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Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide: A Beautiful Colonial City

Trinidad Cuba Travel Tips

Exploring the Best of Trinidad Cuba

Trinidad, Cuba

Trinidad is Cuba’s best preserved colonial city, a unique mix of 1850’s architecture & 1950’s cars that feels frozen in time. Check out some of my favorite things to do in Trinidad.

Trinidad was one of the first Cuban towns founded by the Spanish, growing wealthy from production of sugar cane, cattle, and tobacco (with the help of African slave labor).

The town’s newfound wealth funded extravagant palaces, plazas, and colonial homes for rich plantation owners.

Much of the architecture remains, one of the best-preserved historic towns in North America, becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Trinidad Cuba has become one of the most popular cities in the country for travelers, outside of Havana of course!

You can walk down cobblestone streets, listen to live music in the plaza, cool off with fresh sugar cane juice, hop into a horse-drawn carriage, chat with locals, or visit fascinating colonial museums spread about town.

Best Things To Do In Trinidad Cuba For 2020

1. Enjoy The Vibe Of Trinidad

Streets of Trinidad

Vintage Taxi in Trinidad

Anna and I spent two days exploring Trinidad with our friends Hannah & Adam from Getting Stamped. Honestly it didn’t feel like we were in town long enough, there’s a lot to see, and Trinidad is bigger than I thought.

It’s certainly a tourist town though — but even with other travelers around, Trinidad doesn’t lose its charm.

Trinidad is a place where new mixes with old to create a jumble of sights, sounds, and smells.

The city has a great laid-back Cuban vibe — I highly recommend getting away from the main square to explore, losing yourself on the fascinating back streets & alleys.

2. Hang Out In Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor, Trinidad Cuba

Church of the Holy Trinity

Plaza Mayor is the heart of Trinidad, a large plaza comprised of raised gardens, walkways, and cobblestoned streets. Historic buildings from the 18th & 19th centuries still surround the plaza.

Many are painted in pastel colors, topped with red terracotta roofs.

The plaza was built back when the region was rich from sugar plantation wealth. Yet you’ll still find the same churches and mansions previously owned by sugar barons — restored and transformed into museums.

Grab a seat on one of the cast-iron benches, enjoy the gardens, and listen to salsa music emanating from the buildings nearby. However because it’s the main tourist area, be wary of local touts trying to sell you stuff.

3. Climb Trinidad’s Bell Tower

Trinidad Church Tower Cuba

Convento de San Francisco de Asis

You’ll notice Convento de San Francisco right away, as you can see the bright yellow bell tower from most parts of town. It’s the most prominent landmark, and a popular postcard photo.

A former convent, it’s now a museum with artifacts from the revolution.

The climb up to the top of the tower is worth the view, and the museum is interesting too. They have some armored vehicles and stuff from the United States invasion.

4. Visit Historical Museums

Trinidad Municipal Museum

Palacio Cantero (Municipal Museum)

The Museo de Arquitectura is located in a 18th century mansion formerly owned by Sanchez Iznaga. Inside you’ll get a glimpse of what these large homes looked like, as well as a 19th-century style bathroom.

Palacio Cantero is another former mansion, now the Municipal Museum. The main attraction is magnificent views of the city offered by its tower.

Palacio Brunet was once the home of the wealthy sugar baron Conde de Brunet, today it houses Museo Romantico, showcasing luxurious items belonging to the family. Like a 1.5 ton marble bathtub!

5. Sample The Cuban Food

Trinidad Cuba Restaurants

Local Cuban Food

Cuban food often gets a bad rap. While I didn’t mind it so much, it’s definitely not as spicy & flavorful as Mexican cuisine. Lots of rice, beans, yuca, and meat on the bland side.

You can buy basic meals at restaurants in Trinidad for between $5-10.

While you might not write home about the food, Cuba excels in coffee, rum drinks, and sugar cane juice. Make sure to visit the La Canchánchara mansion for their special cocktail made of rum, honey, lemon, and water.

6. Playa Ancon Beach

Ancon Beach near Trinidad

Relaxing on Cuban Beaches

Playa Ancon is a beautiful white-sand beach only 6 miles away from Trinidad. For only $5-10 CUC you can catch a vintage taxi and spend the afternoon there.

For the more adventurous, rent a bicycle pedal over on your own, which takes about an hour. Cuba’s beaches aren’t very crowded, and the turquoise water is crystal clear.

Grab an icy cocktail and get some sun, or if you’re a scuba diver, there’s a dive shop at Playa Ancon from Marina Blanca, directly across the road from Hotel Ancon.

7. Wander The Streets

Trinidad Local Neighborhood

Exploring Trinidad’s Neighborhoods

Trinidad has an older “city center” area around Plaza Mayor where most of the historic buildings and attractions are located. It’s a pedestrian walking area, no cars are allowed. Most tourists tend to stick around Plaza Mayor.

