Unfortunately Cuba cannot offer a journey to the future. But it can offer a journey back to the past. The Central part of Cuba is a must do.
We stayed a few days in Trinidad and probably had the best room in town. This article is quiet long, as we stayed here a few nights and went for a lot to see.
The best casa particular in Trinidad
Actually, we don’t know if it is the best. But we can hardly imagine there is something better. From the outside, you cannot see, what an awesome colonial building Casa Yolanda is. It was built in 1786 and our landlady most likely inherited it. Yolanda’s big dog looked quite threatening at first. But turns out just to be a handsome, cool dog! So don’t be afraid!
Once you enter the house, you´re in a huge front hall with a lot of amazing antiques. We were quite impressed, though it was a bit creepy. This was just the foretaste for our amazing room.
It was at the top floor with a huge balcony and was just a bit more expensive than the rooms downstairs. We saw the best sunsets here on the balcony. 30 CUC per night – the price in 2013. We didn’t book in advance as there are Casas around everywhere. But we were lucky, that it was still available.
Old closets, old whining beds and who knows how old the mirrors were. I was afraid of one of them during the nights – I should definitely stop watching horror movies. It was very clean as they were cleaning the rooms every day.
The way to the breakfast area led through a huge patio. Mangos, baby bananas and melons were included in every breakfast. It was very rich and we were always asked if we wanted more.
For us, this was luxury at its best. Best value for our money during the whole stay!
Trinidad and its colonial buildings
Colourful colonial buildings wherever you look. Since 1988, beautiful Trinidad is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
The streets aren’t in best condition. Just those where loads of tourists are guided through every day, especially between noon and the early afternoon, are in shape. For everything else, there is no money! WE had to buy our water in restaurants as it had not been delivered to supermarkets for days. Mojitos costed only 2 CUC. You could try to survive the heat that way.
Sightseeing in Trinidad
Just like said before, the places for tourists were in good condition. Main attraction in Trinidad is Plaza Mayor. The museums and the Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima cathedral are located here. In the middle there is a park with banks surrounded by palm trees. It is also called the “colonial heart” of Cuba. Some claim, it’s the most beautiful place in Cuba.
The park is surrounded by old houses of the most important gentry’s families- today all museums. They’re definitely worth a view. Though, you should try to avoid them by noon, as tourists on a day trip from Varadero and Havana are taking this place over. We didn’t see all of them. But the Museo de Historia Municipal was awesome.
Especially the really not narrow or a bit broken steps up to the tower. That really was an experience. From up there, you have an amzing view over the town.
The front side of Ermita de la Popa was already partly destroyed, when we were there in 2013. Maybe it was already built up again. We had a beautiful view from up there nevertheless. Furthermore, we discovered a gorgeous rooftop bar on our way up there.
Wherever you go, you can listen to Cuban music.
Some elder gentlemen were posing with cigars in their mouth, just for 1 CUC. The most pleasant job ever!
A journey back in time is possible everywhere in Cuba. But in Trinidad it’s most impressing. Because of its location, it was a target for pirates over centuries.
Trinidad was found in 1514 by Diego Velasquez and became Cuba’s wealthiest city by growing sugar cane.
Strange drink called “La Canchanchara”
You shouldn’t miss Trinidad’s oldest bar. It’s called La Canchanchara and you get: Canchanchara. What’s that?
A drink made of Aguardiente (sugar cane liquor), honey, lemon juice and water. Mixing all these ingredients makes a pleasant elixir, which we liked and made us a little bit tipsy. It’s a bit overhyped but we definitely don’t want to hold you back from trying it.
Paladares with suckling pig
A dream for Bavarians in Cuba – suckling pigs everywhere. Bavarians and Cubans have definitely something in common here. And it’s cheap. In general, when you leave the main places and walk the streets aorund those places, you’re not only going to see beautiful Trinidad outside the main attractions, but also find a lot of cheap and tasty Paladares! Chosing those written in Lonely Planet, they’re usually not the cheap ones.
Playa Ancón- Caribbean beach at the gate of Trinidad
There’s not much to say about this except: it’s a very beautiful beach, located 10 km outside from Trinidad. The best way to get here is by taxi. You should bargain the price before.
There is a quite ugly hotel in front of the beach. You shouldn’t be frightened of that. People there were quiet and relaxed. You could easily spend more time here (if you want to)!
Valle de los Ingenious – A symbol for slavery
We were most impressed by our trip to Valle de los Ingenious. Same as Playa Ancón – take a cab, bargain the price before and pay afterwards.
Valle de los Ingenios was one of the most important sugar cane plantations in Cuba and the reason for the wealth of Trinidad’s Upper Class.
The region’s landmark is Torre Manaca Iznaga, a watchtower. But more a symbol for slavery and sexual exploitation. From up there, guards could see over 50km. They observed the slaves and sent slave hunters when they were disobedient.
Next to it, there was an old mansion, which is a restaurant today.