The city of Trinidad, located in the province of Sancti Spíritus, is the pearl of Cuban colonial architecture. Founded in the early sixteenth century by the conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, Trinidad was one of the outposts of the Spanish empire in the Caribbean. Trinidad owes its prosperity to sugarcane, livestock and, especially, to its tobacco production.
Trinidad is a colorful colonial city where time stopped in the 19th century, time stopped in the 19th century, with its typical buildings decorated with frescoes and paved alleys. Strolling through its ancient streets, you can also admire some of the best preserved buildings in the Caribbean.
Unesco’s heritage since 1988, Trinidad has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cuba over the years. Despite the influx of visitors, the city has been able to keep its authenticity intact and you can find offers of Cuban homes to stay in Trinidad and surroundings.
What to see in Trinidad, Cuba?
With a population of 75,000 inhabitants, Trinidad is divided into 12 neighborhoods. The core around which the city and its inhabitants revolve is its historical center, where visitors, locals, restaurants and clubs proliferate in a unique environment.
A good time to visit is at the beginning of January (do not worry about the date: around 25 degrees of temperature), when Trinidad was preparing for the Culture Week, the anniversary of the city, celebrated with music and theater on stage mounted in different places. At any time you can enjoy Cuban homes where you can stay as a member of the family.
In Trinidad, all roads lead to the heart of the historic center: the Plaza Mayor. SIt is located in an elevated position in the city, where it is accessed through streets full of souvenir shops and restaurants. The main square is surrounded by buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, a perfect example of Cuban colonial architecture.
The access to the Plaza has become a meeting place for Cubans and tourists sitting at the scattered tables. The focal point of the square is Casa de la Música, an open-air bar next to the main church, where you can listen to live music almost all hours of the night and day.
Near the square are the Benito Ortiz Universal Art Gallery and the Guamuhaya Archeology Museum. Guamuhaya is the original name of the area of Trinidad and the museum, built in the 18th century, exhibits a collection of pre-Columbian artefacts and objects that go back to the beginning of Spanish colonization.
On the opposite side of the archaeological museum is the Casa de los Sánchez Iznaga, a historic building from the 18th century that houses the Museum of Colonial Architecture. Next to it are two other jewels of the eighteenth century: the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, which is the object of great popular devotion, in which the other jewel is kept: The Lord of the True Cross, a wood carving of a Christ.
A short distance away is the most notorious building in Trinidad: the Cantero Palace, , a beautiful palace with frescoes and a columned courtyard. Built in the 19th century, it is the headquarters of the Municipal History Museum, dedicated to the colonial history of the area. The tower of the building serves as a viewpoint from which to admire the views of the city against the backdrop of the Caribbean.
As in any tourist destination, in addition to the common places of visit, there is a parallel life, and equally interesting, if you deviate through the secondary streets of Trinidad. In those less busy streets you will find taverns frequented by Cubans, where they dine, and you can enjoy the authentic atmosphere and food of Cuba at low prices.