Last Updated on November 12, 2021 by Nellie Huang

Trinidad Cuba

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.

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Trinidad, Cuba: The Colonial Town Everyone Loves

The postcard image of Trinidad taken from the top of the Palacio Cantero.

Trinidad Cuba

Trinidad’s main landmark: the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco.

Trinidad Cuba - The municipal assembly building

The municipal building in Trinidad, Cuba.

Trinidad Cuba - The Trinidad Parroquial Church

The Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad.

Trinidad Cuba - Romantic Museum

One of the city’s best museums, Museo Romantico

Trinidad Cuba - View from the San Francisco bell tower

A view of the Sierra Escambray in the far distance.

Trinidad Cuba - More views of the city from above

Trinidad, Cuba, from above.

Trinidad Cuba - Trinidad Art Gallery

The streets of Trinidad are always exploding with colors.

Calle Boca in Trinidad

Calle Boca in Old Twon.

Colorful doorways

Beautiful doors that complement the colors of the buildings.

Colorful graffiti on the walls of Trinidad

The vibrancy of Cuba can be felt everywhere in Trinidad.

Rickshaws

Rickshaws are a common mode of transport in the old town.

Streets of Trinidad

You just need to walk a few blocks from the historical center to see Cuba’s street scenes.

an icecream shop

A colorful icecream shop.

Che Guevara souvenirs for sale in artisan market

The artisan market with Che Guevara souvenirs on sale.

What a beautiful design for a library!

A library with dazzling vintage design.

An old style barber

A retro barber in Trinidad.

The People of Trinidad

This old man is often seen sitting along the walkway watching the world go by

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.

The people of Trinidad

Waiting for the bus.

Cubans of different background

People of different racial backgrounds.

A common scene in Trinidad

A farmer with his donkey.

Cuban musicians

A dancer and percussionist moving to rumba beats.

Beyond Trinidad

Sierra Escambray

Valle de los Ingenios.

More lush greenery
This valley contains relics and monuments from the 19th century when slave-tended sugar cane plantations and mills flourished.

Waterfall in Topes de Collantes National Park

A waterfall in the Topes de Collantes National Park, accessible on a 3-kilometer hike.

Ancon Beach

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.