Trinidad, located in the central Cuban province of Sancti Spíritus, was founded in 1514 and remains one of the best-preserved cities in the Caribbean. It has an area of 446 square miles and a population of 73,466 according to 2004 census data. Trinidad is divided into barrios (quarters) named Primero, Segundo and Tercero. The town witnesses the highest number of visitors in August.
Formerly a Spanish colonial settlement, Trinidad is popularly known as “Museum City” for its Spanish colonial architecture, cobblestone streets brimming with leather-faced guajiros, colonial-era edifices such as the Santísima Trinidad Cathedral and Convento de San Francisco, and pastel coloured houses with wrought-iron grilles. Along with the neighbouring Valle de los Ingenios, Trinidad has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.
In the 18th and early 19th century, the city amassed its fortune in the sugar trade. Valle de los Ingenios, or the Valley of the Sugar Mills has about 70 historic sugar mills and is a World Heritage Site at present. Trinidad’s success in the sugar trade is evident in the form of colonial mansions adorned with Wedgwood china, French chandeliers and Italian frescos. Currently, the economy of Trinidad is dependent on the tobacco industry.
Trinidad has a very active nightlife. There are several casas de musica, famous for their live salsa bands, and discotheques such as Disco Ayala, which is located in a cave. The music of Trinidad, teeming with Spanish guitar, African drums and percussion instruments, is a feast for the ears.
Topes de Collantes, one of Cuba’s famous ecotourism centres is located about 12 miles from Trinidad. Casilda Bay, famous among snorkelers and divers, the lush Escambray Mountains replete with waterfalls and hiking trails, and Playa Ancón, the best beach on the southern coast of Cuba, are also nearby. The nearby Salto del Caburni and El Nicho waterfalls are highly recommended by locals.
Every moment spent in Trinidad, be it strolling through Plaza Mayor, visiting the Palacio Cantero, hiking to the top of the Radio Tower Hill, horseback riding or horse whispering, you’ll feel like you travelled back in time to the 1850s.