City was founded in early 16th century under the name Villa de la Santisima Trinidad by Spanish conquistador Diego Velazquez de Cuellar. No doubt Trinidad is one of the best preserved colonial cities in the world. You get amazed by all villas, plazas and churches, tiny cobbled streets with local musicians playing traditional Cuban music. Very charming for sure. There’s been a lot of rich people living here throughout history. Trinidad was centre for gold mining, tobacco and sugar production. There was a lot of slaves from West Africa that worked in sugar mills and fields. They brought their Yoruba religion with them and when it merged with Roman Catholicism new religion developed called Santeria. We got to experience their animal sacrificing first hand, more about it later!
Trinidad and nearby Valle de los Ingenios are both one of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Let’s start to talk about our time there!
We arrived there late at night, thankfully lady from our casa was waiting for us at bus station. Short walk and finally we were there. There were two Danish girls in room next to us so we joined them for dinner and after for drinks at Casa de Musica.
Walking around the city really gives you feeling you are back in 1850’s. Cobblestone streets, colorful colonial mansions, churches and plazas, then people playing traditional Cuban music, people playing chess, horse carriages, kids playing on the streets… Just incredible to see and feel so much in one city. Hands down Trinidad is my favorite city in Cuba! Wherever I looked I was impressed, I was like little kid in candy store.
Getting lost in this city is perfect, you always discover some beautiful houses or plazas. Most of our stay we just walked around, set down for some mojitos and food, listen to live music on stairs at Casa de la Musica. And repeat, repeat every day.
Places to visit:
Casa de la Musica
Valle de los Ingenios
Salto del Caburni
Convento de San Francisco de Asis (nice view from the top)
Iznaga Tower (nice view of Valle de los Ingenios)
Municipal History Museum
Museum of Colonial Architecture
Yudit Vidal Faife (gallery)
Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo
Iglesia de Santa Ana
That’s only few places to visit, there is many more sites, galleries, museums, churches, parks, plazas… My favorite way to discover new city is just to get lost in it and wander around!
You can reach Playa Ancon with taxi or by a bike. We rented bikes for whole day and payed 6CUC per person. Lucky we were cause our bikes were much better then what i saw most people got. It’s not the best city to rent bikes for sure. Bikes in bad condition and cobblestone streets make it hard to bike. It takes quite a long time to get to the beach and once you try to park your bike there are people asking for money to keep your bikes safe. It was really annoying, we tried to talk our way around it but with no success. So finally we agreed on paying 1CUC for both of them instead of 1CUC per bike. Beach itself is beautiful, clear turquoise water, white sand. Picture perfect! There are people bringing you drinks and food to the beach which was very convenient.
Only plus about going with bike is that you can stop and enjoy other beaches on the way. There is a lot of them, smaller but some of them even nicer!
What are the chances you bump into people you travelled with just few days ago?! I would say pretty slim, but yes we did meet just randomly on the street and guess what was next thing that we did?! We went for some drinks and then party! It was a great night!
We started it off on stairs of Casa de la Musica, enjoying to some live music while sipping mojitos and beers. Next step it was mission to find disco in the cave that everyone was raving about. We succeeded at this one too! It’s quite short walk from Plaza Mayor, a little bit up the hill. Name of the place is Ayala Disco. Entrance fee is 5CUC with one drink included. It is well worth it. We were all amazed once we stepped in. Disco is in actual cave, and it’s not small at all. If I ever return to Cuba, I’m going to this disco again!
While walking around the city we decided to do catamaran trip. We went to agency and asked. There are two tours they were doing, either to Cayo Blanco or Cayo Macho. Our first choice was Cayo Macho, but unfortunately it was full, so we had to go with Cayo Blanco. Price it was 120CUC for both of us, with open bar, lunch and snorkelling gear.
Trip was for next day and we were super excited. We got picked up with a car in front of the agency, they were late, but that’s Cuba! They dropped us of at the port close to Playa Ancon and then the wait started. We left around 1hour later then scheduled and our catamaran was overcrowded. Not the best start of what it was supposed to be great, relaxing day. The way there was bumpy and so many people got unexpectedly splashed! It was quite funny, but bumpy ride made it so hard to get alcohol and not spill it all on you. First we stopped for snorkelling. Sure something else had to go wrong. Sea was crazy, huge waves so after 5minutes of struggling in the water everyone got called out since it was too dangerous. Perfect, no snorkelling! Everyone was so upset. Next stop was Cayo Blanco for lunch. Paella and some vegetables were all that we got. I really expected more when you pay 60CUC per person. So to get all the facts together – it was a big, big disaster! No snorkelling, awful food, overbooked catamaran and expensive trip itself!!! There were supposed to be a lot of iguanas, we saw two which is fine, but we were frustrated by everything else. Hermit crabs were everywhere tho. They were quit cute. After this disastrous lunch we had time to relax on the beach. It was incredible hard to get anywhere in the water because of sharp rocks so we just hanged out on the beach and drank beers. Only good part of this catamaran trip was open bar, so because everything else sucked we decided to at least drink as much as possible so that we didn’t pay all that money for nothing!
We would not repeat this trip for sure! Hopefully other people on different catamarans had better experience!
Yes we did succeed at drinking our money on catamaran cruise. On our walk from agency to our casa we witnessed something incredible. Not incredible because of what they were doing, but just because it’s rare that you would see it.
Few houses away from our casa, there is a house where people practice Santeria, religion about which i talked before. It is mixture between Yoruba religion and Roman Catholicism, practiced mostly by descendants of slaves from West Africa. Right when we were passing their house they performed ritual where they sacrifice animals. For me it was hard to watch, but Daniel was really interested in it. They even invited him in which doesn’t happen often. We were both shocked by everything that was going on and by the fact that they invited us in. I remember I saw a lot of dead animals, turtle, baby goats, chickens, just to name few. There was a lot going on, they were pouring blood and some other things over one guys head, they were probably cleansing him that”s just my guess. After they finished with everything I entered the house too and they took us to room where women dressed all in white was sitting in the corner. They called her Yemaya, which is one of their spirits. If we understood correctly this lady is gonna be called Yemaya for one year. It was a lot of information and because of their broken English it was hard to put all the pieces together into explanation. But it was crazy, probably once in a lifetime experience!
Photo below is from Santeria Israel, here you can learn more about their religion. This doll here represents Yemaya.
So Trinidad was very interesting for us! But next time I want to spend some time in Valle de los Ingenios, take trip with steam train and visit sugar mills!
More photos on Facebook here!