Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Trinidad easily became Cuba's darling for a multitude of reasons.
The winding cobblestone streets of Trinidad paired with pastel colors, the Spanish colonial town is perfectly preserved. A rich history of sugar mills in the nearby valleys defined the bustling town with colonial architecture that can still be seen today. Walking through the streets, you can feel the energy of a young and exciting wave of change through Trinidad.
With one of the largest concentrations of paladares (privately-owned restaurants) in Cuba, the food scene is particularly exciting. Beautiful spaces that would rival most hip eateries, are coupled with classic ingredients prepped in inventive ways. It was a refreshing and welcomed change during the journey through Cuba.
Trinidad's location gives an opportunity to explore the outdoors, with the lapping turquoise waters of the Caribbean only minutes away. A few days spent in Trinidad feels like the ultimate break, with a day at the beach, nights dancing away, and incredible cuisine.
The Ultimate Guide to Trinidad, Cuba
What to Know Before Visiting Trinidad, Cuba:
There's a lot you to know before choosing to visit Cuba in general, and this post goes into great detail of the logistics of travel in Cuba. The information in this article pertains specifically to Trinidad.
- You will need CUC (local tourist currency) for payment.
- Three nights is a great amount of time to see the city and spend a day at the beach.
- For getting around town, by foot is often the easiest.
- Whenever you hear music, follow the sound to what will probably be a good dance party that often happens in the street. Trust me.
- Pre-book your accommodations as often it is very impacted due to the amount of travelers.
- Always carry small change and toilet paper for the times you may need a restroom break.
- Wear good walking shoes and mind your step. (A post on good walking shoes.)
Where to Stay in Trinidad, Cuba:
In Trinidad, there are a few types of accommodations like hotels and casa particulares. We stayed at Casa Colonial 1830 and reserved on Airbnb for ease of payment. (Here's the link to Airbnb). The stay at Casa Colonial was absolutely wonderful and by far my favorite from the trip. The beautiful home, coupled with friendly hosts, and a wonderful terrace with a view made the time in Trinidad magical. Just footsteps from the main square, you could be anywhere in minutes. Breakfast was $5 CUC each morning, and was a great way to start the day out on the patio.
(P.S get $20 on your first Airbnb adventure by using this link to sign up!)
Where to Eat in Trinidad, Cuba:
In Trinidad, paladares are the name of the game with over 90 of these privately owned restaurants — up from only 5 just back in 2011. Expect to have some of your better meals here, reserve when you can, and when there's a line, well it's probably worth it.
- La Botija: Expect a line, but know that it's definitely worth it for incredible plating and tapas. Try the fried chicken and ham stuff plantains. I would eat here at least twice to try different things.
- La Raddicion: With a reservation definitely needed, this restaurant serves up an incredible and well-priced lobster, all inside a brick-exposed room. The restaurant plays a bit of theatre with menus that you fill out yourself for ordering, and hip-dressed waiters.
- Restaurant San Jose: Rated number one on Trip Advisor, this is one of those incredibly cheap yet good meals in Trinidad. Expect a wait, but they'll give you a buzzer (first I ever saw in Cuba) to let you know when it's your turn.
- Esquerra: Well-prepared Cuban dishes.
- Real-Cafe Restaurante: Tucked inside a courtyard, this is a good spot for a solid lunch or dinner. Lobster is also great here.
- La Ceiba: Come here for a good chicken in honey and lemon sauce.
What to Do in Trinidad, Cuba:
- Walk the cobblestone streets, taking in the endless pastel-colored rows of homes.
- Step into history at Museo Historico Municipal (be sure to go to the top for the view).
- Enjoy the music that seems to always show up in Plaza Mayor.
- Rent bicycles and take the scenic hour ride to Playa Ancon. Stop off at La Boca for a traditional fishing village and be sure to get in the cool waters at the small private beach halfway between La Boca and Playa Ancon.
- At night, follow the crowds to Disco Ayala, one of the best nightclubs I have ever been to. Set inside an incredible cave, it's home to electronic music and great reggaeton. Lines cue up early, so get there a bit early to snag a spot. There is an entrance fee but includes a drink.
- Casa de la Musica: Come here for an outdoor venue for live music and drinks.
- Take a day trip to Vegas Granade Waterfall to explore the mountains nearby.
- If interested in Cienfuegos, this could be a good day trip (1 hr ride & $40 CUC each way for private) if you have something in particular you would like to visit.
- Take a horseback ride to the El Pilon waterfall in the Valley of the Sugar Mills.