Last Updated on November 12, 2021 by Nellie Huang
One of the best places to visit in Cuba is the colonial town of Trinidad. But don’t trust me on that, ask anyone and they’ll surely tell you the same.
Trinidad is the Cuba that many people imagine: rambling cobbled streets replete with cigar-smoking men playing dominos, hat-wearing guitar-wielding folk singers, snorting donkeys, horse carts and 1950s American classic cars. Pastel colored houses topped with terracotta tiled roofs and sky-high bell towers, are backdropped by rolling green hills of the adjacent Valle de los Ingenios and the indigo blue Caribbean Sea in the far distance.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinidad is one of the most well-preserved colonial settlement in the Americas. This town was built on huge sugar fortunes by the Spanish during the early 19th century, and it has immaculately retained its elegant colonial flair. Through the town’s grand mansions and lavish museums, you can get a real sense of Cuba’s colonial heydays.
Surrounded by a beautiful coastline and lush greenery, Trinidad is more than just a historical treasure trove. Twelve kilometers to the south lies the south coast’s best beach, Playa Ancón, while 18km to the north stands the imposing Sierra del Escambray mountains packed full of hiking trails and waterfalls.
Sadly, the beauty of Trinidad is no longer a secret. Busloads of tourists swamp the cobbled streets of Trinidad and jineteros (touts) prowl the historical center in search of the next person to hustle. With the political reforms currently taking place in Cuba, it looks like Trinidad is set to receive more crowded with tourists each year.
While it’s easy to dismiss the town as a tourist trap, you only need to walk a few blocks from the historical center to catch a glimpse of Cuban street scenes and daily life: The smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the bakeries, the sounds of the salsa music blasting from the homes of locals, and the clip-clop of horses’ hooves echoing through the streets.
Trinidad sure is one of a kind.
The postcard image of Trinidad taken from the top of the Palacio Cantero.
Trinidad’s main landmark: the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco.
The municipal building in Trinidad, Cuba.
The Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad.
One of the city’s best museums, Museo Romantico
A view of the Sierra Escambray in the far distance.
Trinidad, Cuba, from above.
The streets of Trinidad are always exploding with colors.
Calle Boca in Old Twon.
Beautiful doors that complement the colors of the buildings.
The vibrancy of Cuba can be felt everywhere in Trinidad.
Rickshaws are a common mode of transport in the old town.
You just need to walk a few blocks from the historical center to see Cuba’s street scenes.
A colorful icecream shop.
The artisan market with Che Guevara souvenirs on sale.
A library with dazzling vintage design.
A retro barber in Trinidad.
The People of Trinidad
I see this man everyday when I walk past the Parish Church. One day I decided to ask if I could photograph him and he just smiled and posed.
Waiting for the bus.
People of different racial backgrounds.
A farmer with his donkey.
A dancer and percussionist moving to rumba beats.
Valle de los Ingenios.
This valley contains relics and monuments from the 19th century when slave-tended sugar cane plantations and mills flourished.
A waterfall in the Topes de Collantes National Park, accessible on a 3-kilometer hike.
Playa Ancón, just 12 kilometers away from Trinidad
Disclosure: This trip was made possible by G Adventures. I traveled with G Adventures on their Central Cuba Adventure trip as part of their Wanderers in Residence program. I have a long withstanding partnership with them and I travel with them regularly (having been on eight trips with them). They are a company whose values I respect and admire, that’s why I always recommend them to other travelers. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.