Trinidad is one of Cuba’s earliest settlements and it's status as a UNESCO preserved museum city, makes it one of the main highlights of the island. There are many striking examples of preserved architecture dating back four centuries.
Founded in 1514, Trinidad rose in importance as fleets of caravels brought back spoils from the Aztec empire and further afield. The town’s prosperity really took off however with the slave trade, which in turn led to the expansion of the sugar industry in the region, helped by the temperate climate and fertile environment. Some of the opulent buildings still standing in the town are testimony to this golden era, many of them being former homes of the wealthy sugar lords and smugglers. They were furnished with the best that Europe could provide and local craft industries prospered too, producing exquisite pieces in wood, silver, gold and ceramics.
Trinidad’s decline began with the faltering of the slave trade and the silting up of its harbour. With fleets choosing to dock in the superior deep harbour of nearby Cienfuegos, by the early 20th century the town was just a shadow of its former economic self. After being named a national monument in 1965, restoration began on the historic centre and Trinidad now stands as a unique time capsule for current generations to enjoy.
Casa Particular, Spanish for ‘private house’, is a private homestay, quite similar to a B&B. These are normally run by Cuban families and are a chance to really experience Cuba and interact with the locals. Each Casa Particular is different and they are normally quite small (1 – 2 rooms available). Rooms are clean, safe, upgraded to tourist standards and will generally fit basic needs and expectations. Casa Particular’s are popular with the independent traveller and we recommend home stays to get a real feel of Cuba whilst staying with a Cuban family, but remember to keep an open mind!
We currently can book Casa Particulars in Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Vinales & Baracoa. The name of the casa where you will stay will be informed before you travel, however due to local circumstances, this might have to be changed to a similar casa. If you are interested please contact us for further information and prices.
Please note Casa Particulars may not be suitable for those with limited mobility.
Places to Visit
Museum of Colonial Architecture
This museum is housed in a beautifully restored 18th century property, which was once the residence of a sugar magnate. It follows the development of contemporary architecture with a collection of various artefacts.
Casa de Aldeman Ortiz
This building was the home of the former mayor of Trinidad in the 19th century and features wonderful frescoes on the walls and a grand staircase. It now houses works of art by local artists.
This 18th century building contains Pre-Colombian archeological pieces as well as other artefacts from the Spanish colonial era. There is also a bronze bust in the courtyard commemorating the visit of the naturalist Alexander von Humbolt in 1801.
Built in 1812 and the former residence of another wealthy sugar magnate, this sumptuous mansion contains 14 rooms of precious furniture and artefacts, crystal and glorious wall frescoes.
This is a stunning gem of 19th century neo-Classical architecture, which now acts as home to the Municipal Museum. The Museum traces the history of Trinidad through exhibits, maps and various monuments and there is also a viewing tower affording wonderful views of the area.
Sugar mill valley
During Trinidad’s golden age this huge valley had 43 operating sugar mills and was Cuba’s most important sugar growing region. However, towards the end of the 19th century other sugar growing regions began to outstrip the valley by using more sophisticated technology, and the mills and estates that still stand today are mostly in ruins. However, in the village of Iznaga you can view the splendidly restored estate of one of the area’s richest sugar magnates, including a tower some 43 metres high whose bell would call the slaves in from the fields. You can climb the 136 steps to the top, and if you wish, get to the estate from Trinidad via steam train!
Playa Ancon, within a short drive of Trinidad, is one of Cuba’s most pristine beaches with very little hotel development. The sand is powdery white and the sea is beautifully calm and warm with perfect conditions for snorkelling and scuba diving. Indeed there are over 30 dive spots in the abundant coral reefs, making this a popular spot for serious divers. All the usual watersports are on offer together with boat trips and fishing expeditions.
The Escambray mountains are home to the National Park of Topes de Collantes, an area of outstanding beauty with a host of protected tree species and abundant bird life. These can be viewed along the many hiking trails available and the spectacular waterfall Salto de Caburni, 75 metres high, should not be missed. (Guided excursions are the best method of exploring the area, as independent travellers may find the potholed switchback roads extremely difficult and dangerous to negotiate.)
Places to Eat
El Jigue restaurant is a lovely piece of typical colonial architecture, being a quaint porticoed building with charming decorative tiles on the walls. The house speciality is chicken cooked local style.
A good central restaurant serving the typical Creole food of the area including fresh fish.
Although not serving food, this 'casa de infusiones' is a must! It serves the local cocktail from which it takes its name, made of lime, rum, water and honey. There is also live music.
Casa de la Musica
Local groups perform here and there are also occasional masked balls by the Conjunto Folklorico de Trinidad.
Casa de la Trova
Not to be missed if you wish to catch the best local practitioners of the 'son' music style!
Las Cuevas nightclub
If you wish to hear something a bit louder, you can visit this unique nightclub housed in a local cave near the Las Cuevas hotel!