There’s a reason UNESCO rewarded the atmospheric Cuban town of Trinidad with a world heritage site listing. This delightful colonial era gem stands out as one of the most charming places in the country to stay and explore. Here are our suggestions for top 5 must see Trinidad Cuba attractions to help you make the most of your stay.
Top 5 Must See Trinidad Cuba Attractions
Walk the cobbled streets of Trinidad’s old town
The pedestrianised streets at the heart of Trinidad are lined with colonial era properties. Former mansions have been converted into shops and restaurants while museums abound. Climb the bell tower of the Convent of San Francisco for the best views across the town. At ground level, the place houses the Museo Nacional de Lucha Contra Bandidos (National Museum of the Struggle against Bandits). It offers a fascinating insight into the Cuban revolution from a Cuban perspective. Stroll back to the Plaza Mayor and sit on the steps of the Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad – there’s no better place in Trinidad for the pastime of people-watching.
Enjoy traditional Cuban music
Trinidad’s a great place to get your fix of Cuban music. Compact and safe, there’ll be plenty of music venues within staggering distance of your accommodation wherever you choose to stay. Try the Casa de la Trova for classic son. The word means “ballad” and wandering trovadores would fetch up in places like Trinidad to sing the songs they’d composed accompanied only by a guitar. A few doors along Calle Cristo, you’ll find the Palenque de los Congos Reales, which has a regular line-up of musicians and dancers who perform on the open air patio. Up the steps behind the church is the Casa de la Música where you’ll hear the sound of salsa blaring from its speakers before you see it.
Listen to the beat of Santería’s drums
Santería, brought over from Africa in the slavery era, is still practised by some in Cuba. If you’re lucky, you might hear the sound of drums beating as you pass the Casa Templo de Santería Yemaya near the Plaza Mayor. Outsiders cannot watch the sacred ceremonies, but are welcome to sit in the patio and listen. Respect the participants by not taking photographs or video, though they’ll happily pose for a picture afterwards if you ask.
Explore the historic Valle de los Ingenios
The wealthy inhabitants of Trinidad made their money on sugar grown in the nearby Valle de los Ingenios. It’s a half hour ride out of town and a pleasant way to spend a morning. Begin by ascending the Manaca Iznaga tower – from the top you’ll be rewarded with marvellous views of the surrounding countryside. Then leave your touristy surroundings behind and explore the grounds of the abandoned San Isidro de los Destiladeros mill with a local guide. They’ll explain its history and tell the stories of the slaves who provided the mill’s labour.
Head to the beach at Playa Ancon
Though Cuba’s northern beaches draw the package crowds, this is the nearest strip of sand to Trinidad. It is located about 12km south. If you can cope with the hot sun and lack of shade, it’s possible to rent a bicycle for the flat ride from town but for an altogether easier option, catch one of the classic car cabs instead. Popular with locals on weekends, there are a few beach bars and cafés strung out along the beach for when you’re in need of refreshment. As one of the must see Trinidad Cuba attractions, the beach is beautiful and the waters of the Caribbean are warm, even in winter.