Trinidad is a picturesque postcard come to life! Its charming small streets are paved with cobblestones and lined with colorful colonial houses and art galleries. It has earned a well-deserved spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List. And as a bonus, the beach and mountains are only a few kilometers away!
Wondering what to do and see in Trinidad and its surrounding areas? How to get there from the rest of the island? Or where to stay? Captain Ulysses has all the answers for you!
👉 A Brief History of Trinidad
👉 Weather in Trinidad
👉 How to Get to Trinidad
👉 Top Attractions and Activities in Trinidad
👉 Excursions from Trinidad
👉 The Captain’s Top Recommendations in Trinidad
👉 Practical Information
💡 Planning Your Trip to Cuba 💡
🇨🇺 Visa: Before you depart, be sure to apply for your tourist card (which is your visa for Cuba). You can easily order your tourist card online through CubaVisa.
🛏️ Accommodations: To book your accommodations in Cuba, the Captain recommends Expedia. In Trinidad, the Captain especially recommends 4 casas particulares/B&Bs with very good value for money (La Residencia Margarita, La Casa Nerelvis y Liubetsy, L’Hostal Ramirez & Casa Barmarin) and one hotel (Casa Colonial Torrado 1830).
🐴 Activities: Horseback-riding, hiking, day trips… there’s plenty to do in Trinidad. To book your activities, the Captain highly recommends Civitatis.
📸 Free Guided Tour: Why not explore Trinidad with a local guide? The Captain highly recommends this free walking tour of the city. You can choose how much to tip your guide at the end of the tour.
A Brief History of Trinidad
Trinidad is situated on the south coast of Cuba in the Province of Sancti Spíritus, approximately 300 km southeast of Havana. The city, which remained on the periphery of the island’s industrial development, has undergone little expansion since the 19th-century golden age of sugar cane cultivation, and its historic center has remained intact. Today, it has just over 50,000 inhabitants.
Trinidad was founded in 1514 by the conquistador Diego Velázquez, who had already established the cities of Baracoa and Bayamo to the west of Cuba. Though the city initially prospered thanks to its gold mines, it later experienced its heyday with the sugar and slave trade.
Interestingly, it was from Trinidad that the famous Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés set out to conquer Mexico at the beginning of the 16th century.
Today, Trinidad is Cuba’s most well-known and well-preserved colonial city. The splendid historic downtown area, which has undergone a complete renovation recently, has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1988.
Weather in Trinidad
Like everywhere in Cuba, the weather in Trinidad depends on two major seasons: the dry season (late November to late April) and the rainy season (May to November).
|📅 Month||🌡️ Temperatures||☔ Precipitations||☀️ Sunshine|
|January||21 to 32 °C | 70 to 90 °F||30 mm||8 hours/day|
|February||20 to 32 °C | 68 to 90 °F||33 mm||9 hours/day|
|March||22 to 34 °C | 72 to 93 °F||48 mm||8 hours/day|
|April||24 to 35 °C | 75 to 95 °F||30 mm||8 hours/day|
|May||26 to 36 °C | 79 to 97 °F||168 mm||9 hours/day|
|June||27 to 36 °C | 81 to 97 °F||168 mm||8 hours/day|
|July||27 to 37 °C | 81 to 99 °F||99 mm||9 hours/day|
|August||27 to 37 °C | 81 to 99 °F||153 mm||8 hours/day|
|September||27 to 36 °C | 81 to 97 °F||135 mm||8 hours/day|
|October||26 to 35 °C | 79 to 95 °F||117 mm||8 hours/day|
|November||23 to 34 °C | 73 to 93 °F||42 mm||8 hours/day|
|December||22 to 33 °C | 72 to 91 °F||21 mm||8 hours/day|
Temperatures in Trinidad are mild during the dry season and higher during the rainy season. The dry season is characterized by relatively dry weather, while brief showers weigh down the atmosphere during the rainy season. Sunshine, on the other hand, is relatively constant, ranging from 8 to 9 hours per day, regardless of the season. The sun is therefore present all year round in Trinidad!
How to get to Trinidad?
Trinidad is one of the most touristy cities in Cuba, and there is no shortage of transportation options to get there.
