Colonial Charm and Vibrant Streets

One of the best-preserved colonial cities in the Caribbean, Trinidad is often referred to as a “living museum”. Founded by Diego Velázquez in 1514, Trinidad grew wealthy on sugar in the 18th century, thus its museum-piece architecture dates mainly from this era. With its rich history, sprawling plazas, grandiose churches and stately mansions, Trinidad was granted the status of UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.


In addition to its pretty gardens, colourful buildings and cobbled streets, Trinidad boasts an outstanding live music scene and a surprisingly rich nightlife. Wedged between the towering Escambray range and shimmering coast, the colonial town is also surrounded by picture-perfect natural wonders, making for some worthwhile excursions and daytrips.

What to See

Despite being one of the top five must-see places in Cuba, Trinidad maintains a slow-paced charm. Wander its cobbled streets, admiring the iconic architecture: pastel-coloured buildings with wrought-iron grille windows and red ceramic tile roof-tops. Trinidad’s town centre attracts most of the attention, especially around the picturesque Plaza Mayor. The Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad (or Parroquial Mayor) sits on one of the corners of the plaza. Completed in 1892, its modest façade disguises its lovely interior with elaborate altars and decorated ceilings.

There are a number of museums to visit in Trinidad, with a varied range of collections. Make sure to visit the Museo Romántico, a colonial mansion from the 18th century which overlooks the Plaza Mayor. The museum houses a beautiful collection of antiques and offers a unique view of the city from its second floor. The Museo de la Lucha contra Bandidos (‘Museum of the Struggle against Bandits’), housed in the former Convent of San Francis of Assisi, is home to a collection of maps, weapons, photographs and objects from the Castrist militia efforts against counter-revolutionaries in the 1960s. The interior patio of the church offers a glimpse into the Cuban Missile Crisis, with fragments of a U-2 plane and a GAZ 63 truck. The museum is also renowned for the 360° view it offers of the city from the former church’s bell tower. The Museo Histórico Municipal is another must-see in Trinidad. This sumptuous 19th century mansion has a notable collection, including the possessions of the Cantero family, wealthy 1800s sugar barons who are the subject of much intrigue.

The Manaca-Iznaga estate, a former sugar plantation, should feature on everyone’s bucket-list. Legend has it that back in 1750, the Manaca and Iznaga families made a bet to see who could build the largest water well and tower. The winner would take Trinidad’s most beautiful lady as his wife. Though the water well no longer exists, the 44m-high tower stands testament to the legend, and provides visitors with the most amazing view of the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills). 

Where to Stay

Trinidad’s limited offer of hotels is made up for by the plethora of stunning private homestays available in colonial mansions. Cuba Direct™ works closely with hosts in order to guarantee excellence in service at all the houses we promote. All the accommodations we offer include breakfast and air-conditioning. However, the highlight of staying at a private house is the way in which your hosts will make you feel at home.

We have direct contracts with the casas particulares and offer the extra peace of mind of booking through an ATOL and ABTA-protected agency.

We also recommend the adults-only Iberostar Trinidad hotel, located less than 10 minutes by foot from the Plaza Mayor. This modern boutique hotel is the only five-star accommodation in town, so it’s best to book well in advance.

How Long to Stay

One or two nights are usually enough to get to know Trinidad and the adjacent Valle de los Ingenios. However, if you’d like to explore the region at a slower pace, then Trinidad makes the perfect base for taking day-trips to Topes de Collantes or Cienfuegos. We usually recommend going on to visit Varadero, the Northern Keys and Eastern Cuba a after staying in Trinidad.

Getting There

A coach or taxi from Havana is the most economical and convenient way to reach Trinidad, and usually takes around 4 hours. Our most popular itineraries provide a choice of transfer options, including the option of a private English-speaking driver/guide. Adventurous travellers may prefer to hire a car and enjoy the trip at their own pace as part of a fly-drive holiday.

Where to Eat

Trinidad plays host to a wide assortment of lovely paladares (private, rather than state, owned, restaurants), many of which are set within historic mansions with vintage interiors. You’ll be able to find a combination of authentic Cuban creole food as well as international cuisines on offer.

Sol Ananda, next to the Plaza Mayor, feels like a beautiful forgotten time-capsule. Dine as Trinidad’s 18th-century elite would have in one of the town’s oldest houses. Though the food has improved significantly since the building’s construction in 1750, little has changed in the architecture, furnishings or refined ambience.

For a vegetarian-friendly option in a delightful garden setting, opt for the paladar Sol y Son. They have a house band that is definitely worth the visit, and the entire house is set up like a museum. Ask for breakfast on the roof terrace and enjoy the beautiful view over the oldest part of town.

The Guaicanicú restaurant at the Iberostar Trinidad hotel is a more up-scale option, with its stylish furnishings, high ceilings and impeccable service. They even offer an assorted gluten-free menu, a real rarity in Cuba. 

Nightlife

The charming streets of Trinidad come to life at night, as the town fills with world-class musicians playing on street corners, plazas and parks. Trinidad’s bars and paladares also offer sensational live music, and there’s a decent range of clubs that guarantee an unforgettable night out. Among the most popular clubs is the Casa de la Música, with its peerless, romantic setting at the hiatus of a grand stone stairwell, right next to the Iglesia Parroquial Mayor. There’s a different show on every night, and you can enjoy everything and anything - from troubadours and rumba groups, to son and salsa shows.

A favourite bar amongst locals is La Canchánchara, famous for its house cocktail of the same name. Dating back to the 19th century independence wars, the Canchánchara cocktail is a smooth blend of honey, lime and rum, served in a jícara (small clay pot). Just one taste will give you enough of a kick to get dancing to the live bands that frequent the bar’s open-air courtyard. 

Suggested Itineraries

Trinidad is conveniently located close to Playa Ancón beach, as well as the Sierra del Escambray mountains and the Valle de los Ingenios. We suggest planning a few daytrips while staying in the town, as well as combining your visit with a stay in another city (such as Havana, Viñales, or Cienfuegos), together with a beach-stay (in Varadero or Cayo Santa María).

Take a look at our award-winning holidays, such Enchanting CubaEssence of Cuba and Open Roads and Colonial Retreats, all of which include a stay in Trinidad. We'll use our in-depth knowledge of Cuba to tailor any package to your exact need.

For more inspiration, consider our self-drive holidays or private escorted tours, or speak to one of our travel agents to design a tailored multi-centre trip experience. Just call 0207 148 3042.

DISCOVER TRINIDAD ON YOUR HOLIDAY