03 Feb 2018 Complete Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide 2018
When traveling to Cuba and deciding on what cities to visit, a few nights in Trinidad Cuba should be a must. Trinidad is Cuba’s best-preserved colonial town, with the old part of Trinidad being a UNESCO heritage site since 1988. Trinidad, like most colonial towns, is gorgeous with brightly colored buildings and cobblestone streets.
Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide 2018
Where is Trinidad Cuba?
- 4 hours/315km from Havana
- 4 hours/265km from Varadero
- 15 minutes/11km from Playa Ancon
- 85 minutes/120 km from Cienfuegos
How To Get To Trinidad?
You can get to Trinidad several different ways: bus, taxi, or rent a car.
Trinidad by Bus: There are buses that head to Trinidad daily from most main cities in Cuba. Make sure to book your bus ticket at least a day in advance, the buses frequently sell out a day in advance. You can book your tickets online here, but prices were cheaper at the bus stations.The Havana bus station is called the Viazul bus terminal which is located at the corner of Avenida 26 and Avenida Zoologico. See map here for Viazul bus station in Havana
Currently, buses run to Trinidad from several cities in Cuba:
- Havana to Trinidad: ($25USD/CUC) – 7:00, 10:45, 14:15 (6 hour & 50 min)
- Vinales to Trinidad: ($37USD/CUC) – 6:45 (9 hours & 30 min)
- Varadero to Trinidad: ($20USD/CUC) – 7:00 (6 hours & 25 min)
- Cienfuegos to Trinidad: ($6) – 12:15, 14:40, 15:15, 18:00 (1 hour & 35 min)
There are more routes than this, please check current bus schedules at Viazul
By Taxi: If you’re traveling with a few people you may want to ask a local taxi driver their fare to Trinidad Cuba, we heard prices of $160 CUC. We were a group of four and we took a local taxi from Havana to Vinales for the same price it would have cost us for four bus tickets and a taxi to the bus station. If you take a private taxi, then you’re on your schedule and you can stop along the way for photos. With the big old American cars in Cuba, you can easily fit a group of four comfortably along with a driver.
By Car: We rented a car and drove ourselves to Trinidad, Cubac which is a great option if traveling with others or your budget isn’t a concern.There were so many things to do in Cuba we wanted the freedom of having a car. Our rental car was $85 a day with insurance, and we picked it up right at the Havana airport. Booking a car rental in Cuba was not easy, make sure to book a car several weeks, if not months in advance online. The odds of a car being available for rent without a reservation at the Havana airport are not good. The drive to Trinidad from Havana was easy, the roads weren’t in the best condition, but we felt safe and had no problems finding Trinidad.
Travel tip: When on wifi get directions on google maps, the GPS and map will still work offline. You may not get voice directions, but you can follow your position on the map. This can be a big help whenever traveling without an internet connection.
Make sure to check out our Americans traveling to Cuba guide
Things To Do In Trinidad Cuba
There are tons of things to do in Trinidad, we’d suggest staying at least two nights and possibly longer if your Cuba travel plans allow. Once you are here you’ll know why we suggest longer here. There is easily enough in Trinidad to fill 5 days to a week in Trinidad. Here are our top things to do in Trinidad.
1. Stroll Through Plaza Mayor
The Plaza Mayor is the heart of Trinidad. Like many Spanish colonial cities, the plaza is the center of the city with green spaces and stunning churches. There are many restaurants that fill the buildings surrounding the square, making it a great place to start your adventure.
2. Palacio Cantero (Museo Historico Municipal)
For the best views in Trinidad, head to the very top of the tower inside the Historical Museum. Make your way up the twisting spiral staircases to the top of the tower. From here is where you can get the quintessential picture of Trinidad and the beautiful yellow bell tower with the mountains in the background. On the ground floor, there are a number of historical items from the city’s past.
- Cost: Free
- Location: see map of Viewpoint Tower
3. Get Lost Exploring The Beautiful Town
Trinidad is a small town that would be hard to truly get lost in, so wander down the side streets and take in all of the city’s charm. Trinidad is painted in bright yellows, blues, and pinks. Wander down the small alleys for great pictures of vintage American cars surrounded by the beautiful colonial architecture.
4. Spend A Day At The Beach Near Trinidad – Playa Ancon
Just 15-minutes from Trinidad lies a nice beach on the southern shores of Cuba. Day trips or local taxis can be arranged in town to visit the beach. If you like beaches we also suggest Playa Jibacoa on the other coast.
Taxi Cost: $10-$15 each way
5. Visit Topes de Collantes Natural Park
Just outside Trinidad sits a massive nature preserve, Topes de Collantes. The park is full of hiking opportunities and waterfalls to explore. From Trinidad, you can visit the park by horse or there are large 4×4 vehicles that take tourists into the park to the various waterfalls. Tours can be arranged through locals in town, or take one of the big old Russian Trucks through the park with Cubatur. Read Trip Advisor reviews on the trips.
6. Hike To The Top Of The Radio Tower Hill
The best views of the countryside outside of Trinidad can be found from the radio tower. From high on the hill you can see Trinidad and the sugar plantations in the nearby Valle de los Ingenios. At the top, there is a man who watches over the tower and he is eager to show you around and bring you to places you probably shouldn’t with the hopes of a tip. In case, you didn’t bring enough to drink he has you covered there too with water and soft drinks to buy, at an inflated price of course. From the Radio tower hike, you aren’t able to get very clear views of the city, but it was a relatively easy 30-minute hike each way. The hike is best done early in the morning before the daytime temperatures rise and the light isn’t as harsh for pictures.
