Trinidad was the second stop on my Cuban adventure. I flew into Santa Clara and after spending a couple of days there, I traveled to Trinidad by taxi. Trinidad is a colonial town in central Cuba that was founded in the early sixteenth century and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It’s full of brightly colored buildings, cobblestone streets and Cuban cowboys. Trinidad can appear very touristy on the surface, but after spending some time there, I left feeling like a got a real taste of Cuban life and culture. It’s a very small town, but has a lot to offer and I definitely recommend spending a couple days there. The following are my top things to do in Trinidad, Cuba:
Playa Ancón is a beach right outside of town in Trinidad. If you are already in the area, I recommend a visit. However, I wouldn’t plan a trip to Trinidad specifically for it. I think there are far prettier beaches in Cuba to choose from. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon relaxing after a morning of sightseeing though. It’s also the ideal place to catch a sunset. The best way to get there is by cab. It was extremely easy find one on the edge of town and you can expect to pay about $8 CUC.
I am usually not one for the club scene, but Disco Ayala is definitely worth checking out. How often do you get the chance to dance in a cave? The disco is located about 100 feet underground in a natural cave. The cave is located on the north edge of town and about a ten minute walk up a hill. It is located directly behind a large, incredibly creepy cathedral that is impossible to miss.
The club opens at 10 pm each night and people start to line up early. Admission was a few CUC and included a drink. Inside was an odd but interesting mix of tourists and locals. I got a drink from one of the three bars and spent some time walking around and exploring the different areas of the cave before getting on the dance floor.
Explore the Town
The colonial town of Trinidad is quite small and can easily be explored in a day. Start by taking a walk around Plaza Mayor, the park in the center of town. It is surrounded by some fantastic little museums and shops. If you find yourself there on a weekend, some may be closed.
I visited the Museum of Colonial Architecture, where a quick tour is included in the admission price. I also made a stop at Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad, a beautiful Neo-classical church, located at the northeast corner of the plaza. I recommend taking a peek inside, it’s really beautiful. I also climbed the bell tower of Convento de San Francisco for a great view of the town.
At night, walk over to Casa de La Musica. Music starts around 7 pm and everyone gathers around the steps outside. You can grab a beer from one of the many vendors on the street, if you choose not to go in the venue itself. It’s great people watching.
Vegas Grande Waterfall
Trinidad has a few easy accessible and beautiful waterfalls right outside of town. The owners of the casa particular I was staying in arranged a tour to the Vegas Grande Waterfall via horseback. This was something I wish I would have put more effort into researching before agreeing to though.
Our guides were extremely friendly and went out of their way to make sure we had a great day, but the horses, to them, are simply work animals. I believe it was more of a cultural difference and they honestly didn’t see anything wrong with the way the horses were being treated. I also didn’t want to offend anyone, so I felt like I couldn’t speak up.
The way the horses were treated put a damper on my day and I left feeling poorly for partaking in this activity. They were extremely skinny and covered in ticks. It was also very hot and I didn’t see them being watered. I would definitely recommend visiting the waterfalls but find a vehicle to take you there or hike instead!
On the way to the falls, we stopped at a sugar cane plantation and watched as liquid was squeezed from the cane leaves. I was able to enjoy a fresh and very delicious cane juice with rum before continuing on our ride. Upon reaching the waterfall, we spent a few hours relaxing and swimming before beginning our journey back. We made one last stop on the way for an authentic Cuban lunch where we were joined by some cute animal friends, who we happily shared our leftovers with.
I wouldn’t say Trinidad is a foodie’s paradise or anything close, but as far as Cuban restaurants go, Trinidad had the best food out of the handful of cities I visited. I really enjoyed all my meals here and wished I remembered the names of each restaurant. I had a great dinner at Vista Gourmet. They have a really nice outdoor terrace and have both a buffet and a la carte options. I chose a fish dish a la carte and was pretty happy with it. I recommend making a reservation because they can get quite busy. Restaurant Sol Y Son offers outdoor dining in their pretty courtyard and their lobster pizza was great!
El Nicho is a gorgeous series of small waterfalls about an hour and a half outside or Trinidad. Make it a must do on your list. I stopped while in route to Cienfuegos but it can be a day trip from Trinidad as well. The drive there is up a very steep and windy road through the mountains and it will probably take closer to two hours to get there.
The old cars of Cuban taxi drivers really struggle to make it there. The taxi we used gave out a handful of times, but in Cuba taxi drivers also seem to double as mechanics so we were on the road again quickly. I later found out this is quite normal, as well as, stopping along the way to prevent the car from overheating.
Once there, you will pay a small admission and join a group with a guide. You’ll be able to stop at a couple different pools for a swim and take in some beautiful views from the very top of the hill. This waterfall requires a small amount of hiking but is totally worth it. The waters were the perfect way to cool down. I hope you are able to squeeze in Trinidad or at least, El Nicho into your Cuban itinerary. Trinidad is definitely a town worth checking out.