Our original thought was to return from Viñales back to Havana but we quickly changed our mind and decided to go to Trinidad. We booked a taxi colectivo for the next morning that ended up being an adventure all by itself. Although we weren’t told, we had to exchange cars in Havana and the one we got in after was actually a minibus with a (non-functional) old style TV hung from the ceiling in the front. While passing through a short storm, it dripped everywhere inside the car. To top this, we saw at one point the driver almost falling asleep on the highway. Luckily, shortly after we stopped for a break.
Getting here from Viñales:
• Viazul ticket is 37 CUC from Vinales to Trinidad and it leaves early in the morning.
• Taxi colectivo is around 35 CUC per person from Vinales and you will need to change cars closer to Havana. From Havana it will be around 25 CUC, but this price depends on the number of people sharing the taxi.
• Rent a car – we didn’t want to rent a car in Cuba but we heard a lot of people doing it – it might be more expensive though.
Accommodation in Trinidad
Since we were there during the low season, we decided not to book accommodation in advance. Our FootPrint book said that prices average around 30 CUC so we figured we’d get them for 20-25 due to the low season. As soon as we stepped off the buss, multiple people jumped to every one of us shouting about their casa in either broken English or Spanish, some even with a folder with photos of their house pushing it way too close to our face. Most of them were offering the casa at 15 CUC per night. We ended up in a casa that was one block away from the centre, where the family stayed downstairs and the upstairs room was being rented out. Breakfast was served on the rooftop terrace with an amazing view of Trinidad and they even had Wi-Fi in the house. The lady was really helpful, recommending us things to do in Trinidad and around.
Things to visit in and around Trinidad
Trinidad is the best preserved colonial town in Cuba with the old part of Trinidad being a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988. The town centre has mostly cobblestone streets, but compared to the ones around Europe, they were extremely uneven. Colourfully painted houses abound around here as well, just like in the rest of Cuba.
Museum of the Struggle Against the Bandits
Our accommodation was really close to the war museum so we decided to read more about the revolution and the war prior to it and climb the tower for a spectacular view across the town. The entrance to the museum was only 1 CUC per person. We were not disappointed, the view over Trinidad and its surroundings was spectacular.
Get lost on the streets
We wandered around on the cobbled streets of Trinidad for hours and we found the open-air market where people were selling all kinds of souvenirs, especially textiles and crochet work, most of them with either the Cuban flag, Che or the royal palm tree. On every street corner there is at least one guy offering either taxi colectivo, horse rides around Trinidad or to take you to a restaurant.
Casa de La Musica
If you like salsa, this is the perfect spot to visit in Trinidad where live bands perform during both the day and night. During the night, there is an entrance fee of 1 CUC per person and there is always a mix of Cubans and tourists.
Visit El Cubano Waterfall
Next day we decided to hike to El Cubano, a lesser known waterfall instead of taking a horse ride to Salto de Caburni, the most popular waterfall in Parque Natural Topes de Collantes. We followed the road that takes you out of Trinidad and we took a right after the bridge. After a while we arrived at El Cubano restaurant where we stopped to cool down with a cold drink. Here we had to pay 10 CUC per person for the entrance to the park which offers a nice walk up to the waterfall. On the way, there are many small natural pools, one rock full of wasp nests, a small farm half way up and a large variety of plants and birds. At one point, hundreds of yellow butterflies were flying around us and we even got to see a hummingbird.
After around 40 minutes we reached the waterfall. There is one men that will check your ticket and give you advise about the swimming pool formed at the base of the waterfall. There are rocks inside which can be really slippery so extra care is needed when you enter. The water depth starts shallow and can reach 9 meters near the base of the waterfall. There is also a cave at the base where you can enter or just jump from the cliffs directly to the water. The water is perfect to cool you down after the hike.
On the way back we took the shortcut through some fields and we reached Trinidad faster than we expected.
Hike to Radio Tower Hill
Our host arranged a private taxi for 3 people directly to the airport for only 35 CUC per person. We found it to be a good bargain since he picked us up at 1 o’clock so we could enjoy another half day in Trinidad instead of going to Havana in the morning and paying another taxi to the airport. Since we had some time to spare until the pick-up, we decided to hike to the radio tower. It was a steep hike and the sun was burning way too hard. There was a guard waiting at the top. He invited us to the roof for a 180 degree view towards the valley and he explained us what plantations, factories and places to visit around the area.
Where to eat
Taberna la Botija
Before going to Cuba we download the Cuba app from Triposo and it didn’t disappoint us. Thanks to this app we found the best restaurant in Cuba. We queued two nights in a row at this restaurant as the food was delicious, the mojitos were perfectly made and the atmosphere and décor was nice. The portions are big so make sure you save some space for the desert.
La Bodiguita del Medio
Last day we were looking for a place to eat because our flight was later in the afternoon but most of the places were closed or they served only drinks. We went to La Bodiquita del Medio – the walls are really cool, all the tourists can write their names on the walls and the band was quite good. On the other hand, the food was really lacking in both taste and quality – I chose the chicken because you can never go wrong with it. Little did I know that they will bring me some boiled chewy chicken without any flavour. The service wasn’t great either so in the end we only tipped the band who made this experience less painful.
- A hat, sun-block and insect repellent are needed if you decide to leave the town – the sun can be extremely hot
- A short hike to the radio tower can offer amazing views
- Take time to get lost on the streets
- Learn some Spanish words before going
- If you haven’t been to Cuba before, go now!
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