Trinidad, one of the most beautiful cities in Cuba

Cuba is world famous for its music, and no visit to the island would be complete without a trip to Trinidad – the very heart and soul of its well-deserved musical fame. As well as being one of the most beautiful, quintessentially Cuban cities on the island, with its brightly coloured facades, colonial buildings and cobbled streets, you’ll find live music being played in squares and parks almost everywhere you go – with both travellers and locals all mixing along. Most of the bars are located directly around the Plaza Mayor, and we strongly recommend the Casa de la Trova, where you can dance to live Cuban music all night long. For a more atmospheric musical experience, be sure to visit the Casa de la Música where you can listen to amazing live bands while sitting on the wide stone stairs next to the church enjoying a Mojito in the open air.

Trinidad was one of the first Cuban towns founded by the Spanish and today is its best preserved colonial city. The Valle de Los Ingenios, also known as Valley of the Sugar Mills, is very nearby, and it was here that early settlers began the island’s sugar cane industry – leading the Cuba becoming the world’s leading sugar producer during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today you can still visit the valley, and marvel at the illustrious colonial-style mansions with their Italian frescos, Wedgwood china and French chandeliers – all reminiscent of a time when the sugar industry was booming and money flowed through the area.

In 1988, Trinidad became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular cities to visit in Cuba – but not only for its architecture, history and music. Only a few kilometers outside of the city you’ll find some of the most magnificent beaches the country has to offer on its south coast, perhaps most famous and beautiful of all being Playa Ancón. The national park ‘Topes de Collantes’ is also just a short drive away. Hidden in the Sierra del Escambray (Escambray mountains), the park offers both adventure and relaxation, and is sure to make for memories that will last for a lifetime.

Colonial History Trip from Trinidad

Another point of important historical significance in Cuba is the Valle de Los Ingenios, the Sugarmill valley, a luscious, fertile region in the shadows of the Sierra Escambray which can be reached by following the road from Trinidad to Sancti Spiritus. The valley has been approved by UNESCO as a world heritage site, for which no fewer than 65 single objects such as sugar mills, colonial homes and slave shelters were taken into account. The area covers over 270 square kilometers and radiates in the lush green colours of the sugarcane fields and majestic palm trees, where the ruins of the old 19th century sugar mills still stand to this day. For the best views of the valley, head to the ‘Mirador de la Loma del Puerto’ which is about 6km from Trinidad and at 192m above sea level offers panoramic vistas that are second to none.

After soaking in the sights, the main point of interest in the valley is the Manaca estate, which in its heydays in the 1840s, was home to several hundred slaves. Today the mansion still stands in good condition and has been converted into a bar and restaurant. Other highlights of the valley include the Guachinago estate, an 18th century building overlooking the Rio Ay, and the village of San Pedro.

Trip from Trinidad

Sancti Spiritus, whose name in Latin means ‘Holy Spirit’, is a municipality and is the capital city of the province which shares its name. It is one of the oldest Cuban European settlements, and therefore home to the oldest church in the country – the venerable green towered church – whose origins date back to the 16th century. Nearby you’ll also find the ‘Museo de Arte Colonial’ (Colonial Art Museum) which is one of the most attractive of the colonial homes in the area, and is well worth a look around.

Trekking near Trinidad

Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve is packed with natural beauty. Caves and grottos hide amongst the ferns, palms and banana trees. Rivers cut through the valleys and waterfalls drop into crystal clear pools. Thanks to wet northerly gales and dry southerly breezes, the region is an important ecosystem for many of Cuba’s colourful endemic birds. It’s a great place to visit. The nature reserve is located between Cienfuegos and Trinidad in central Cuba and comprises 5 smaller parks. Each park has at least one short well defined hiking trail that is easy to follow without a guide. While each trail is different, most wind their way through misty forests and end at a jungle clad waterfall or a natural swimming hole.

Hiking in Cuba without a guide can be difficult, but the Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve is an excellent part of Cuba that can be easily explored independently.

Beach near Trinidad

Playa Ancon is a picture perfect paradise: white sand, crystal-clear blue water dotted by lush vegetation.  This beach is considered teh most beautiful on the southern part of the island. And the best thing is that it mostly completely empty. There are some facilities such as chairs and umbrellas for hire, a parking lot, and a very simple bathroom. You can also find people offering boat trips to nearby cays and other water activities.