Trinidad, located near the Caribbean Sea and part of the province of Sancti Spiritus, was founded in 1514 by the Spanish conquistador Diego Velasquez Consuelo de Cuellar.
Together with the Valley of the Sugar Mills (Valle de los Ingenios), Trinidad is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city of Trinidad is a kind of “open air museum” with its cobbled streets and colonial-style houses.
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How to get to Trinidad
1 km south of Trinidad, on the road to Casilda, is the Alberto Delgado airport, where only charter flights operate. By taxi you can get to Havana (cost 20 CUC) and the city of Sancti Spiritus, the capital of the province of the same name (5 CUC).
There are moped rentals at Playa Ancón hotels (the cost of renting a moped will be about 27 CUC per day).
Trinidad has not been connected to the rest of Cuba by rail since the 1992 hurricane destroyed the bridge. Rail service is carried out only in the valley of sugar factories (Valle de los Ingenios). Trains depart from Trinidad daily at 09:30 and stop at Iznaga and Condado to Meyer. The return train from Meyer leaves at 13:00, leaving a few hours to explore the valley of the sugar mills. The round trip fare is three convertible Cuban pesos (CUC).
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Viazul’s buses depart twice a day from Havana, stopping at Cienfuegos, and once a day from Santiago de Cuba, stopping at Holguín, Camagüey and Sancti Spiritus. Buses also run from the resort town of Varadero with stops in Santa Clara and Cienfuegos (the bus leaves at 07:30 from Varadero and returns at 14:25).
Weather in Trinidad, Cuba
Throughout the year, the thermometer is maintained at 29-33 degrees, at night the temperature drops to 19-23 degrees. The greatest amount of precipitation falls from May to October.
Directly in front of the Casa de la Trova building on Av Jesús Menéndez is an open market where you can buy souvenirs, fabrics and impressive crochet items. Another market, but already a vegetable one, is located on the corner of Pedro Zerquera and Manuel Fajardo and is open from 08:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Saturday and until 13:00 on Sundays.
Traditional Caribbean cuisine can be enjoyed at Paladar Estela, just above Plaza Mayor, where Cordero (lamb) is a specialty. A specialty of the al Jigüe restaurant is baked chicken.
A popular drink in Trinidad is Kancharchar, made from rum, honey and lemon.
At 12 km from Trinidad, the Ancon Spit begins, 6 km long, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Along the spit are two of the best beaches on the southern coast of Cuba – Maria Aguilar and Ancon.
Cayo Blanco Island is located 300 meters from the coast, to which a narrow platform with a sandy bottom and corals is stretched, forming reefs and grottoes, where tropical fish, sponges and jellyfish live. And Casilda Bay is ideal for diving and snorkelling.
Entertainment and attractions in Trinidad
Trinidad has several first-class houses of music called Casa de la Musica and located in Plaza Mayor, where the largest dance floors open every night. In addition, Plaza Mayor is the center of a historic city listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. On the square you can see buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries, at a time when the slave trade and sugar production brought fabulous profits and contributed to the development of the city.
The colonial houses of Trinidad – with characteristic tiled roofs and wooden beams. The Church of the Holy Trinity Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad rises above the square, the construction of which was completed in 1892. The church houses an 18th-century wooden statue of Jesus Christ. El Senor de la Vera Cruz. Here, nearby, is the “house of the conspirators” La Casa de los Consipiradores, where the fighters against the colonial dependence of Cuba on Spain gathered, and the small Plazuela de Segarte square with houses of the 18th century, the most impressive of which is the Casa de la Trova, which is a concert Hall.
To the left of the Church of the Holy Trinity rises the Brunet Palace (Palacio Brunet), built in 1812 by José Mariano Borrell y Padrón. The palace now houses the Romantic Museum (Museo Romántico) with exhibits of objects belonging to the Borrell family. The palace retains its central courtyard, original marble floor, neoclassical frescoes and decorations, and hand-painted clay tiles in the kitchen.
The colonial houses of Trinidad – with characteristic tiled roofs and wooden beams.
At the opposite end of the palace, on Calle Hernández Echerri, is the church and monastery of St. Francis Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, now the Museo de la Lucha contra Bandidos. The bandits in question were counter-revolutionaries who escaped the nearby Sierra del Escambray after the Cuban Revolution and fought against the government of Fidel Castro. The church was founded in 1813 by Franciscan monks, became a parish church in 1848, and in 1895 was converted into a garrison for the Spanish troops.
On the east side of Plaza Mayor is the Museo de Arqueología Guamuhaya, an archaeological museum with a collection dedicated to the Indian tribes that lived here before Columbus, as well as exhibits telling about the conquest of Cuba by the Spaniards. On the opposite side of the square is the Museo de Arquitectura Colonial, a museum of colonial architecture with a collection of locks, doors, bars and other architectural elements of houses typical of Trinidad of past centuries. An interesting exhibit is a 1912 shower with many hot and cold water pipes.
At the bottom of the square is the mayor’s house, Casa de Aldemán Ortiz, built in 1809, a yellow two-story mansion with blue doors and windows and a wooden balcony offering stunning views of the square. The house was built for the slave trader Orits de Suniga, who later became the mayor of the city. The house now houses an art gallery.
Valley of Sugar Mills
12 km from Trinidad is the valley of sugar factories Valle de los Ingenios, consisting of three interconnected valleys: San Luis, Santa Rosa and Meyer, from the end of the 18th century until the 18th century, the former center for the production of sugar. Although now only ruins remain of most of the factories, some plantation houses still survive. So, in Guachinango you can see a colonial house, and on the plantation of Manaca Iznaga – the master’s house, a tower and barracones – the barracks where the slaves lived. The tower, 45 meters high, was built in 1845 by the owner of the plantation Alejo Maria Iznaga y Borrell to monitor the work of slaves, and the bell of the tower announced the beginning and end of the working day.
Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve
12 km from Trinidad is the Topes de Collantes National Reserve, located in the Escambray Mountains (Sierra del Escambray). The park has rivers, waterfalls, caves, grottoes, canyons, natural pools with crystal clear water, mountain hills. Topes de Collantes is home to over 40 native orchid species and 100 fern species, as well as about 40 coffee varieties. The most popular route in the park is the trail that runs through coffee plantations and leads to the Kaburni waterfall, one of the highest in the country, where the river falls down from a height of 62 m.