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6 Things to See and Do in Trinidad, Cuba

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Trinidad, a small town on the south coast of Cuba in the province of Sancti Spíritus, has nothing to envy the capital Havana in terms of old-world charm and colonial splendour. Nestled between the deep emerald green of the majestic Escambray Mountains and the beautiful beach of the Caribbean Sea, Trinidad and its neighbouring Valley of the Sugar (valle de los ingenios) have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.

Why not plan a day trip from your all-inclusive resort to see more of Cuban culture next time you’re around Santa Clara?

Trinidad, Cuba: what is it known for, is it worth visiting and how many days should I spend there?

Cuba is a country where time seems to have stood still since the revolution began in 1959. The vintage cars, faded beauty and old-school charm give this unique island an inherited beauty that cannot be found anywhere else, and nowhere is this beauty more present than in Trinidad. The town’s pedestrianised centre is beautifully preserved and offers a glimpse of its grand colonial past, when wealthy sugar plantation owners lived in sprawling mansions.

Trinidad is an easy city to explore, with pleasant surprises on every single one of its cobblestone streets. You can spend a day taking in the most prominent sights on a walking tour or you can spend a week living like a local. Here are just a few of our recommendations for things to do and see in Trinidad.

Plaza Mayor – the best thing to do in Trinidad, Cuba

Plaza Mayor is Trinidad’s main square and the ideal place for tourists start their visit to the city’s most impressive architectural treasures. The charming tree-lined park is surrounded by cobbled streets and pastel-coloured 18th and 19th century colonial buildings with beautiful wood-carved details and wrought-iron railings. These special buildings were owned by wealthy sugar cane magnates when the sugar trade was booming.

Many of the city’s museums and most famous buildings are located around the Plaza Mayor. Some of the most notable are:

  • Museo de Arquitectura Colonial (Colonial Architecture Museum), which offers guided tours of Trinidad
  • Palacio Brunet (Romantic Museum), which displays items illustrating the life of wealthy sugarcane landowners
  • Casa de Aldeman Ortiz (Art Gallery), with its frescoed ceilings and grand staircase, which houses an art school and exhibits Cuban art
  • Parroquial Mayor Church (Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima), with its neoclassical façade, famous for its 18th century wooden statue of Senor de la Vera Cruz or Christ of the True Cross
  • Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco (Museo Nacional de Lucha Contra Bandidos), with its yellow and green bell tower and an exhibition of photographs, documents and objects relating to the Cuban Revolution.

Museo Historico Municipal or Palacio Cantero

The Palacio Cantero is one of the most impressive buildings in the heart of Old Trinidad. Once owned by a German landowner named Kanter (Cantero), the mustard-yellow building has a grand entrance that opens onto a sun-drenched courtyard with original tile work and surrounded by vaulted galleries. Now home to Trinidad’s Historical Museum, the neoclassical building houses some of the city’s most important historical artefacts, artwork, furniture and documents. The colourfully decorated rooms are a delight to visit.

The museum’s tower is accessible from the courtyard and offers panoramic views of Trinidad’s Plaza Mayor, the city’s red rooftops, the surrounding lush valley and the water beyond.

Bar La Canchánchara

Located in one of Trinidad’s oldest houses, it’s one of the best places for a classic Cuban cocktail! Indeed, La Canchánchara serves the city’s most famous cocktail, after which the bar is named. The recipe for the Canchánchara cocktail is not an exact science, but the most common version is a delicious mix of honey or molasses, lime juice and fortified sugar cane eau-de-vie (or rum), served in small decorated earthenware cups with a straw made of real straw. Live Cuban music plays in the charming courtyard all day, making this popular spot feel like a hidden gem.

This is a great place to meet local people, brush up on your Spanish and create unique memories of your time in Trinidad.

Topes de Collante National Park – definitely a must thing to do around Trinidad, Cuba

Trinidad is surrounded by the magnificent Sierra del Escambray mountain range. Day trips to the Topes de Collantes National Park, located within the mountain range, are a popular destination for hikers, campers and nature lovers, or as a day trip from Trinidad. The Topes de Collantes Park is a lush tropical rainforest filled with a variety of plants, birds, butterflies, animals, natural pools, rivers, canyons and caves. Orchids, palm trees, wild banana trees and several species of animals and birds, including Cuba’s national bird, the Tocororo, call this forest home. Coffee plantations and majestic waterfalls are also part of the landscape.

One of the most popular walks in the Topes de Collante Park is the one to the magnificent Salto del Caburni or Caburni Waterfall. It’s a tough and gruelling walk through tropical rainforest, but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular waterfalls and clear pools of cool, refreshing water to swim in and cool off. If you don’t fancy a hike, the falls can be reached by car.

La Casa de la Música

People who travelled to Cuba have fantasised about stumbling upon a spontaneous dance in the street. If serendipity doesn’t work its magic, you can force it by heading to Trinidad’s Casa de la Música. Located a few steps from the Plaza Mayor, on the steps of the Grand Staircase, La Casa de la Música comes alive every night at 10pm with a live salsa show. The mesmerising rhythm draws tourists and locals alike up the steps, where music lovers can sit on the steps to enjoy the show or join the lithe locals on the “dance floor”. The sky and stars above, the flowing mojitos and the passionate dancing will make a night at La Casa de la Música one of your most memorable Trinidad experiences.

Playa Ancón – the best beach near Trinidad, Cuba

One of Cuba’s most beautiful beaches is just a short distance from Trinidad’s city centre, roughly 20 minutes drive. The narrow strip of land is home to the four-kilometre-long, white, fine sandy beach of Playa Ancon, a paradise for playa lovers. Snorkelling and diving in the emerald waters are popular activities. There are 21 dive sites with black coral, sponges and many species of tropical fish (source: Cuba Junky). Boat trips to nearby coves and swimming holes and many other water sports and activities are also on the menu at this popular beach.

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