Ten experiences to discover the Museum City of Cuba (+ Bonus)
There is a place in the south center of Cuba that enchants and inevitably captures those who visit it. Established in 1514 by Diego Velázquez, the Villa de la Santísima Trinidad is one of the seven founding settlements of the Spanish conquest. It already has more than half a millennium of existence, but the exceptional state of conservation of its buildings, the uniqueness of its squares and alleys, together with the traditions that are kept in the memory of its inhabitants, make it one of the most preserved colonial cities in Latin America. Today we have selected for you ten experiences that will allow you to live all the charm of the so-called “Museum City”. Let’s get started!
- Tour the Plaza Mayor. It is the heart of the Historic Center, since all the streets of the town lead to it. Do not miss the imposing church that presides over it, nor the majestic mansions scattered along its entire perimeter. Many of these buildings are now interesting museums, which we strongly recommend that you enter (we will talk about some later). Cobblestones on the ground, filigree lattice windows, clay tiles… the feeling of being in another century will be inevitable and enchanting. The square is also the center of the cultural and social life of “Trinitarios” (locals), so if you are looking for the true soul of Cuba on your trip, you have come to the right place.
- Fill yourself with nostalgia at the Romantic Museum. On one side of the square, the fourteen rooms of this house display objects of daily use belonging to famous families of Trinidad during the 18th and 19th centuries. Lingerie, furniture, luxurious porcelain, lamps, goldsmith: lovers of the arts and decoration will be here at ease. Also known as Palacio Brunet, the museum has a splendid interior patio recognized among the most beautiful in Cuba. Ideal for your travel photos!
- Visit the San Francisco de Asís Convent. You may have seen some spectacular images showing the reddish roofs of Trinidad, the bell tower of the main church and in the distance the green mountains of the Escambray. Photos like this are obtained by climbing to the top of this retreat, where you will have the best panoramic view of the entire city and you can even see the sea. That is not the most interesting thing: the convent houses a sample of Cuban history after the 1959 Revolution, a time when the locals organized to confront the gangs of bandits that ravaged the region. We recommend it.
- Learn about colonial architecture in its own museum. Another palace near the Plaza Mayor, where you will see from a collection of old doors to the original bathrooms and showers that were used in the 19th century. The building is also an architectural jewel, with its galleries that surround the typical central courtyard, its original ceilings and the carpentry works that adorn it.
- Try the canchánchara. What…? Well yes, between photos and museums, take a moment to savor this cocktail that has its origins in the wars of independence. They say that the Cuban armies -the mambises- used to fight the cold and give energy to the body with an explosive mixture of honey, lemon juice and brandy. It used to be drunk hot in containers made from fruit peels; Today ice is added and it is served in some very cool clay cups. Where to have it? In a tavern on Calle Real del Jigüe, just say the key word: CAN-CHAN-CHA-RA and any smiling Cuban will show you the way.
- Take art lessons with Yudit Vidal Faife. This contemporary painter maintains a studio in her own home where she shares the creative process of her works with visitors. Listening to her anecdotes, seeing Trinidad reflected in drawings and paintings, learning about the many legends that circulate around the city and that she has been collecting, will be a fantastic way to learn about this unique city. “Yudit welcomes you with open arms and with all her soul” tells a testimonial on TripAdvisor. Will you visit her?
- Find your rhythm in the House of Music. There is no Cuban city, beach or country where dance is lacking, and Trinidad is no exception. Imagine a wide staircase that surrounds the stage like an amphitheater, where, at dusk, the best orchestras perform sones, rumbas, salsa … The notes are so contagious that in a few minutes the floor is filled with adventurous dancers. If you’re feeling shy, cheer yourself up with a cold beer or mojito. Guaranteed foot movement!
- Look at the Valle de los Ingenios from above. Silent witness to the sugar empires that made Trinidad’s wealth, the Valle de los Ingenios was declared a World Heritage Site in 1988, next to the Historic Center that you already knew. Old plantations, estates and slave barracks can be visited during a day whose peak moment will be the climb to the famous Manaca-Iznaga tower, discovering more and more beauties at each step of the ascent. When you go down, order a guarapo: savoring the fresh juice of the sugar cane is what you will need to complete the experience. Important: the valley is 13 kilometers from the city, so you will have to hire transportation from the sales offices of your hotel or ask for the advice of your travel agent.
- Appreciate the creations of local crafts. In 2018, international experts granted Trinidad the status of Artisan City of the World. And it deserves it: whether in the alleys of the city or in the Valle de los Ingenios itself, the most delicate needle and thread creations await you. Embroidery, crochet, lace of various types, frayed that they admire for their beauty and the skill necessary for their elaboration, are some of the techniques that artisan families have used for decades. Take home a white linen tablecloth, an exquisite set of napkins, a sheet, a dress … or simply the image of all the fabrics waving in the wind under the centuries-old portals.
- Cool off in the Salto del Caburní. This 65-meter-high waterfall is one of the greatest charms of the Topes de Collantes Natural Park, at 15 kilometers from Trinidad (there are transportation services by bus or taxi). The path that leads to the top is highly recommended by those who love nature; And although reaching the top may seem like a challenge, it is worth taking it to enjoy the tropical biodiversity, the exuberant landscapes and at the end, a bath in its crystalline waters.
Bonus: Relax on Ancón beach
Confess it: all this time you have been wondering if you can go to the beach during your stay in Trinidad. The answer is yes! Ten minutes away by taxi or bus, Ancón awaits you, the ideal place for a relaxing morning or to say goodbye to the day (the sunsets seen there are very famous). The beach has shady areas and beach bars in case you get hungry, the options range from a sandwich to the delicious Caribbean lobster, all accompanied by the cocktails of your choice. Blue sea and almost always calm, white and warm sands … we better not tell you more, go ahead and discover it!
Soon the Meliá Trinidad Península will open its doors here. A five-star resort of 401 room the new hotel will ideal for circuit enthusiasts, families, couples and business travelers.
We hope that right now you are looking for the best way to include Trinidad in your next trip to Cuba. Loved by those who inhabit it, hospitable to travelers, and a relic of the colonial era, this city is a treasure of Latin American history and culture. You will not be disappointed!