Top things to do in Trinidad Cuba
Most guided tours of Cuba make a stop in Trinidad and with good reason. This beautiful UNESCO colonial town is home to picturesque architecture and fascinating history, nestled in a stunning natural setting. Here’s our favourite way to spend two days in Trinidad, Cuba.
Day one: from the city to the coast
Wake up in traditional Cuban comfort by staying in a Casa Particular in the heart of the town. Start your day by strolling the cobbled streets whilst they are still cool (ish) and quiet, and visiting the two main squares of the town: Cespedes Park is the more bustling of the two, great for people watching as the town wakes up. Plaza Mayor is sedate and peaceful, with swaying palms and colonial churches in the background. It’s one of the most photographed spots in the city.
Next, stop in at the nearby Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos and learn about the various conflicts relating from counterrevolutionary gangs which took place in the hills surrounding the city. No Spanish – no problem: when you have a private tour guide, they can translate for you. Finish your visit to the museum by climbing the iconic bell tower for panoramic views of the whole city.
Cuban coffee and shopping
You might be ready for your next dose of delicious Cuban coffee. Café Don Pepe is right by the museum. Tables are dotted around a little garden and the sound of street musicians drifts in from the square. It’s made for tourists but it is reasonably priced and well worth it for a little break. Next, wander the streets close to Plaza Mayor for some of the best souvenir shopping outside of Havana. Wooden handicrafts, lace and crochet, traditional men’s guayabera shirts (four pocketed cotton shirts worn here), contemporary art, cigars and rum products abound.
Where to eat in Trinidad
As with any tourist town, there are new places to eat springing up all the time, some good, some not so much. If you are traveling with a guide, they can help you to book a spot. One of our favourites is San José – it’s rated #1 on Trip Advisor and has recently introduced American style buzzers for waiting customers. The food is reasonably priced with huge delicious portions and great service. We love their congrís (Cuban rice and beans). Another option is La Botija, especially if you’re hungry (huge portions) or the recently opened La Esquina, with a stylish interior and lovely terrace.
Grab snacks, get some drinks, and head to the beach for the afternoon. Playa Ancón is just 12km away. You will find the quintessential Cuban beach with swaying palms, white sand and a sunset like none other. There are sunbeds if that’s your thing, or take a little wander and find a secluded spot by the water. The sunsets here are incredible. Stay out of the town tonight and enjoy a delicious seafood meal at one of the many restaurants in the small village of Casilda.
Day two: the history of Trinidad and the Valley of the Sugar Mills
Get up early and enjoy the sun rising over the red-tiled roofs; many Casa Particulars in the town have roof terraces so you can enjoy the views and your coffee! Contact us for help finding a great casa in Trinidad.
Valle de los Ingenios
No trip to Trinidad is complete without a tour of the so-called Valley of the Sugar Mills. It was the sugar industry which brought the wealth to the city, and which was also responsible for the influx of enslaved Africans to the island in the 19th century.
Visiting Manaca Iznaga Estate
The first stop is the Manaca Iznaga estate, where you can visit the beautiful weekend home of a wealthy plantation owner and learn about how the industry worked here. Try some traditional, freshly squeezed sugar cane juice – guarapo. When travelling with a local guide, you can also ask them to accompany you to visit some local people who live near the estate, to get a clearer idea of what life is like for the Cubans still living here. Climb the watch tower for stunning views of the valley – just make sure you have a head for heights!
The next chapter in the Cuban sugar story is told at the FNTA Sugar Factory and Museum – an early 20th century sugar processing plant from the early 20th century, recently reopened to visitors. Here you can get a sense of what the industry could have been with different circumstances. If you feel up to another climb, one of the factory buildings offers more beautiful views of the Agabama river meandering through the countryside.
A night out in Trinidad
Trinidad probably has the best night-life outside of Havana. It’s small but lively. Start at Casa de la Musica, where the steps near Plaza Mayor are transformed each evening into an outdoor live salsa show. Watch the locals and tourists dance and listen to some traditional music. From 11pm, Cuba’s most unique nightclub, Disco Ayala, opens to locals and tourists alike. Situated underground in a network of huge caves, this complex is the best place to dance the night away.
Private Guided Tours of Trinidad and Cuba
Contact us for more travel ideas and tailor-made tours of Trinidad and the rest of Cuba.