Trinidad was just what we needed after Havana. It is a Unesco world heritage site and is referred to as Cuba’s colonial jewel; a small town of churches, mansions, and pretty colonial buildings located in a valley between the sea and mountains. Today many of the houses have been restored as casa particulares (private hotels) and paladares (private restaurants). Many of the mansions are now museums.
After all the touts that bugged us in Havana, Lissette had told me that she was getting fed up with the pestering and that I would have to “step up”. So when we got off the bus in Trinidad I wasn’t going to let anyone bother us. A young guy trying to rent us a room got it from me when he asked us where we were staying. “That’s none of your business” I told him. That shut him up and quietened the other touts milling around. I felt bad. Most people think I’m mean because I’ve got the Germanic look going on but the truth is that I’m easy going and will put up with a lot. It’s sweet-looking Lissette that gets fed up with unwanted attention. So when I get short with people, tell them to get out of my face or out of our way, well, that’s usually because of Lissette. It actually became a bit of a joke this time; a few days later, Addys (who ran our guesthouse) laughingly asked us if we were the people who had told her nephew to mind his own business. Lissette told her yes, that it was because of her. Addys seemed to find that funny.
We stayed 5 days in Trinidad and spent most of it just relaxing, walking around, visiting the museums, or just reading on the deck of our casa (more on that later). The best museums in order: 1) Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Banditos – details the revolution and the motives behind it. Great views from the tower over the town and surrounding countryside. 2) Museo Romantico – a mansions owned by a rich family. Nice views from the windows overlooking the main square (Plaza Major) and interesting to see how rich families lived. 3) Museo Historico Municipal – another mansion. Not a very well laid out museum though and I would not recommend except for views from its tower.
Our highlight however was staying in our first casa particular. Hostal Dr. Suarez y Senora Addys is run by a wonderful couple, Jose (who is a local doctor) and his wife Addys. They were fantastically warm and friendly and we had interesting chats with them on Trinidad, Cuba, and Caribbean life in general. In addition to our room (complete with private bathroom, minibar, and AC) we had a deck overlooking the town where Addy would serve us breakfast and supper. We feel that staying in a casa is the absolute best way to get to know people and get insights on Cuba. I totally recommend this casa (Cost: 30 CUC night, 4 CUC breakfast, 10 CUC supper – lodging and food over 5 days came out to an average of 60 CUC a day for 2 people which is a good deal in Cuba).
Lissette’s Tripadvisor review of Hostal Dr. Suarez y Sra Addys:
Forget about staying anywhere else. This is it. From the moment you walk in you will be welcomed with big smiles and a great Mango drink. I wasn’t sure that I would like the concept of the casa. I thought a Cuban version of a B&B where your are forced to chat about cats and the weather and worse be fed runny eggs & stale bread. None of that here. Dr Suarez Y Sra Addys are there when you need them and they never impose. The food is great so don’t bother eating out! I really felt I was home. It’s also nice to know there’s a GP in the house.
Above: view from guesthouse balcony
Above: I think I had too much rum and let Lissette get away with one. Isn’t “Baren” spelled with two “R”s?
There are many things to do around Trinidad including 1) going to the beach, 2) hiking in the nearby mountains which have waterfalls that you can bathe in 3) going to the nearby Valle de los ingenios (the location of the sugar mills that made Trinidad rich). Unfortunately heavy rains and some tummy problems limited us to doing nothing but taking it easy.
Getting to Trinidad: 5 hour bus ride from Havana. 25 CUC each, well organized, comfortable with bathroom stops along the way.