💡 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.
The Valle de los Ingenios in a Nutshell
The Valle de los Ingenios (aka the Valley of the Sugar Mills) spans across 225 km2 to the east of Trinidad, comprising three interconnected valleys: San Luis, Santa Rosa, and Meyer.
During the 19th century, the Valley of the Sugar Mills played a central role in Cuba’s sugar industry. With over fifty sugar mills employing up to 11,000 slaves, the name of the valley derives from “ingenio,” meaning “sugar mill” in Spanish.
Highlights of the Valley of the Sugar Mills
Following the sharp decline of the sugar industry in the late 19th century, the infrastructure in the Valley of the Sugar Mills was left abandoned.
However, these former plantations, sugar mills, haciendas, and barracks have endured the test of time, making them the best-preserved remnants of the Caribbean sugar industry.
The Manacas-Iznaga Tower, standing at 45 meters high and once used by plantation owners to oversee their slaves, and Casa Guachinango, now housing a restaurant, are two must-visit sites in the valley.
A tourist train offers a daily circuit of approximately fifteen kilometers in the Valley of the Sugar Mills, starting from Trinidad. The train stops at the Manacas-Iznaga Tower and has a stop at Casa Guachinango. The cost is around 10 CUC per person for a 5 to 6-hour excursion.
Until recently, the train operated as an authentic steam train. Unfortunately, due to recurring breakdowns, it has been replaced by a diesel model. However, its reliability still seems somewhat uncertain.
Alternatively, excursions by car from Trinidad are also available. Prices range from around twenty CUC per person without lunch to approximately thirty CUC with lunch included. To book the train or car excursions, inquire at the Cubatur agency in the city center.