7. Visit The Waterfalls Near Trinidad
Within an hour drive of Trinidad, there are hundreds of waterfalls ready to be explored. Salto del Caburni 75m waterfall is one of the most popular and is often highly recommended by locals and many tours run here. The most impressive falls are El Nicho waterfalls, with several layers of cascading water. However, El Nicho is one of the most difficult to reach and generally requires a 4×4. Pictured above is Vegas Grande, one of the most picturesque waterfalls around Trinidad, Cuba.
A post is coming soon for more information on Hiking near Trinidad and for more information and pictures of Vegas Grande Waterfalls near Trinidad.
8. Valle de Los Ingenios
Further down the valley from Trinidad is the Valle de Los Ingenios, or valley of the sugar mills. This is the heart of the sugar industry in the 18th and 19th century in Cuba, farmed by 30,000 slaves. Sugar is still grown here and makes for a nice peaceful day trip from Trinidad.
9. Horseback Riding
The lush green area around Trinidad is a great place to ride for an afternoon. Leave the city and explore the vast nature preserves around Trinidad.
10. Hiking Near Trinidad
The city has very close access to Topes de Collantes Natural Park which is home to some great hikes and some of Cuba’s best waterfalls. The information online is very scarce about hiking in the park, but there is a visitors center inside the park with good detailed information on the hikes and waterfalls close to Trinidad.
11. Visit Tobacco Fields Near Trinidad
Although Trinidad is not the main tobacco growing region, like most places in Cuba you can still find some tobacco fields near Trinidad. Just ask around, or look for the tobacco drying barns which are easy to spot with their quintessential shape. Also note, if you are looking for Cuban cigars in Trinidad, they are simply called tobacco, not cigars (same in all of Cuba). There is a popular brand of cigars with the same name as the city, but the factory is in the west along with the rest of major tobacco production, and not in Trinidad.
Where To Stay In Trinidad
The most common accommodation in Cuba is casa particulares, they are private homestays very similar to bed and breakfasts. Here you’ll stay in a local Cuban’s house have your own room, private bath, air conditioning, hot water, and typically home cooked Cuban meals can be provided for $4-10.
There is no need to book accommodation in Trinidad Cuba in advance, if you arrive by bus at the bus station tons of locals will be there with pictures of rooms they have for rent in their casas. We drove around Trinidad and looked at a few before settling on a room in the old part of Trinidad for $30 a night.
On average most casa particulares in Cuba are $25-35 a night
If you prefer to have your accommodation arranged before traveling to Trinidad we suggest looking at Airbnb. There are over 300+ Airbnb’s in Trinidad, click here to book and get a $35 Airbnb travel credit
There are a few hotels in Trinidad as well, the Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad is centrally located and the #1 hotel in Trinidad Cuba on Trip Advisor. More and more hotels will be available as tourism in Cuba increases.
Where To Eat
There are tons of restaurants for tourists and local Cuban cafeterias. Enjoying a home cooked meal in Cuban casa particulares is a must for at least one meal while traveling in Cuba. Some of our favorite restaurants in Trinidad are:
- Palador Sol y Son Authentic Cuban food in a gorgeous old colonial house filled with antiques where you dine in the outside courtyard. Located a few blocks from Plaza Mayor, address: Simon Bolivar #283 between Jose Marti & Frank Pais Read Trip Advisor reviews
Restaurante San Jose is not only the #1 restaurant on Tripadvisor in Trinidad but also super cheap: sandwichs $2.50+, pizza $3+, local beers $1.50, chicken $4.50+, etc. Located a few blocks from Playa Mayor, Address: Maceo #382 between Colon & Smith Read Trip Advisor reviews
Nightlife In Trinidad Cuba
Nightlife in Trinidad Cuba has something for everyone. For those on a budget, you could always pick up a bottle of Havana rum and make your own drinks and people watch from Plaza Mayor or scope out cheap mojitos at a local restaurant or bar. However, if you’re looking for a night out in Trinidad, head to Disco Ayala or Casa de La musica are the best nightlife spots in Trinidad.
Disco Ayala – Trinidad, Cuba
Head to Disco Ayala a club literally inside of a cave! Disco Ayala is definitely the best nightlife in Trinidad, open 7 days a week. Around 1 am every night they have a show with fire dancers and acrobats. There are limited tables so get there early to secure one. Don’t show up much before 11 pm, we showed up at 12 am and there was a line about 20 people long. The cover charge is 5 CUC and includes one beverage. No bags are allowed, you will have to check them at the door. Inside the cave, there are 5 dance floors and 3 bars.
Strange fact: The club is named after Carlos ‘Coco’ Ayala, a serial killer who abducted children, took them to a cave and killed them.
Most locals will know where Disco Ayala or cave club is, they will point you in the right direction. At night, the walk does seem a little sketchy, and it’s up a hill. Follow Calle Simón Bolívar from Plaza Mayor up to the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de la Popa. The cave club is at the top of the hill on the left, there will be locals selling cocktails from carts along the way, pick up a drink while you wait in line.
Casa de La Musica
Located right in Plaza Mayor in Old Town Trinidad you can’t miss the Casa de la musica. Every evening in Trinidad Plaza Mayor, right next to the cathedral they have a live salsa band. Just sit on the steps next to the cathedral enjoy the free music from the Casa de la musica while using the Wifi hotspot and even have a mojito delivered to you by a local bar. There is a cover charge of 1 CUC to go inside Casa de la Musica.
Wifi In Trinidad Cuba
Wifi in Cuba can be difficult to find at times, but in Trinidad, they have a wifi hotspot right in Plaza Mayor. The wifi even reaches a few restaurants in the square, so you can surf the internet and grab a drink/meal. Wifi cards can be purchased throughout town but the best prices were at the ETSCA booths or from the tourist info center, they were $2 an hour. Most hotels have internet cards for purchase also but will charge as much as $6 per hour card.
Additional Cuba Travel Guide to help plan your trip to Cuba.