Long Way South
Trinidad is well-known for its colonial old town with cobblestone streets, stunning architecture and vintage cars. This picture-postcard city was one of the main ones that I considered when thinking of itinerary ideas and planning the Cuban trip with my friend Zofia.
We arrived in Trinidad following a long bus ride from Varadero. We were stopping in some additional places to pick up random packages. More likely our driver offered to deliver them as a part of his daily voyage from the north to the south of the island. Warned about freezing temperatures and blasting air-conditioning on board of Viazul’s buses we were very relieved that our ride was convenient and reliable.
Trinidad is small, charming and full of brightly coloured buildings with typical facades and wooden window bars. We quickly found that it is rather easy to navigate and almost all streets lead to Plaza Mayor. This main square is situated in the heart of the old town. It’s surrounded by grand Spanish colonial mansions and impressive Church of the Holy Trinity.
It’s possible to explore some of the houses as the owners rent out the rooms to tourists and few them were also converted into private restaurants, paladares. The inner courtyards and large terraces remind of the opulent past and colonial wealth.
It’s All About Live Music
The best way to experience Cuba is definitely by immersing yourself in live music. It’s a true gem of country’s culture and heritage. Casa de la Música is a classic alfresco venue situated right next to the staircase beside the Iglesia Parroquial. It’s also just few steps away from famous Plaza Mayor. It was highly recommended to me by many of my friends. I agree, it’s a perfect place to listen to music, watch live performances and dance salsa under the stars. Just don’t let the weakness of the mojitos served there deceive you! They are strong! If you want to dance all night long, you should pace yourself out.
That said, our night out consisted of many mojitos.. possibly too many. As a result, we ended in a completely surreal surroundings of Disco Ayala. It’s a rather special night club. It’s set up in a natural cave and was one of the most bizarre places that I visited to date.
Venturing Out of Town
During our stay in Trinidad we also decided to venture out to the Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes. It was great to try out one of the hiking trails in the jungle of the Guanayara Park. The Centinelas del Río Melodioso trail started at a coffee plantation and led along the river to the El Rocío waterfall. We had a short swimming session there, in cold but refreshing water. After lunch, on a way back down to Trinidad from the Topes de Collantes we stopped at the viewing platform. Admiring the Escambray Mountains range, Cuba’s second-largest mountain range was priceless. Going on this trip in a huge Russian track was definitely an adventure! I enjoyed it but it’s not for the fainthearted or people, who really care about the safety.
Travelling to the south of Cuba was an opportunity to explore the coastline on the other side of the island. Playa Ancon was the most recommended beach spot. It’s easily accessible by bus from Trinidad. If you are an avid cyclist you can make a bike trip out of it. That ribbon of beautiful sandy beach on Sancti Spíritus’ iridescent Caribbean shoreline is a perfect place to soak up more sun and enjoy some splashing in the sea.