While in Cuba we couldn’t leave without seeing Trinidad, it has been one of UNESCOs World Heritage sites since 1988. This small town with colonial architecture is very charming and popular with tourists. I have visited it briefly on my last trip to Cuba and by briefly I mean drove through it in a car, so I definitely needed to return.
We only stayed 3 days but it was enough to see everything Trinidad has to offer and even laze about on a beach.
There are 3 ways to get to Trinidad from Cienfuegos: car, tourist bus and local bus. Plenty of cars were offering to take us there, as you near the bus station in Cienfuegos the chorus of drivers yelling out destinations is a little overwhelming. But once you push through all that, you end up inside a busy bus station. The times and destinations are hard to work out unless you know where to look (usually a piece of paper with writing on it stuck to the wall somewhere), but mostly you need to listen out for the driver yelling out the destinations. People with tickets board first and everyone else is crammed in later until there is no room to breathe. Knowing all that we opted for the tourist bus, which has guaranteed seats and air conditioning].
The tourist bus operator is Viazul and usually has it’s own section at the bus stations where you can purchase tickets and board the buses. Here is the timetable hanging on the ticket office door as of November 2014 in Cienfuegos bus station:
Make sure to arrive half an hour early as there is a queue for the tickets and the buses don’t run on time, they can be early or late by 15 minutes or more. Best bet, arrive early and sit tight!
Once we boarded the bus we realised the small chance of the bathroom on board being in working order was actually 0, not only that but the smell was funky the entire trip. The whole bus full of tourists holding their noses was not quite what we were after but the driver did something in the end which fixed it. Hooray!
Make sure to check return times when you reach your destination, these were not written anywhere and I had to ask the person selling the tickets.
1. Playa Ancon
This lovely beach is not far from town, it is easily accessible by a taxi or you can take the mini bus. The beach is lined with hotels, so if you want to use the loungers you can get a drink. Otherwise if you keep walking towards the middle of the beach, you will find the public beach area.
2. Plaza Mayor
This basically an open air museum of Spanish colonial architecture, the small square has bars and restaurants but the popular attraction is the steps and the music bar/cafe at the top of the steps which comes to life later at night. There is live music and salsa dancing. Pina Colada was pretty good!
The whole of Plaza Mayor is lined with museums. They all charge a few CUC for entrance and range from plates and old furniture on display to some with history of Trinidad. This is the view from one of the museums, where you can go up to the rooftop via an old and very narrow staircase. The view itself is worth it:
4. Colonial Streets
Simply wandering around anywhere in the center of Trinidad will present you with colourful Colonial buildings. A typical colonial street:
There are plenty of hotels in Trinidad, but we chose to stay in a locals home. These are called Casa Particulars and the one we stayed in was cheap and great location. I will try to find the name of it as my aunt booked it for us. Here is the tasty breakfast we had every morning ( this cost 3 CUC each ):