Buses run daily to Trinidad from Havana (6-6.5 hours drive for 25 CUC) and Cienfuegos (1.5 hours for 6 CUC). Many shared taxis also make the trip.
If you’re traveling to Trinidad from Cienfuegos, the Captain highly recommends the excursion that stops at the beautiful El Nicho natural park. You can book this excursion directly at the Cubanacan agency office in Cienfuegos.
Visiting Trinidad: what to see and do?
The colonial city center of Trinidad is a true gem. Insider tip: take the time to get lost in its charming labyrinthine alleys. You’ll surely come across horseback riders wandering the streets of the city. Visiting Trinidad is like stepping back in time!
👉 To make sure you don’t miss anything in Trinidad, you can also opt for a free guided tour of the city (you’re free to choose how much you wish to tip the tour guide). More info here.
Located in the heart of the historic center, Plaza Mayor was constructed in 1856. The square is a charming oasis with beautiful flower beds, wrought iron fences, and royal palms that exude a harmonious ambiance. At the center of the square stands the Muse Terpsichore statue, representing dance and music, which hold significant value to the Cuban people.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, the mansions surrounding Plaza Mayor were constructed by sugar industry magnates. Nowadays, most of these mansions serve as museums.
Be sure not to miss out on visiting Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad, Casa de la Música, Casa de los Conspiradores, Palacio Brunet (housing Museo Romántico), and Palacio Cantero (home to Museo de Historia Municipal).
Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad
The Plaza Mayor is home to the Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad, a neoclassical structure that dates back to the late 19th century. This church is among the largest religious buildings in Cuba.
The Señor de la Vera Cruz statue, an 18th-century wooden sculpture of Christ, is a notable feature of the church. Originally intended for Veracruz, Mexico, the ship carrying it was forced back to the coast of Trinidad three times due to fierce storms. The locals took this as a divine message and decided to keep the statue, which has remained in the Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad ever since.
Trinidad is a city rich in cultural heritage, as evidenced by the many museums found throughout the city. From history and art to archaeology, there’s something for everyone!
The Romantic Museum
Located in the Palacio Brunet, one of the most beautiful buildings in Trinidad, the Romantic Museum (2 CUC) is the city’s oldest museum. Originally the home of a wealthy Creole, Count Brunet, the palace was built in the 18th century and expanded in the early 19th century. The museum showcases a mix of Andalusian and neo-classical styles, exhibiting collections of decorative arts and furniture from the 19th century.
The Architecture Museum of Trinidad
Also on the Plaza Mayor, the Architecture Museum of Trinidad (1 CUC) offers visitors a chance to discover Cuban architecture and crafts from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Casa Azul building itself is a beautiful example of colonial architecture from the 18th century.
The Guamuhaya Archaeology Museum
Although Cuba has numerous history museums, only a handful of them specifically highlight the pre-Columbian indigenous cultures. The Guamuhaya Archaeology Museum (1 CUC) is a unique exception to this trend. Situated in the Casa Padrón, a stunning 18th-century colonial mansion, the museum delves into the history of the native communities that resided in Cuba prior to the Spanish conquest. What’s fascinating is that the renowned conqueror Hernán Cortés lodged in the building that previously stood on the museum’s site before embarking on his conquest of Mexico.
The Municipal Museum of Trinidad
Located in the Palacio Cantero, a colonial mansion from the first half of the 18th century, the Municipal Museum of Trinidad (3 CUC) covers the rich history of the city, from its founding by Velasquez in the 16th century to the wars of independence, the sugar cane trade, and the slave trade. Even if you’re not a big history fan, the museum is worth a visit just for the view: from the tower, you’ll have a beautiful panorama of the city!
The Museum of the Struggle Against Bandits
If you’re interested in visiting the Museum of the Struggle Against Bandits (1 CUC), make your way to the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco de Asís on the Plaza Mayor. You may recognize the delightful yellow bell tower, as it is the iconic image featured on all of the postcards of Trinidad! The museum is housed in the former convent, which is no longer utilized for religious purposes. Its exhibits focus on the Castro fighters’ battle against the counter-revolutionary organizations that opposed the government during the 1960s.
