountainous area gives possibilities for ecological visits like hikes, horse riding, swimming in waterfalls, bird watching and adventure. The easiest visit is to the Cubano farm where a trail takes you in 45 minutes to a beautiful waterfall where the swimming is just to hard to resist. In the farm you can eat fresh cat fish right from the pond. To get there one can go by car but the track is a bit difficult. There are organized excursions from Trinidad that do it by horse or mountain truck as well. If you don’t mind walking you can get there also on foot.
Up in the mountains from the health centre Topes de Collantes other trails take you to the waterfalls of Caburni, the longest falls in Cuba. Other trails can be quite adventurous with parts swimming through rapids and underneath waterfalls. They can be booked in the city centre at the tourist offices or in the hotels.
Visits to the park are best done in the morning as in the afternoon it often rains on altitude, especially in the summer.
On a sunny day you might wish you’d be lying on a beach. In the Trinidad area this is also possible as the Ancon beach at 15 km is one of the finest in Cuba. Near hotel Ancon and Brisas the sand is pure white and the sea is not profound. From the marina you can also a take a day excursion on a boat to one of the deserted keys in front of the coast. You spent a few hours on a virgin beach island sipping away Cuba libres and eating fresh lobster.
But at night you have to be back in Trinidad because the night life with many open air music cafés near the Parque Mayor are unforgettable experience. The Casa de la Musica and the Casa de la Trova are the best places to learn the salsa and enjoy a typical Cuban night with the locals.
To get to Trinidad one has to go by road as there are no regular flights from Havana to Trinidad. Only a few charter flights from Canada land in the nearby Cienfuegos airport. The drive from Havana is a bit long but the last hour along a seaside road is quite fascinating. In Trinidad city you have the 3 star Las Cuevas hotel on top of a hill with great views over the surroundings. Under the hotel there is a cave system which can be visited with a qualified guide. The hotel to be recommended is the brand new Iberostar Trinidad 5 stars. The stylish interior decorating in the colonial building makes you feel like in a Trinidad mansion of a rich sugar baron. The hotel is located right at the municipal square at walking distance of the colonial Parque Mayor. If you prefer a beach stay you can find 3 all inclusive hotels at the beach of Ancon at 15 km from the city centre: the 3 stars stars Ancon and Costasur, and the 4 stars Brisas Trinidad al Mar. An ecological choice can also be the Ma Dolores, at the entrance of Trinidad coming from Cienfuegos. Here you find comfortable lodges at the Guanayabo river.