Trinidad in Cuba is a wonderful colonial town with cobblestone streets and many interesting options of things to do, places to eat, and activities to get you through both the day and night (salsa anyone?).
We took it upon ourselves on our recent trip to try just a few of these, and here are just some of the best things that Trinidad in Cuba has to offer!
It feels like a trip to Cuba and Trinidad would not be complete unless you included a day trip to the beach, and boy do the beaches at Trinidad impress. Palm trees line the beach next to calm and pristine water, making for an excellent spot to catch some sun, work on your tan, and go for a relaxing swim in the tranquil waters.
The Cubans have it all worked out, with only a few hotels lining the beach itself offering food and drink service to patrons (especially those who rent chairs from them on the beach itself).
In addition to these however is the free option to either set yourself up under one of the many trees lining the sand, or lay under many shaded structures specifically built for (or so we think) backpackers and travelers alike to enjoy the Cuban beach.
Our number one tip for a visit to Playa Ancon is to make sure you stick around for the sunset… it will be one of the best you see on your trip guaranteed!
Getting to the beach:
Head down to Plaza Carillo which is a busy hub for taxi’s and moto-taxi’s offering rides to the beach. You should pay no more than 2CUC per person for a one-way ride, and if possible arrange to come back with the same person later on in the day (though do not pay up-front).
The main plaza (and central plaza) in town certainly has a charm to it, and is surrounded by restaurants, museums, churches, shops, and the ever-popular ‘Casa de la Musica’. Come here to do some people watching and be inspired by the great design work and colours at play here.
Another idea is to actually visit some of the surrounding museums and churches as many offer stair climbs to towers that overlook the Plaza (for example in the Museo Historico Municipal), giving you an iconic and pretty photo opportunity of the centre of Trinidad, and in the other direction, the ocean.
Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima
If you have had a good look around the Plaza Mayor, you will notice a church that overlooks the area called the ‘Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima’.
This beautiful church allows tourists to enter for free and provides yet another opportunity to see inside the lives of Cubans and where they worship.
Museum of the War Against the Bandits
This is the number one place to go in Trinidad if you want to learn more about the revolution and the war that occurred prior to it in the mountains surrounding Trinidad. There is an interesting insight here as well as many memorials to those that passed during the war.
2CUC will gain you entry into the museum, but it will also give you access to climb the tower located inside the museum. This provides you with spectacular views of both the town and the surrounding area and is well worth the cost of entry!
Casa de la Musica
Want to do some salsa dancing whilst you are in Trinidad? Look no further than the nightly parties hosted at the Casa de la Musica.
The great thing about here is that a lot of the dancing is actually performed outside, so you can sit on the staircase leading up to the ‘Casa’ and either have a drink, people watch, or get involved in some dancing yourself!
Unfortunately for us we arrived in Trinidad when the people were mourning the death of Fidel Castro, so unfortunately the Casa de la Musica was closed for a week and we were not able to salsa the night away. If you do go, entry is free in the early evening, and then 1CUC later on in the night.
Disco Ayala (Cave Disco)
Yes, you can go to drink and dance the night away in a cave at the top of town in Trinidad. If it sounds cool, then you would be absolutely right!
Head here after Casa de la Musica to finish off your night with a bang and listen to more local Cuban music. You will find a lot more tourists here and the entry is a bit steeper at 5CUC (or thereabouts), but how many times can you say you got to party inside of a cave?
The top tip for Disco Ayala is to have the offline maps for Trinidad saved on maps.me before you attempt to find it. Sure it’s ‘just at the top of the hill’ overlooking Trinidad, but if you do not have local help maps.me will show you the exact way to go. The last thing you want is to get lost in a strange city at night as Ayala is not in a very populated area.
Hike the Cerro de la Vigía
Want an amazing view point over the entire town of Trinidad and over to the coastline of Playa Ancon? Look no further than this quick hike up the hill overlooking the town.
The hike up Cerro de la Vigia takes you to the entrance to a radio station housed on top of the hill, so the path is well defined. It should take you no more than hour to walk up, admire the view, and then walk back into town (so there’s no reason not to do it).
The view is amazing, and if you do this hike before visiting Disco Ayala it will show you exactly where it is located (at the base of the hill).
Eat Some GOOD Cuban Food
After about a week we began to get sick of the Cuban food as it generally lacks flavour and when on a backpacker budget it tends to be quite repetitive (pizza anyone?).
Fortunately for us we were able to find some amazing options in Trinidad, which of course included pizza. These were:
Taberna La Botija Restaurant:
La Botija is the best restaurant in Trinidad, hands down. We do not say this lightly, as we dined here twice over our four day stay and each time we ate here or walked past it was usually quite packed.
If you’re looking for some great food, look no further – we recommend the hamburger, and the spaghetti bolognese (which is a massive serving for what you are paying).
Coppelia Ice Cream:
This ice cream joint has locations all over Cuba, and Trinidad is no exception. Just down the road from Plaza Carillo you will find scoops of ice cream here for just 1CUP per scoop (only 4 cents in USD). Do yourself a favour and head down here after lunch!
Food recommendations would not be complete without mentioning ‘peso pizza’. In Trinidad you can also find some peso pizza options near Plaza Carillo, where a pizza should set you back between 15-30CUP (or close to 1USD for a whole pizza).
Whilst we did eventually get sick of eating pizza in Cuba, the novelty of being able to get a relatively large pizza for so cheap never really left.
Day Trips from Trinidad
There are many options for day trips from Trinidad that we unfortunately did not have the time to do. Some of the more popular ones include:
Valle de los Ingenios
This valley provides amazing scenery of sugar cane fields, palm trees, and many surrounding mountains. The UNESCO World Heritage Site also provides relics, monuments, and an amazing mirador (viewpoint) that can be reached by foot, horse, or car.
Topes de Collantes National Park
Cubatur offers tours (near Plaza Carillo) to this national park which allow tourists to hike on trails leading through jungle and towards waterfalls. You can also access this national park by catching a taxi, though expect to pay at least 30CUC to get here.
El Nicho Waterfall
A popular day trip from Cienfuegos (which is also a good day trip if you have time), the waterfall which is a bit further afield from Topes de Collantes is also accessible from Trinidad.
It takes about an hour to reach here, but from what we have heard it is well worth the trip and you are able to hike to the cascades themselves for a swim and look around.
After having done horse riding whilst staying in Vinales, we were not too keen to give it another go (our legs were still protesting). There were many opportunities to do so in Trinidad however, where they will take you outside of town into a forest leading towards a waterfall.
The tour generally involves leaving the horses after a while and hiking a short path to a waterfall, including the opportunity to swim.
Have you been to Trinidad, or are looking to go in the future? Comment below now so we can see what we missed and offer advice!