The plan was to visit Sancti Spiritus and stay there for one day, we had been told that it is a small city but it is beautiful and worth a day trip. We booked Casa Las Americas and they were informed we would be arriving at 4am. The Viazul from Santiago de Cuba to Sancti Spiritus took 8 hours and cost CUC 28. As expected we arrived at Sancti Spiritus at 4am, the Casa was only a 10 minutes walk from the Viazul bus terminal but it was a little disconcerting walking around that early in the morning with the only other people on the road being transsexual prostitutes.
However when we arrived at the Casa they did not respond to our knocks on the door, we stood for 10mins before we decided to head back to the bus terminal, I guess the worker at the Casa drank too much rum that night.
We decided to make our way to Trinidad and fortunately for us the next bus to Trinidad was arriving at 6am, we had only a 2 hour wait. Trinidad to Sancti Spiritus was only 1 hour 30 mins away and cost CUC 6. We arrived in Trinidad 8 am in the morning, 12 hours earlier than we had intended to, all in all the only part of Sancti Spiritus we saw was the Bus terminal and the local sex workers.
Trinidad is the best preserved city in Cuba, a small city with a heavy Spanish Colonial influence and is truly beautiful, no wonder it is declared a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the most visited city in Central Cuba but luckily for us whilst we were there it was rather quiet. There was so much colour and vibrancy everywhere you looked.
The weather was between Havana’s and Santiago the Cuba and was manageable at between 27-29 degrees.
Where I stayed
Hostal Sandra y Victor
Even though we had arrived 12 hours ahead of schedule we went to the Casa Sandra y Victor and they happily welcomed us in as we told them of our failed mission to Sancti Spiritus much to Victor’s Amusement. Knowing we were tired and hungry Victor prepared some breakfast on the porch for us, the breakfast as usual in Cuba was great and the views of the giant Avocado trees made the meal even more delicious.
The Casa was amazing, the family was great, it was clean, centrally located and best of all were weren’t under the feet of the family as we had our own space. We paid CUC 60 for 2 night, I really recommend this Casa.
Address: Maceo no.613a e/ Pablo Pichs Giron Guinart Tel: 41 99 6444. web: www.hostalsandra.com
What I did
Valle de los Ingenios
We took a half day trip to the Valle de los Ingenios a sprawling open valley that makes you forget that there are developed cities such as Havana on the Cuban Island. The trip was inexpensive at CUC 10 and included a stop at the Manca-Inznaga Estate and Hacienda Guachinango. One of the best part of the trip is the little wooden tourist train that takes you through the valley, the train is also named Valle de los Ingenios. Snacks, drinks and cigars are available on the train, the trip is great value for money and I highly really recommend it.
The first thing you notice as you get the train station at the Manca-Inznaga estate is a 45 meter tower, it was built by the most successful sugar planters in Cuba.
The Manca-Inznaga Estate Tower
It is said that the tower was built to impressive a woman, lucky her. The tower is very old and so I climbed the wooden step precariously but it wasn’t a long way up to the top. The views are amazing the luscious greenery with dots of colourful buildings and white linen being sold by marketers made a beautiful picture. There is a fee of CUC 2 to climb the tower.
We stopped at the Hacienda Guachinango for lunch, there was also the chance to go horse riding for CUC 25. The Hacienda was very tranquil, a great place to come to get away from the hustle and bustle of a busy life.
Iglesia del la Santisima Trinidad
The church is not imposing but there is something about it that made we want to look inside. The inside similarly to the exterior is very simple and I liked that about it, the church was simply beautiful.
Ermita de la Popa
The church is formally known as ‘Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de la Popa del Barco,’ a mouthful right? Hence why the locals call it La Popa, it is a dilapidated church on the outskirts of the city and lays 15 minutes at the end of a dirt track from Plaza Mayor. There is not much to see of the church but a frame, but do not let that discouraged you the views of the city and the lush landscape of Valle de los Ingenious on the other side of the hill are worth it.
The beach is some 20 mins away from the city centre, there are several ways to get to it; hire a car for the day, by taxi or the most economical way is the Trinibus which runs a service to and fro for only CUC 2 for a return journey. Just make sure to check the departure times.
It was the best beach I have ever been to, the sea was blue and warm, the sand white and the weather was perfect. There was a man selling fresh coconut for CUC 3, I ordered one and he took 30 mins to bring it but it tasted off, be careful who you buy things from on the beach.
We walked around and explored the city, aimlessly wandering was a great way to discover the city’s unique and quirky character. Trinidad is certainly the most colourful city we went to in Cuba.
Food and Drink
We paid an additional CUC 5 each morning to have breakfast at the Casa and it was worth it, again I say Cuban breakfast is the best.
Taberna La Bojita
This was a very cool restaurant, popular with locals and tourists alike, we ate there both nights we were in the city and we saw the same faces both nights. I liked the rustic decor but I was little thrown by the slave shackles and restraint on the walls, a reminder of human cruelty. Nevertheless it was a brilliant restaurant and the good food was served in large potions on rustic crockery. The entertainment where a brilliant duo from Bayamo, their sound was a Jazzy, Afro and Spanish mixture, we stayed at least 1 hour after we finished our meals to listen to them. A two course meal and a drink cost CUC 12.
We popped in there by chance looking for a place to cool off from the hot afternoon sun, we ordered iced daiquiris which was perfect for cooling down and we sat for a while people watching. The drinks cost CUC 4 each.
Review of Trinidad
This city was prefect, a great mixture between Havana and Santiago de Cuba. Even though the city is small it packs a punch and offers a lot to do, I would certainly come back to Trinidad if I ever return to Cuba.
So what next
The next stop is Vinales at the top of the island.
Do you want to find out what we did in Vinales and how it compared to Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba and Havana? Then follow my blog to find out more and you will be notified as I upload more posts.
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