Trinidad, Cuba is a town where time seems to have stood still. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the seemingly untouched, 19th-century Spanish colonial settlement offers a unique glimpse into the country’s history. Situated in Cuba’s central region, which overlooks the Caribbean Sea on the Guamuahaya mountainside, the friendly town holds many surprises for those willing to seek them out. Walking down the tiny cobblestone streets that are lined with colorfully painted buildings, one wouldn’t be surprised to turn a corner to find a musket-toting Spaniard. Preserved in its element, Cuba’s traditions and cultures shine brighter than those of other countries. The island is unsullied by modern fads. Influences from Africa, Spain, and indigenous cultures are visible everywhere, from the food to the architecture. Beautiful plazas bustle with artisans and street food, while churches and palaces hold the city’s secrets within their walls. A simple stroll would only reveal the tip of the iceberg.
The tastes of Cuba
The essence of Cuba is best seen in its cuisine, which combines Spanish, African, and Creole traditions for an explosion of flavors. Dining is a special experience all on its own. Most notably is ropa vieja Cubana, a specialty made with tender beef, tangy tomatoes, bright peppers, and a blend of spices. One bite reveals why it is one of Cuba’s most popular and beloved dishes.
The sights of Trinidad
The city’s center, Plaza Mayor, is the heart of Trinidad. The Padrón House contains the Guamuhaya Museum of Archaeology, which showcases pieces from Pre-Columbian cultures. Travelers can stand agape before of one of the largest churches in Cuba, the Church of Santísima Trinidad, and admire its imposing neoclassical façade. Trailing off the main square are narrow colonial alleyways that wind past stately homes from the 18th and 19th centuries, which can inspire adventure seekers to intentionally get lost in the city’s nooks and crannies. Stroll past the Romantic Museum in the Brunet Palace, which features 14 rooms of hand-crafted furniture and decorative arts from the Romanticism movement. The Museum of Colonial Architecture displays the richness of the colonial village with seven rooms arranged in chronological order of the town’s history. Another architectural masterpiece is the Cantero Palace, a colonial building from around 1800 that first belonged to the Borrel family. It was later acquired by a German citizen who lent his name to it. Nowadays, it is home to the Town History Museum, home to an interesting collection of documents and artifacts.
While the city itself seems to be a life-size interactive museum, the scenic beauty of the mountainous Escambray region’s beaches and crystal-clear ocean are also worth visiting. The majestic Sierra del Escambray mountain range invites hikers to brave its crisscrossed trails to discover spectacular views of central Cuba and the Caribbean. Travelers can also explore the lush landscapes by horseback, or climb the Manaca-Iznaga Tower that overlooks Valle de los Ingenios, the valley in which the town sits. Water-lovers can dive into the sparkling sea along the Ancón peninsula for a rich underwater experience, or they can sail catamarans around Casilda bay.
The best time to go
Cuba’s climate is no different from the other jewels in the Caribbean, offering warm weather almost year-round. The driest months are between November and April.
Iberostar Grand Trinidad, Cuba
Located in a refurbished 16th-century World Heritage building, this 5-star, adults-only hotel is ripe with Cuba’s rich culture and, of course, its signature flavors.