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Trinidad is an absolute must-see when visiting Cuba. It is located in central Cuba and is one of country’s best preserved colonial towns. Trinidad was founded in the early sixteenth century and was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. A visit there will make you feel as though you’ve traveled back in time. It’s full of brightly colored buildings, cobblestone streets and Cuban cowboys. The town can appear very touristy on the surface, but after spending some time there, I left with a taste of real Cuban life and culture. I recommend spending at least two days there. It may be a small town, but there is actually quite a bit to do. The following are my picks for the top things to do in Trinidad, Cuba:
Visit Playa Ancón
Playa Ancon is one of the nicer beaches in the Trinidad area and is a short distance from town. It is about a 10 minute drive and if you walk to the edge of town, it is fairly easy to find a taxi. You can expect to pay about $8 CUC each way. When I was researching my trip, I saw Playa Ancon on many of the “top beaches in Cuba” lists. 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, however, to spend an afternoon relaxing. It’s is a great place to unwind after spending a morning sight-seeing and is also the ideal place to catch a sunset.
Dance at Disco Ayala
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 is about a ten minute walk uphill. It is located directly behind a large, incredibly creepy cathedral that is almost impossible to miss. Disco Ayala opens at 10 pm each night and people start to line up early. Admission was just 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 making my way to 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, so make sure to take this into account when planning your trip. 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. Make sure you take a walk through the church interior, it’s really beautiful. I also climbed the bell tower of Convento de San Francisco for a great view of the town.
In the evening, everyone gathers in the streets near Casa de La Musica. The music begins around 7 pm and many people hang out around the steps surrounding the venue. You can grab a drink from one of the street vendors and join the locals or go into the actual venue, if you want to be closer to the action. Either way, it’s great people watching.
Hike Through Parque el Cubano
Trinidad has a few easily accessible and beautiful waterfalls right outside of town. The owners of the casa particular I was staying at arranged a tour to Parque el Cubano via horseback. This was something I wish I had researched 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, were 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, but being an animal lover, this was something I was not ok with. The horses were worked hard, given very little, if any, water and were covered in ticks. The way the horses were treated put a damper on my day and I left feeling poorly for partaking in this activity.
That being said, I don’t want to discourage anyone from seeing this waterfall of enjoy its swimming hole. There are other ways to reach it besides horseback. There are tour companies such as Cubatur that will arrange motorized transportation to the trailhead. The hike, itself, is not too long and there is a farm-style restuarant along the way. The area is really beautiful and it’s great way to get out of town and enjoy nature.
Dine Around Town
I wouldn’t say Trinidad is a foodie’s paradise or anything close, but as far as Cuban restaurants go, Trinidad did have some of the best food out of the handful of cities I visited. I really enjoyed all my meals there and wished I remembered the name of each restaurant. I had a great dinner at Vista Gourmet one evening. They have a 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 also offers outdoor dining in their lovely courtyard and have an amazing lobster pizza.
Plan a Day Trip to El Nicho
El Nicho is a gorgeous series of small waterfalls about two hours outside of town. This is a must on the list of things to do in Trinidad. I stopped here while in route to Cienfuegos, but it can be done as a day trip from Trinidad as well. The drive to El Nicho is up a very steep road that winds through the mountains, so although it appears closer on a map, it does take some time to get there. I would definitely arrange transportation the day before you plan to go. The road can be a challenge for the old cars of Cuban taxi drivers. Our taxi had to pull over a handful of times, but luckily, taxi drivers in Cuba also seem to double as mechanics and we were back on the road in no time.
Upon arrival, you will pay a small admission fee and join a guided group. The guide will take you to a few different pools, where you are allowed to swim. The hike is somewhat steep in areas, but overall is fairly easy and the beautiful views from the top are totally worth it. I went during the month of February and it was already getting pretty hot out. I suggest bringing water and using the pools to keep cool along the way.
I hope you are able to enjoy some of these fun things to do in Trinidad, Cuba. Trinidad is a wonderful little town and should be added to your Cuban itinerary.
Looking for other parts of Cuba to explore? Discover the beautiful town of Vinales in my post, “Guide to Vinales, Cuba: Top 5 Things to Do.”