Trinidad de Cuba is one of the cities I looked forward to seeing. I had read many wonderful things about it.
We even planned to stay here for a couple days to enjoy the place, but we couldn’t rent a car so we were forced to book a tour from a travel agency. The tour included the visit of 3 cities. (Santa Clara, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos) and the cost was 93 Euro.
At the end of the day, it proved to be a better choice than renting a car.
We left the hotel very early in the morning, we visited Santa Clara and then we arrived around noon in Trinidad and the first stop was at a restaurant (lunch was included in the tour price).
Santa Ana restaurant was originally a Spanish prison converted into a restaurant. The food was good, although there weren’t many options to choose from, but we managed to find something to enjoy.
After lunch, we all gathered and visited the little town on foot.
Trinidad was founded by French colonists 200 years ago and it is a fascinating city.
The golden era of the city was sometime in the 19th century, when Trinidad was the last Spanish colony of the New World. Others had proclaimed their independence already.
Trinidad has become one of the largest sugar cane producing regions, so the sugar lords built real palaces all over the city.
Trinidad is a small town and can easily be visited in one day. Lose yourself along colorful streets and observe the Cuban culture.
In the Plaza Mayor, you will find the city’s cathedral. But the interest point is near the cathedral. It is a huge square, where people meet to dance, drink, have fun both day and night. In the evening the city becomes a city of music and dance, but during our visit in Cuba, Fidel Castro had died and it was a national mourning week. So, in the musical city of Trinidad no music could be heard. Actually, across the country music shows of any kind entertainment was canceled.
In Trinidad, there are some houses belonging to former sugar cane farm owners and among them is Palacio Cantero which is the most impressive. The former home of Justo German Cantero was now turned into a museum.
During the colonial period, a German doctor came to Trinidad. At that time there were 3 Sugar lods in the city: Don Pedro Iznaga, Don Jose Mariano Borrell (Earl of Guaimaro) and Jean Guillaume Bequer (an American from Philadelphia who changed his name after obtaining Spanish citizenship. Out of the three, Bequer contributed the most to improving the city. They say he was behind the building of cobblestone streets of Trinidad.
They say Borrell left a fortune of over 1 million pesos that was sent to Spain to his two daughters. He used over 600 sugar boxes that he filled with jewelry and other artifacts.
Don Pedro Iznaga who was overweight, is said that he liked to have dinner naked. He used to do that on the roof terrace and it was accompanied by music sang by slaves.
His younger wife was in love with Cantero. And it is rumored that they have poisoned Iznaga in order to be together. In this way, Cantero had inherited one of the greatest fortunes of those times. Being a poet, composer and writer he quickly became a patron of arts, But because he was extravagant, he lost all his fortune…but even then, he hosted one last fancy dinner.
From our point of view, Trinidad was very commercial and not very impressive. Everyone is used to sell stuff. There are many tourists on the cobblestone streets of the city. Being a small town, it seems quite stifling so the little town lost its charm.
How to get to Trinidad
You can reach the city in several ways: by bus, taxi, rental car or tour organized by a travel agency which was also our case.
Bus – there is a national carrier called Viazul and you can find buses daily from major cities. But I advise you to book your ticket directly from the bus station one day in advance. Seats fill in quickly.
Havana – Trinidad (23.94 EUR / CUC) – 7:00 am, 10:45 am, 2:15 p.m. (6.50 h)
Vinales – Trinidad (35.43 EUR / CUC) – 6:45 am (9.30 h)
Varadero – Trinidad (19.15 EUR / CUC) – 7:30 am (6.25 h)
Cienfuegos – Trinidad (5.75 EUR / CUC) – 00:15 am, 2.40 pm, 3:15 p.m., 6:40 p.m. (1.35 h)
These are the most important routes, but for more information you can check the site of Viazul.
Taxi – there are many taxis that go between cities. A one-way trip from Varadero to Trinidad costs 160 Euro / CUC. If the group is bigger than it might be worth the effort, and if you could rent a classic car you will have an unforgettable experience. Not to mention its more comfortable than buses.
Rented car – if you manage to rent a car. I understand that it is quite difficult to rent because there are not enough cars. We haven’t succeeded. It is the perfect solution if you travel in a group and the budget is not a problem, because there are many things to discover in Cuba.
One can rent a car for 75 Euro/day, then add 15 Euro insurance and a 150 Euro deposit. Of course, I found also much higher prices.
6 Things you have to do in Trinidad
- Have a walk
The small colored houses, glued one to another and cobblestone alleys represent the true spirit of the Cubans. You should lose yourself on the back alleys instead of the main streets in order to feel the true local spirit.
- Visit Palace Cantero
The luxury and extravagance of the family that lived here made this house a contrast to the rest of the city. You should pay it a visit. Its really nice .
It has no entry fee.
- Eat at Plaza Mayor
It is the heart of the city. Like most Spanish colonial cities the cathedral sits downtown. You should check out the bars and the restaurants.
- Go to the Casa de la Musica
It is right in the middle of Plaza Mayor. Every evening live music is played. Sit on the steps or at one of the nearby restaurants and enjoy the music. Entry into Casa de la Musica is 1 Euro / CUC
- Valle de Los Ingenious
It was one of the first sugar plantations in Cuba. Due to favorable soil and easy access to slaves brought directly from the port of Trinidad, it has developed rapidly.
But after the dissolution of Russian Union, Cuba’s economy collapsed. To support Cuba, Mother Russia bought sugar at prices above market margins. When Russia stopped these contracts, the main source of income for the country stopped.
Now the big factories that once were great, remain just a memory with some better preserved than others. Manaca Iznaga can be visited. There is a tower where you could oversee the plantation, a slave house, and the main house, which is a now restaurant. UNESCO is trying to convince the locals to plant cane because the area will look better, but people are not convinced.
- Ancon Beach
It is 20 minutes’ drive from Trinidad. Stretched white sand beaches and crystalline water. The perfect place to relax. You can get a taxi and it can cost between Euro 10-15.