But taking a long walk down some of Trinidad’s side streets until you get completely lost is one of my favorite things to do. You’ll get a glimpse of what life in Trinidad truly looks like.

Locals often gather on doorsteps and street curbs, hiding from the relentless sun. You may see games of dominoes, deep conversations, bird cages hanging from porches. Don’t be afraid to say hello — and ask some questions too. Most people will be happy to chat!

8. Dance To Traditional Music

Casa de Musica Trinidad

Sunset From Casa de Musica

Every night around 7pm locals and tourists alike will dance salsa at the open-air Casa de Musica. Order a cocktail and sit down to watch from the wide stone staircase as the sun sets, soaking up the atmosphere.

The steps are one of Trinidad’s few public wifi hotspots, so you’ll see plenty of people on their smartphones for a quick Facebook or Instagram fix.

Music is a big part of Cuban life, especially in Trinidad. Musicians set up on street corners, public parks, or inside restaurants. There’s even a cool nightclub called Disco Ayala that set inside a natural cave!

9. Go Horseback Riding

Trinidad Cuba Horseback Riding

Riding Horses in Trinidad

When Anna and I wanted to go horseback riding, we just asked the first guy we came across. “No problem!” he said. His friend owns horses and can take us into the mountains for a few hours.

Cuban cowboys were frequently riding their horses down Trinidad’s streets, so we knew it wouldn’t be difficult.

Jesus, our guide, led us out of town past Cuban tobacco farms and up into the dry hills behind Trinidad. We made our way through a forest, eventually arriving at a swimming hole to cool off from the day’s heat.

10. Topes De Collantes National Park

Topes de Collantes Nature Park

Hiking to Vegas Grandes Waterfall

The Sierra del Escambray Mountains are Cuba’s 2nd largest mountain range. It was here some CIA sponsored anti-Castro “bandits” hid in the mountains and fought to try and take back the new socialist government.

The Escambrays are home to Topes De Collantes National Park, a beautiful nature reserve where you can go hiking, horseback riding, visit numerous waterfalls, or relax with a scenic picnic.

The drive into the mountains is pretty steep, but we still managed with our rental car. After stopping at the visitor’s center, we hiked to a stunning blue waterfall & swimming hole called Vegas Grandes. The hike took 2 hours round trip.

11. Valle De Los Ingenios

Valle De Los Ingenios Trinidad

Rural Cuban Farm Home

Trinidad was one of the most prosperous cities in Cuba due to enormous sugar production in the nearby Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) which still has some working sugar mills/fields.

The region once housed 50 sugar mills and 30,000 slaves to work the fields. During the 18th and 19th centuries this valley was the sugar producing capital of the world.

Don’t miss the Manaca Iznaga Plantation if you visit the valley, where you can see the remains of the plantation’s main house, a huge tower, and the old slave quarters. You can even ride a classic steam train into the valley from Trinidad.

Trinidad taxi by horse

Horse-Cart Taxi in Trinidad

Trinidad Donkey Man

Trinidad’s Famous Donkey Man…

Getting To Trinidad

Trinidad is located in South Central Cuba, a 5-hour drive from Havana by car. With our rental car, we took a longer route through Playa Giron, a nice way to break up the trip and go scuba diving at the famous Bay Of Pigs.

By bus, it’s a 7 hour trip from Havana and costs $25 USD/CUC. The Viazul Bus terminal in Havana is located at the corner of Avenida 26 and Avenida Zoologico. You often have to buy tickets at the station one day in advance.

You can rent your own vintage 1950’s taxi (with driver) for about $100-$120 per day, or share a taxi with other travelers and split the cost. Just keep in mind these old cars break down from time to time.

Casa Particular Trinidad Cuba

Hostal Vidal (Casa Particular)

Where To Stay In Trinidad

We based ourselves in Trinidad Cuba for 2 nights at Hostal Vidal, located across from the bus station (there’s no website). Here are some other recommendations for places to stay in Trinidad.

Best Accommodation In Trinidad

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Hostal Dona Antonia

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Hotel E La Calesa

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Iberostar Grand Hotel

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Have you ever considered short-term apartment rentals? It’s a great way to save money! Click here to learn how to get $35 off your first booking.[/su_note]

Streets of Trinidad

Cobblestoned Streets & Old Cars

Trinidad Travel Tips & Advice

  • Because Trinidad is part of Cuba’s tourist trail, you won’t be able to escape the Jineteros, or hustlers. While they aren’t nearly as bad as they are in Havana, they’re around.
  • Everyone and their grandmother is trying to sell you something. Taxi rides, cigars, casas particulares, bicycles for rent, or they want to show you a great restaurant their cousin owns.
  • Don’t lose your cool. Be nice, but firm, and say no thanks. You really can’t blame them for trying — Cubans don’t have many options for earning extra money — their government salary is about $30 per MONTH.
  • Independent travel in Cuba is raw, challenging, and refreshing, but the hustlers can be annoying sometimes too.

