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Why You Must Visit Trinidad in Cuba

Trinidad is hands down my favourite destination in Cuba. Its central location means you can be on the beach one day or hiking through lush greenery another. The combination of lazy days peppered with activity is my idea of heaven and why you must visit Trinidad!

I spent 8 glorious nights here which was a good chunk of time to discover the super fun things to do in Trinidad.

There’s lots to explore by foot

I always like to spend the first day in a new town wandering the streets and getting a feel for the place. I instantly fell in love with Trinidad’s quiet charm, cheerful colourful buildings and cobbled streets. Horse and cart as a mode of transport is very much alive here and not a gimmick for tourists.

Having come from Havana, the change in atmosphere was poignant; the locals seemed happier, content and relaxed.

Why you must visit Trinidad, Cuba - exploring in town
Are you visiting Trinidad for a day trip?

You can easily spend the day exploring the town. Meandering through craft markets, browsing art galleries, climbing the bell tower and sipping strong Cuban coffee are just some of the things to do in Trinidad.

Not to mention the huge selection of fantastic restaurants in Trinidad. Don’t let hearsay persuade you otherwise, the food in Cuba is good!

TIP: Take advantage of the free walking tour that starts at the park opposite the Museo Nacional de Lucha contra Bandidos (by Café don Pepe). There’s 2 tours a day at 9.30am and 4.40pm

Fancy getting a taste of rural life in Cuba?

One morning Adam and I set off early and walked to a small village called La Pastora. There’s nothing here but horses and a sunflower farm, even so it made a lovely walk where I got a feel of rural life in Cuba.

How do the kids get to school in Trinidad?

By horseback, of course! We saw this sweet little girl in her school uniform riding up the hill to school. There’s no mum to drive you to the school gates here!

Also on our walk, Adam and I said hello to countless farmers bringing their horses up the hill back towards town. I realised later that they offered the horseback tours to Topes de Collantes National Park.

If you crave the outdoors like I do, Topes de Collantes National Park is the perfect place for a hike to a waterfall. More on this below.

Love cycling? Hire a bike to explore La Boca & Playa Ancon

If you feel adventurous, cycling to Playa Ancon via the fishing village of La Boca is great fun!

Adam and I did this the first time we went to Playa Ancon. The roads are good and the terrain is pretty much flat. The only difficulty is that you might find you have to battle with the wind once you get closer to the coastline. It’s a 28 km cycle in total so not for the faint hearted. I always pack a few of these vegan protein bars to keep me going.

  • 6 km – Distance from Trinidad town to La Boca
  • 8.7 km – Distance from La Boca to Playa Ancon
  • 14 km – Distance from Trinidad town direct to Playa Ancon (alternative route).

There are two places to hire bikes from costing 6 CUC for the day:

1. On Jesús Betancourt (Angustia) Street close to the cross road José Marti (Jesus Maria) Street.
2. On General Lino Perez (San Proscopio) street, close to the cross road Antion Maceo (Gutierrez) Street.

TIP: The seats are pretty solid so take a towel for extra padding!

To visit the lush waterfalls

Topes de Collantes National Park is a beautiful mountainous nature reserve bursting with luscious flora and fauna, wildlife and waterfalls. It’s also within easy reach of Trinidad.

There are 3 waterfalls that you can visit within Topes de Collantes National Park. Adam and I chose the Vegas Grande Waterfall because it looked spectacular and we could hike it solo. Tour operators in town do offer this as a horse riding experience but we wanted to save the horse riding for Viñales.

Getting to Vegas Grande waterfall

The journey starts from town where after much bartering, we got a taxi to take us to the starting point of the hike. For 30 CUC ($30/£24) they drive you there and back and wait for 3 hours.

Map-vegas-grande-waterfall-Trinidad,-Cuba

Our taxi driver was an avid Barcelona FC fan and the proud owner of a blue Vaz 2105. The poor old car chugged and whined its way up the 13 km hill, stopping for a little “rest” halfway. A pop of the bonnet and a good dousing of water on the engine and we were back on our way.

Utterly high from the car fumes, we were over the moon to make it up the hill in one piece.

The hike begins and ends at Don Pancho coffee farm.

The hike to Vegas Grande waterfall

The trek itself is on easy terrain through fern trees and pine forests until you reach a checkpoint. Here, you have to pay 10 CUC “entry” to continue further to the waterfall. The terrain starts to steeply drop until you reach the waterfall. It’s a tough descent (and ascent) for those who have bad knees. BUT, you’re rewarded handsomely with a swim in the cool waters of this magnificent waterfall.