Iglesia Santa Ana
Constructed in 1719, the Iglesia Santa Ana was once a prominent Catholic religious site in Cuba. Despite its current state of ruin, the church has not lost any of its allure; in fact, its derelict appearance only adds to its unique and enigmatic character. Visiting this site is a must during your stay in the stunning city of Trinidad!
Parque Céspedes, formerly known as Plaza Carrillo, is a more modern gathering spot located south of the city. Built in the 19th century, this spacious, tree-lined square provides an excellent opportunity for locals to congregate. You can take a moment to relax in the shade and soak up the ambiance of the city.
Casa de la Trova
At the heart of the city’s vibrant music scene, you’ll find the Casa de la Trova (1 CUC after 8pm), an institution dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Cuban music. Each night, both locals and tourists gather at this venue to enjoy live performances and drinks. The most celebrated “trovador” in town, Israel Moreno, frequently takes the stage.
In addition to its lively concerts, the Casa de la Trova is home to a small museum dedicated to the musical traditions of the island.
Excursions from Trinidad
El Cubano Park
Located 5 km north of Trinidad in the Sierra del Escambray, El Cubano Park (entrance fee: 9 CUC) is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed nature reserve. A 3.6 km hiking trail (Las Huellas de la Historia) leads to the Javira waterfall, where you can take a refreshing dip.
The park is also rich in remnants from the colonial and slavery periods, including an ingenio, a sugar mill where slaves used to work. On site, you will find a ranchón, a ranch-restaurant, where you can have lunch.
The most adventurous can hike from Trinidad (6 km walk), otherwise, you can inquire with agencies in Trinidad or take a taxi from the city center (30 CUC round-trip).
👉 Captain Ulysses also highly recommends this horse riding tour of Parque El Cubano.
The Valley of the Sugar Mills
In the 19th century, the Valley of the Sugar Mills was the epicenter of Cuba’s sugar industry.
With the decline of the sugar industry, the ingenios, the valley’s refineries, were abandoned. Today, these old sugar mills are the best-preserved in the Caribbean.
Topes de Collantes Natural Park
Perched 700 meters above sea level in the Sierra del Escambray, Topes de Collantes Natural Park is a paradise for nature lovers. It is crisscrossed by several hiking trails that pass through lush landscapes before reaching waterfalls and natural pools.
The most popular trails are those of Salto de Caburní and Vegas Grande. Further from Trinidad, El Nicho Natural Park, which is part of the larger Topes de Collantes complex, is also definitely worth a visit!
Located 11 km away from Trinidad, the Ancón Peninsula boasts beautiful white sand beaches that stretch for about twelve kilometers. While three large hotel complexes line the coast, the beaches are less crowded and more tranquil than those at Varadero or Guardalavaca, making it the perfect setting to spend an afternoon splashing around in the sea.
While the beach itself is public, you’ll be asked to pay a few CUC to use the available sun loungers and parasols.
Expect to pay around 6 CUC for a taxi ride from downtown Trinidad to Playa Ancón.
The Captain’s Top Recommendation in Trinidad
Casa Particulars in Trinidad:
Looking for a Casa Particular in Trinidad? Here are our recommendations:
- La Residencia Margarita, for its tasteful decor
- La Casa Nerelvis y Liubetsy, for its friendly hosts and quality service
- L’Hostal Ramirez, if you’re running on a tight budget
- Casa Barmarin, for travelers in search of a higher-end Casa experience
Hotels in Trinidad:
Located just minutes from the central square, with its charming colonial decoration and warm service, Casa Colonial Torrado 1830 is a great address to stay at in Trinidad.
Banks & Currency Exchange:
- Banco de Crédito y Comercio: located at José Martí n°264
- Cadeca: located at José Martí n°164
Bus Station (where you can find Viazul agency): located at Piro Guinart n°224
- Cubatur: located at Antonio Maceo n°447
- Infotur: located at Calle Gloria
Etecsa Telepunto: located at Lino Pérez n° 274, between José Martí and Miguel Calzada
Post Office: located at Antonio Maceo n°418
Everyone agrees that Trinidad is a true gem in Cuba! The city has it all: a charming historical center, mountains nearby, and beaches just a few kilometers away! This is the perfect recipe for a successful trip! The Captain highly recommends you to stop by Trinidad during your visit to Cuba!