Trinidad was founded in 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar under the name Villa de la Santísima Trinidadas and was formally a trading post for sugar cane and tobacco, Spanish colonisation took of around 1820 and the region quickly grew into an important and wealthy trading hub fuelled by the importation of African slaves.
Today its unique 1850’s colonial architecture, 1950’s cars and modern colourful culture make it a must see trip on any cuban itinerary. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site if your counting.
The Spanish plantation owners lavished money on extravagant palaces, town squares, plazas, and eccentric colonial homes, much of which remains today. Walking the streets is a visual extravaganza, of colour, sounds, culture and entertainment.
SIX THINGS TO DO IN TRINIDAD
1 - Hang Out In Plaza Mayor
The beautiful square of ‘Plaza Mayor’ sits in the centre of the city and comprises of a large plaza of raised gardens, walkways, fountains and cobbled streets. The square is surrounded by stunning examples of colonial architecture dating from the 18th & 19th centuries. Most are painted in pastel colours with terracotta roofs and house museums or art galleries.
This is a great place to hang out in the gardens or cafes relax on the steps with a cool drink in hand and take in a museum or two.
2 - Climb the Tower
One of the more noticeable churches in the town is Convent de San Francisco de Asis, sitting off the main plaza. Its painted bright yellow and can be seen from almost every angle across town being the prominent landmark, if you get lost its easy to spot and find your way.
It’s well worth a climb to the top to take in the view, spot the sea and the beaches in the distance. It also has now been converted into a museum with a focus on the revolution, don’t miss the armoured vehicles and the US speedboat !
3 - Museums
There are lots of small museums dotted around the city covering Spanish colonialism, art and slavery. The Museo de Arquitectura is one of the more interesting ones and is located in a former mansion owned by Sanchez Izaga. The front lobby and drawing room have been re-created to give a flavour of the colonial opulence and the luxury living standards of the plantation masters.
Also don’t miss Palacio Cantero, now the regional municipal museum and tower and Palacio Brunet with its marble shower and bath and amazing intricate ceiling designs.
4 - Walk the Town
To fully take in Trinidad you have to walk away from Plaza Mayor and take in the unique mix of rural and agricultural history. The sense of community is everywhere with people gathered in doorsteps, helping each other out or simply chatting.
The colours, sounds and senses of the streets are amazing, plus a feast to the eye with horse drawn transport, old cars and bikes around every corner.
5 - Playa Ancon Beach
If you didn’t spot it from the church tower then here its. Trinidad is only 6 miles from the coast with Playa Ancon 20 minute down the road via a local taxi or 30 min by bus from the main square. You can also rent a bike which takes about an hour each way.
The beaches aren’t over crowded with only two large Russian style hotels along the se front. The turquoise water is crystal clear and the sand is white as snow. It’s easy to wonder of and find your own stretch to relax, paddle or simply take in the sun.
There are a few beach hut bars dotted along the sea front offering, beer, rum, and cocktails and food. Hotel Ancon also offer boat rides, and there is a scuba centre near by if you are feeling adventurous.
6 - Sunset at Casa de Musica
Casa de Musica is set off to one corner of Plaza Mayor and is an intricate array of stone steps and level platforms straddling the hill.
At sunset tourists and locals sit take in a drink or two soak up the atmosphere and dance salsa. It’s also one of the the only public wifi hotspot in town, but be warned if it’s to busy it won’t work, if you need your social media fix try earlier in the day. As night unfolds musicians, set up on street corners, in the squares and outside restaurants as the town comes to life.