Hiking boots or trainers are necessary for this hike. I wore my trusty Salomun hiking boots which support my ankles and are literally the comfiest boots ever.

Why You Must Visit Trinidad - Don Pancho coffee farm

TIP: Don’t forget to stop at Don Pancho coffee farm for a delicious coffee on your way back. The milk is the freshest you’ll taste and you can even buy a bag of their ground coffee to take home with you. We did; it’s delicious!

Cost:

  • 30 CUC – Taxi to waterfall / 3 hour wait / return journey back to town
  • 10 CUC – Entry to Waterfall
  • 5 CUC – if you want to take home a 250g bag of freshly ground coffee from Don Pancho

Can’t decide which waterfall to visit? Read my guide on How to Choose which Waterfall to Visit in Trinidad de Cuba 

Because the food is great!

Despite hearing stories that the food in Cuba is awful and bland, I found the food in Trinidad to be pretty awesome!

Breakfast:

The key is to stay in a Casa Particular. For 5 CUC your “Mumma” will provide you with a hearty breakfast (more on that later).

Lunch & Dinner:

Adam and I ate at cheap eats and mid-range restaurants. Out of them all we only experienced one mediocre meal. I took that as a win!

Read More: The Best Restaurants in Trinidad de Cuba

To learn how to salsa dance

Some say Cubans are the best dancers so why not learn from the best! Look out for casas with a board in their window advertising salsa lessons.

Try Casa 545 Antonio Maceo (Gutiérrez) Street.

To stay at Casa Particular Benevente

With only one hotel in Trinidad, casa particulars are the best option for accomodation. A casa particular is basically a homestay. You live with a family and for a small price, they cook you breakfast and dinners if you wish.

I stayed with Elizabet and her family at Casa Particular Benevente for the full 8 nights. I’m so happy I did because they truly made my time in Trinidad special. I can’t recommend this place enough so I’ve put together a full review here.

Adam and I left with fond memories and full bellies.

Why You Must Visit Trinidad - Casa Particular Benevente

Relax on the beach at Playa Ancon

Playa Ancon certainly lives up to the hype of being one of the best beaches in Cuba. The ocean is calm, clear, warm and a glistening shades of turquoise and blue. Adam and I loved it so much, we went twice during our weeklong stay in Trinidad.

Why You Must Visit Trinidad - bus stop map to Playa Ancon
How to get to Playa Ancon

1. Hire a bike and cycle the 14 km (more on this above)
2. Catch the Trinibus from town that goes to La Boca and Playa Ancon every day. It takes about 25 mins and costs 5 CUC return.

Trinibus Timetable:
Trinidad to Playa Ancon: 9am, 11am, 2pm
Playa Ancon to Trinidad: 3.30pm, 6pm

A Few Things To Note Before You Go To Playa Ancon

– There are two main areas:

1) The beach by Grill Caribe. Here, there’s a small beach bar, restaurant and you can hire 2 sun loungers with umbrella for 5 CUC. Scuba diving and snorkelling is available here. The only downside is that access into the sea is difficult because of dead coral and rocks. I’d recommend wearing rubber swim shoes.

2) The main stretch of beach by Hotel Amigo Ancon. Along here are many beds you can hire for the day. No coral, easy access into the sea.

– There is only one beach restaurant along the entire stretch of Playa Ancon called Ancon Grill. The hotels are all-inclusive and won’t serve you food or drink. Coco beach bar serves nothing but beer and soft drinks.

– If you’re looking for a secluded spot, head to the far end of the beach where there’s no sun loungers. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water. I always carry my Bobble water bottle. It has a filter so you can save money by drinking the tap water, plus it’s made from recycled plastic.

– Make sure to carry small change. The one toilet at Ancon Grill is a Portaloo out the back managed by an old lady who you have to tip (otherwise she gives you a very angry look). You don’t want the wrath of an elderly lady!

– You can hire a double kayak for 4 CUC or a single one for 2 CUC.

Why You Must Visit Trinidad - Playa Ancon

Find the fisherman at Playa Ancon & dine on his freshly caught lobster

If you’re lucky enough to see the fisherman then you must ask him if he has caught any fish, shrimp or lobster that day. He pulled out the biggest lobster I’ve ever seen and grilled it for us for 15 CUC. It was divine!


Unfortunately, he’s not there every day so you’ll have to take your chances. He’s usually sat under the one umbrella at the far end of Playa Ancon.

