“UNESCO World Heritage site with colonial buildings and cobblestone streets.” That was the reason to visit Trinidad, according to the reviews I read. But having just spent 3 days in Havana Vieja – which is a UNESCO World Heritage site with colonial buildings and cobblestone streets – Rodolfo and I wondered if it was really worth the bus ride.
Upon arrival, we took a quick stroll from where we were staying to the central Plaza Mayor, and our doubts dissipated. This place was gorgeous.
While both Havana Vieja and Trinidad offer colorful, old-fashioned buildings, Havana is a city. There’s hustle, bustle, traffic and dirt mixed in with those vintage facades. Whereas our reward for visiting Trinidad was relaxation and a small town vibe.
The Plaza Mayor is quite small, but it offers postcard ready views from every angle. This pup and I had a little photoshoot, her imitating the bronze statues while I happily snapped away.
From there, I wound through the town’s backstreets. On this afternoon, Rodolfo had opted to take a nap (while I was very tempted to join him, I decided I would regret not taking these photos. I’m glad I did.), so I was alone. As with everywhere we went in Cuba I felt completely safe, but I did find myself the target of many an “I love you, lady.” Seriously, men, does that kind of stuff ever work for you?
In addition to the colonial buildings, Trinidad’s big draw is music. Salsa music tumbles out of bars and through plazas all over Cuba, but in Trinidad, life seems to revolve around it. Just off the Plaza Mayor, tourists flock to Casa de la Música (House of Music). These steps are empty by day, but at night, once the tables are taken, people grab a seat on the ground wherever they can and sip their mojitos while watching live music and dance performances.
In the end, of course, the place we’d wondered about visiting became our favorite. Many travelers to Cuba opt for all-inclusive package tours. As Trinidad isn’t in any package, the tourists who make their way here were like us: young, independent travelers looking to discover Cuban culture – and maybe enjoy a mojito or two. It was thanks to this that Rodolfo and I would have what turned out to be one of our best days in Cuba.
More in this series:
We’re going to…
Preparing for Cuba
Snapshots from Cuba
La Bodeguita del Medio: following Hemingway in Cuba
The heart of Havana Vieja
Communist Cuba: seeing it for ourselves
Our Havana tour
Cuba’s best beaches
Getting adventurous in Cuba
The casa particular: where to stay in Cuba
One day in Viñales