There’s a large number of visitors to Cuba that tend to stick to Havana and Varadero only, which can be understandable if they’re short on time. On the other side, there’s lots more of Cuba to visit and explore, with Trinidad being one of the most idyllic places in the whole country. Even if you’re bound by a tight schedule, that doesn’t mean you have to skip it. Spending only one day in Trinidad is enough to explore the beautiful streets of the once colonial city, enjoy yourself at the beach, and have a memorable night out.
What’s the best time to visit Trinidad?
Ideally, it would be from March to June. Summer should be skipped because it’s too hot, humid and rainy. Winter, on the other hand, is often very busy, packed with travelers from the Northern Hemisphere.
What’s good to know about Trinidad?
Founded in 1513., Trinidad still seems to be stuck in those days as one of the best-preserved colonial towns in the country. The authenticity and beauty of the brightly colored colonial buildings and picturesque cobblestone streets made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides the rich history and intimate atmosphere, Trinidad is a city of stunning nature too. Surrounded by the scenic mountains, vast valleys, and divine beaches, Trinidad has something to offer to everyone.
One Day in Trinidad Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Trinidad.
Walk Around the Old Colonial Center
The historical center of Trinidad, though quite small, has a lot to offer. Many small museums and historical buildings are concentrated around the city’s central point – Plaza Mayor. Wander the cobblestone streets and check out La Parroquial Mayor church, Museo Historico and the Museum of Colonial Architecture. All the sights are within 50 meters.
Ride a Bike All the Way to the Coast Through the Valley
You can reach the coast using all sorts of transportation, however, renting a bike is not just the cheapest option, but also the most exciting one. Plus, you can do stopovers whenever you want. If you are staying at a casa particular, ask your host about bike rentals. It shouldn’t cost more than 5 CUC.
Have a Snack at La Boca
The bike route to the Ancón peninsula includes a stopover at the coastal town of La Boca. It’s pretty much a local place, loaded with street food and cocktail stalls wherever you turn. It’s a nice place to have a rest from your ride and to have a local snack. Refresh yourself with fresh Mango or Pineapple juice.
Hit the Beach at the Ancón Peninsula
Even though the Ancón beach is the biggest and most famous one, with its palm trees and golden sand – it can get pretty crowded during the weekend, especially in the summer. Also, if you’re not in shape, pedaling all the way to the Ancón beach can be exhausting. Luckily, just after you pass La Boca, there will be many beaches along the way, from the tiny and rocky ones to those much bigger, covered in white sand.
Eat Your Dinner at La Botija
After the exhausting ride, you’ll need to fill up your energy and have some food. There are multiple newly opened, nicely decorated, and gastronomically attractive restaurants and paladars in the city. La Botija is one of them. It’s open 24/7, but we suggest you visit it for dinner as there are usually live concerts at that time.
Show off Your Salsa Skills at Plaza Mayor
If you know to dance Salsa, Trinidad is the best city to show off your skills. If you don’t know how to dance, Trinidad is the best city to learn. Anyways, don’t miss the dancing event at the escalinata (staircase) below the Casa de la Musica held daily in the evening. Even if you’re not into dancing at all, you can drink a few cocktails and enjoy the atmosphere.
Have a Unique Clubbing Experience at the Disco Ayala
Trinidad is unique in so many ways. One example is the Disco Ayala, a nightclub housed inside a natural cave. Yes, it can get stuffy inside, and yes, the music can be a bit underwhelming as well, but it can get super exciting, especially after the salsa masters hit the dancefloor. The only problem is that the road leading there can get a bit tricky as it is a dirty, steep road with sparse street lighting.
Where to stay in Trinidad?
The best choice for a place to stay in Trinidad is Casa particular (private apartment). Truth be told, it’s sometimes your only choice. Be smart and book ahead (you can do it online and via phone) because their number is limited. But the whole thing is very much affordable and you can even get a delicious breakfast if you throw in just a few dollars extra.
However, in case you prefer a hotel stay – there’s no better option than IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Trinidad. The hotel is located very centrally, in a beautifully renovated historical building in colonial style. This luxurious hotel combines tradition with modern designs and offers a stylish, yet super comfortable stay.
DAY TRIPS FROM TRINIDAD
If you fall in love with Trinidad and decide to stay a little longer than planned, it’s a good idea to book some day trips from Trinidad and discover a little bit more about the island nation’s rich history and beautiful nature. Some popular destinations, for example, Viñales and Santiago de Cuba, are a bit too far and would take too much time to reach. Here are some good alternatives only a couple of hours away from Trinidad.
Day Trip to Parque Natural Topes de Collantes
Immediately next door to Trinidad, this lush nature reserve park is packed with hiking trails, natural pools, breathtaking views, and unique waterfalls. Getting there is easy – you can either hire a private taxi or book an organized tour. The hike is tailored to your needs and abilities. After a walk through the jungle, you will reach a pristine little lake under a waterfall. You can actually swim under the waterfall! What more can you ask for?
Most tours will also take you to visit the local coffee farmers, where you can enjoy delicious coffee as you take in the peculiar atmosphere.
Day Trip to Bay of Pigs
Famous for CIA’s failed invasion that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs is nowadays famous for its snorkeling. A day reserved for Cuba Libre, amazing seafood, and an unparalleled warm water diving experience. There is a great chance that you may see the crab migration on the sea floor. Although the equipment may not be new and fancy, the crystal clear waters and beautiful corals more than make up for it. No pigs to be seen, though.
If you fall in love with the Bay of Pigs, you can always stay the night at Playa Larga for an unforgettable experience.
Day Trip to Cienfuegos
Only an hour and a half from Trinidad by car, Cienfuegos is a city situated in the middle of Bahía de Cienfuegos, a vast bay. Like many other cities in Cuba, it owes a lot of its charm to beautiful and well-preserved colonial-era buildings. One of its most famous landmarks, the Tomás Terry Theater, located on the central square, captivates visitors with unique ceiling frescoes and priceless gold-leaf mosaics. If you want to learn more about the city’s colonial history, check out the Provincial Museum. Revolutionary landmarks include the Arco de Triunfo, while the Castillo de Jagua, located across the bay, is one of the best preserved 18th-century fortresses in Latin America.
Extra tips for visiting Trinidad
– The cobblestone streets are very slippery and uneven so forget about fancy shoes or high heels. Sneakers or sandals are your best bet when in Trinidad.
– ZunZunCar is an excellent way to get around Trinidad and Cuba in general. With them, you can book a ride online and select where you want to go and the car will be waiting. You can tailor absolutely everything to your needs, so think of this as a Cuban Uber. Even paying is done online, so you won’t have to exchange currencies if you don’t have any pesos on you.
– If you’re traveling during the summer, don’t forget to bring strong sunblock and mosquito repellent, preferably bought outside of Cuba (local brands are not that efficient).
– If you’re planning to take a bike ride, don’t forget to bring a hat because the sun can get really strong.
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