Newest Review: ... preserved nature was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1988. **Why Visit** If the historical nature and opportunity to see a qua... more
Time warp in Trinidad
Member Name: berrydelight
Advantages: Colourful, historic, varied
During the 1800's the area surrounding Trinidad was famous for its sugar production, this resulted in a huge amass of wealth which was spent in constructing opulent, colonial mansions, heavily influenced by the a strong Spanish presence and accompanied by dreamy, winding cobbled streets, set against the backdrop of beautiful Caribbean hills.
Luckily for the tourists the sudden end to the sugar boom came in the 1850's following the Wars of Independence. As wealth quickly diverted from the town so did the desire to remain in the area and therefore no redevelopment has occurred. The clock literally stopped in 1850, created an open air museum for future generations and due to the town nearly perfectly preserved nature was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1988.
If the historical nature and opportunity to see a quaint Cuban town in action isn't enough the tranquillity, friendly and small scale of Trinidad offers a refreshing break from the bustle of Havana. Although bus loads of tourist do descend on a regular basis the town is peaceful. The tourist night spots are well hidden from the main square making this a good location for varying ages. Staying for two or three days gives you the opportunity to experience the surrounding beauty of La Boca and Playa Ancon. So if the above has whetted your appetite the below is designed to delve into more detail about whats on offer.
**What to See**
Simply walking around Trinidad is a satisfying experience, back streets will expose you to Cuban family life whilst sticking to the tourist trial will lead you to craft stalls, art galleries, coconut sellers and the ususal cigar touts. Set against some of the most stunning buildings I have ever laid eyes on you can blissfully wile away an afternoon but if looking for some direction the itinerary below offers something for everyone.
The main square Plaza Mayor is easily found and here you can find the impressive Museo Historico Municpal, worthy of a visit simply so you can scale the tower and get a birds eye view of the town. ($2 to enter and best done before noon).
At night and at the side of Plaza Mayor you will find Casa de la Musica, an outside music venue that offers live bands playing salsa with a salsa show at 10pm. This remarkable venue has sloping steps up one side, waiters serving very cheap drinks and a good mix of locals and tourists. The heat of the night and the atmosphere make this a friendly venue.
If your looking for an interesting and later evening Disco Ayala is situated above the town and in a cave. Possibly the most remarkable venue Ive ever been clubbing in this surprisingly well run venue can only be accessed up a hill and a dark alley so flat shoes are essential! Saturday nights are the best.
Playa Ancon is Trinidad's main beach and when we visited on a Sunday it was packed with Cuban families gathered together and enjoying several bottles of rum! The beach itself is long and relatively narrow but the warm Caribbean waters and soft sand make it a nice change from walking around the town. Food options are very limited so bring it with you if possible. Although you can get a taxi from Trinidad we took the more adventurous route and cycled, the long route on the way there (around 18k) took us through La Boca and down the coast, stunning scenery and made the lounging in the sun for the rest of day very deserved. A much shorter 10k on the way back made this a perfect way to see more of the area even for the non-fitness minded amongst the group (Me!).
**Where to Stay**
Staying in a casa in Trinidad is a truly authentic experience and with over 400 in the town you can just turn up and find somewhere to stay $20-30 per room. The food/restaurants in Trinidad is nothing to write about so eat in your casa's, not only are you providing the host with much needed extra income the food is home-cooked, authentic and often very good $8-11 depending on your
Buses from Havana run every day and cost $25 (around £20). Trains are non-existent but if there is more than two of you travelling private taxis are a reliable option.
Overall Trinidad was one of the highlights of my trip and although I am keen for Cuba to remain relatively low on tourists this is one place I would recommend to anyone.
Summary: A must see for any Cuba trip