TRAVEL VIDEO: Exploring The Best Of Cuba

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(Click to watch BEST OF CUBA | Havana, Vinales, Trinidad on YouTube)

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Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip.

Book Your Flight

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Cheap Accommodation

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Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read why you should always carry travel insurance.

Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Cuba
Suggested Reading: The Other Side Of Paradise

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Things to do in Trinidad, Cuba. More at
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I hope you enjoyed my guide on what to do in Trinidad, Cuba! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Have any questions about visiting Trinidad Cuba? Are you planning to travel there soon? Drop me a message in the comments below!


Saturday 8th of December 2018

Trinidad is really awesome! Did you try coche colonial? It's a horse carriage that takes you around the city. Another thing we tried was the beach - Playa Ancon was nice and not crowded in July, although you don't recommend it.

Jackie M

Friday 13th of July 2018

Hi, Really enjoyed your post. We are planning on doing a similar trip -- 2 nights in Havana, a night in Playa Giron for scuba, and then based on your post 3 nights in Trinidad then back to Havana. Trying to decide if we should rent a car or hire taxis. I've heard that it can be difficult to drive in Cuba given the poor road quality and lack of signage -- did you find that to be the case? Aklso how much did the rental car cost? We are considering just hiring taxis and splitting the costs (there are 4 of us total) but is it difficult to find taxis to go all of those places? What would you recommend?

Also do you suggest that we go anywhere else? We have some flexibility on how many nights we will be in Cuba total (6 to 8 nights).


Susan O'Callaghan

Monday 9th of July 2018

Your right two days in Trinidad is just not enough. The best time to explore the historic centre is early in the morning or after 5pm, as it’s nice and quiet then. Outside the main drag around Plaza Mayor, you can loose the tourist crowds and the touts they attract. You will be rewarded with a glimpse of everyday Cuban life - a game of Dominos, the baseball stadium, the large Saturday Morning Market, the Agro Growers, the endless Punta de Ventas, Pizza and Cafeterias operating from local’s homes. Go a little further and you will find 13 beaches, many great for snorkeling and by staying away from the touristy Playa Ancon, you can find a nice quiet beach for yourself. Try the new zipline canopy ride at the mirador (viewpoint). During the spring and summer wander out to the thousands of mango trees just outside the city, locals will be offering mangos by the bucket, literally. The Escambray mountains are huge and there’s plenty of local coffee Farmers to meet or find a small waterfall. In the summer, when it’s really hot, you can get a day ticket to the hotels with pools, for $7cuc it includes admission, food and drinks. Las Cuevas gives you a view over the City and the Caribbean Sea, in Ma Dolores, it’s really tranquil in the foothills of the Escambray mountains, on the way to the El Cubano National park. The city has it’s carnival the last weekend in June and the local ‘cowboys’ ride their horses furiously up and down St Ana Street. The second week in January is the city’s birthday and culture week, with lot’s of free entertainment.

For budget Casa Particulares look to pay $20-25cuc per room per night. A large room can accommodate up to 4 travelers. Most places in Trinidad are no more than a 10 min walk, so you don’t need to pay the high prices demanded by the big casas around the terminal and Plaza Mayor. With around 2,000 casa particulares in the city, the two fishing villages and Topes de Collantes, there’s plenty to choose from.

I’ve lived here for the last 4 years, lead local tours and run a Vegan / Veggie Casa (On TA and Airbnb).


Friday 16th of March 2018

Hi, can you tell me about the beach not far from Trinidad, is it worth the trip sand flies etc? Also where would be ideal to go from Trinidad to work our way up to the west coast. We will be in trinidad for 2/3 nights then have 2/3 nights to get to the west coast.

Leslie Wiliams

Saturday 27th of January 2018

We just returned from Cuba and fell in love with Trinidad. We went on a hike that had 360 view of the ocean, went to a nearby beach (Play del Este) and enjoyed the restaurants, nightclubs and the quaintness of this little town. We stayed at an amazing "casa particular" (like a bed and breakfast) called 3 Torres. The owners a couple of doctors were amazing, Noel and Yaimara, and their grandmother (a character!). They serve you breakfast on the terrace and help you with anything you need (even medical advice in case you get sick). They are not on Airbnb, but I got pictures if anybody is interested.


Tuesday 26th of June 2018

Would love to know about them! Please send me information so I can contact them.

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