Why visit Trinidad, Cuba + FREE Travel Guide
FREE DOWNLOAD: A DETAILED POSTER-MAP WITH TRAVEL TIPS TO TRINIDAD
When we arrived in Trinidad from Havana we were struck by the contrast between the two cities. Trinidad is much-much smaller, with cobbled streets and two-storey buildings, low paced and charmingly cosy.
Trinidad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there is the reason why. Trinidad was a prosperous city in 18th and 19th century all due to sugar trade. In the mid 19th century, the sugar cane industry has declined and the city lost its importance as an industrial centre and therefore followed with the lack of development. Much of Trinidad's urban fabric, including the irregular system of squares and plazas, cobblestone streets and other historical and urban elements, has been preserved. The use of centuries-old techniques and building materials has persisted, including traditional lime mortar, wood, terracotta clay roofing tiles and cobbled streets. Buildings along the cobblestone streets of Trinidad are predominantly one or two-storey height ranging from modest, vernacular to luxurious villas. Palacio Brunet (marked  on a map) and Palacio Cantero (Museo de Historia de Trinidad, marked  on the map) are the finest examples of the golden age of the city.
Trinidad is located near the National Park and hiking is another reason to stay in the city for an extra day. We booked a tour in a Cubanacan office, an official travel agency in Cuba (marked with "i" on a map). A guided tour in the mountains is the best idea if you're keen on exploring the landscapes and love hiking. The National Park is about an hour drive from Trinidad. We paid $40 CUC for the tour per person and it included:
A pick up from the apartment in the air-conditioned car
A guided tour in the mountain forest with stops at the waterfalls (approx. 2 hours)
A lunch in one of the local restaurants in the mountains
Transfer back to the town
This is an easy to intermediate hike- a few places had steep steps. The temperature in the mountains is slightly lower and the hike is through the forest, so you're covered in a shade most of the time which makes hiking more enjoyable. We stopped at Poza del Venado- the small waterfall with a natural pool for a break and a swim. The water was refreshingly cold. Then we continued the path towards the a 20m height waterfall- Salto el Rocio
During the hike our tour guide was showing us the unique flora and fauna, we also spotted the national bird - the Tocororo.
The hike ended at a coffee plantation, where we had a coffee break. After that a short drive for lunch in the local restaurant in the mountains. In the afternoon we were back to the city centre.
We would highly recommend taking this tour.
HOW TO GET HERE
If you want to travel by bus, check this website for tickets. Note, that tickets should be purchased in advance of the departure, alternatively, you can travel by ‘taxi collectivo’, usually it is 5CUC more expensive than a bus
Approximate travel distances & drive times:
Havana - Trinidad 360km/ 6hours
Cienfuegos- Trinidad 90km/2hours
Santa Clara -Trinidad 100km/2 hours
Camaguey - Trinidad 280km/6 hours
WHEN TO GO
We spent two weeks in Cuba in January 2017 because it's the dry season during the winter months, which means lower temperatures and an occasional cold breeze. But don't get me wrong, January in Trinidad is still hot, with the average daytime temperatures between 24º-27ºC (75º-80ºF)
Pretty much every house (Casa Particular) in the centre of the Trinidad is rented out. Casa Particular is a private house, where local live with their families and rent out rooms with the facilities (private bath, air conditioning, hot water). Most of the owners offer breakfast ($5 CUC) and some can offer dinner (£10 CUC) it's very similar to bed and breakfast in Europe. We booked Casa Partical prior arriving in Cuba via Airbnb
WHERE TO EAT
Trinidad is a very popular destination for tourists and therefore the whole city centre is packed with restaurants, expect to pay 10-15 CUC for a meal. If you're on the budget, I'd recommend eating at "Ochun Yemaya" (marked on the map below)-it's a little away from the city centre, but the food was great, only for 5CUC! Also, you can try what locals are having for lunch-a pizza, they cook and sell it in a small pizza kiosks, it's very cheap (2-3CUC) but have napkins with you! We tried two places on Frank Pais street and happy to recommend them (also marked on the downloadable map below) Also, if you're staying in Casa Particular, some hosts offer dinner services (prices are the same as at the restaurants).
The standard Cuba currency is the Peso. Tourist and locals use different currencies -CUC for tourists, CUP for locals. It's wise to buy $10-$20 in local currency CUP if you want to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from locals, 1 CUC=25CUP. Banks and Casas de Cambio (CADECA) are the official institutions where you could exchange foreign currency into Cuban convertible pesos.
WHAT TO PACK
Personal hygiene products and light snacks
photo camera with extra batteries (sounds obvious, but you'll run out of batteries before you know it)
comfortable shoes for long walks/hikes
power bank battery for your devices
printed map (download below)
a light jacket (Jan-Feb)
110V, 60 Hz plugs with flat prongs