To dance in a nightclub that’s inside a cave!

Adam and I had every intention of making it to the local discotheque, Ayala. But we heard it doesn’t get going until 11pm – 12 am. Naturally, us two old farts ate too much at La Botija, had a few drinks at Casa de la Musica and then were tucked up in bed by 11.30pm!

However, for you crazy cats out there, the club has 3 bars and 5 dance floors and is open every day. Entrance is 5 CUC (around £4) which includes one drink and apparently there’s a fire show at around 1 am. Get your dancing shoes on!

TIP – I’m chuckling as I write this because I sound like an old granny but I’ll feel responsible otherwise… When I walked past the entrance to Ayala on our way to a sunrise hike at the Radio Tower (obviously!), I noticed the path is uneven with no street lights. If you’re raving it up until 2am, take a torch or use your phone torch. I don’t want to hear of any casualties sliding down the hill plleeaassee!

Enjoy Live Music At Casa De La Musica

Casa de la Musica provides outdoor seating, cocktails, live music and salsa dancing. This is more my vibe over the cave nightclub!

TIP – Get there before 8pm to secure a table with a view of the stage and to avoid the 1 CUC entry fee.

Hike to the Radio Tower

We did this at sunrise one morning. The hike is fairly easy and only takes about 25 minutes from the town centre. A great view of Trinidad before the town and the sun wakes up.

I’ve heard it also makes a nice sunset spot but there is a man on guard who charges you 2 CUC to reach the top.

TIP – On Maps.me app, the viewpoint is named “Loma de la Vigía”.

Climb the Bell Tower

Why You Must Visit Trinidad - climb the Bell Tower

If a hike isn’t your cup of tea, the Bell Tower located within Convent San Francisco de Asís offers a beautiful view of town. It’s 2 CUC to enter which includes the museum on the ground floor.

Take a day trip to Valley de Los Ingenios

I didn’t go here but heard it makes a nice day trip if you have some time to kill and interested in the slave history.

Valley de Los Ingenios is the valley of the sugar mills and to this very day, it is still used for sugar farming. Although back in the 18th and 19th century, they used around 30,000 slaves to do the work.

How to get to Trinidad

Figuring out how to get around in Cuba can seem daunting, because you can’t jump on the wifi and book everything online.

The cheapest and most effective way of getting to Trinidad is by bus. But if you find yourself stuck, you can get a private taxi / colectivo.

By Bus:

There are two bus operators in Cuba – Omnibus and Viazul.
Viazul is the main bus operator that runs daily to most tourist destinations, such as Havana, Viñales, Trinidad and Varadero.

Booking Online:

There are a limited amount of bus tickets available to book online. Choose this option only if you have access to a printer, however. The bus staff require a physical copy of the booking confirmation in exchange for your ticket. They won’t accept an email on your phone, it must be paper.

Booking in Person:

I would advise heading to your Viazul bus station a day or two in advance of the travel date to make a booking. Seats can often be full on the day of travel.

You’ll need your passport to make a booking. They will then print your booking confirmation. Don’t lose this because you must hand it to the Viazul ticket desk 30 minutes before departure in exchange for your ticket.

TIP – If travelling from Havana, you’ll need to check your luggage in as well so I advise getting there an hour before. The bus terminal is mayhem!

For the most up-to-date Viazul timetable, check here.

TIP – Download Maps.me prior to arriving in Cuba as this tells you where all of the Viazul bus stations are located.

By Private Taxi / Colectivo:

This can be more cost effective than bus if you’re travelling in a group. The cost is for the car not per person so you could pay up to 200 CUC (£160) depending on the distance.

TIP – Make sure you barter hard with your driver. They inflate prices massively and it’s always worth asking a few to get the best price.

Have you been to Trinidad before? What are your thoughts and experiences on it? Let me know in the comments below!

— Packing Guide —

Havaianas-flip-flops

Havaianas Flip Flops

Monki-organic-cotton-denim-shorts

Monki Organic Cotton Shorts

ASOS-DESIGN-natural-straw-easy-boater

ASOS Design Straw Boater

rains-msn-bag

Rains MSN Backpack

fit-flip-microfibre-towel

Fit-Flip Microfibre Towel

illamasqua-matt-veil-primer

Illamasqua Matt Veil Primer

Bobble-filter-water-bottle

Bobble Filter Water Bottle

MyProtein-Lean-Protein-Bar 1

MyProtein Lean Protein Bar

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