Trinidad is Unmatched for Colonial Charm

Trinidad, is on Cuba’s southern coast, in Sancti Spiritus Province. It is a town where time seems to have stopped in  mid 1800’s. Buildings range from charming to spectacular. All the homes and buildings are appealing with their  muted pastel colors, clay-tiled roofs, all connected by narrow, sloping  cobblestone streets. Being on a hillside with a central plaza gives lots of gorgeous views.

It is the second most (next to Havana) historic city in Cuba. Also like Havana, Trinidad has a UNESCO recognized Old Town. This town is known for its brightly colored homes, pedestrian-only (people or horse carts) cobblestone streets.

Trinidad, Cuba
Trinidad is one of the best preserved Colonial towns in all of the Americas. It is like stepping back to mid 19th century. Sugar plantation riches built this city too. Most of the big museums and public buildings were once the mansions of the sugar plantation owners.
This town is hot and humid, even for Cuba. The only way to make the homes bearable in the heat back then was to encourage air circulation. Tall ceilings helped air flow, as did tall windows;  almost from floor to ceiling is common. It’s often difficult to tell the doors from the windows, but the windows have wood grills or louvers.
Old Town Trinidad is better preserved than the Habana Vieja. Another difference in the two cities though is the building facades. Old Havana’s unifying feature is its stone column facades of the old buildings: stone columns with stone or wrought iron balconies. Trinidad however, uses a lot of wood. Wood ceilings are common, but so are wood grills and wood louvers on most of the larger buildings. All this exterior wood is not seen in Old Havana.
The city’s 500th birthday was in 2014, so it got additional sprucing up then.

Playa Ancon, south of Trinidad
Playa Ancon, south of Trinidad

All of Cuba feels like an outdoor art exhibit, but Trinidad is even more so. It has two nicknames: the photographic jewel; and the outdoor museum. It is so well-preserved and colorful that postcard scenes are everywhere.
Trinidad is built on the side of a hill, so it has sloping cobblestone streets. Even the town square had to be designed for the slope. You will find more tourists in the square than locals though during the day. The royal palms don’t provide much shade so the locals don’t come to the square until evening.
The back drop is the Sierra del Escambray, a mountain range about 10 miles to the north. A few miles south is the south coast’s most beautiful beach, Playa Ancon.

Old Town, Trinidad

In Old Town, Plaza Mayor has the central spot; a relaxing plaza surrounded by impressive buildings. Every plaza has its church., this one is the Iglesia Parroquia de la Santisima Trinidad. It is onis on more Trinidad postcards than any other site. Its altar has the 1713 Christ of the true Cross.
Also on the plaza is Museo Romantico (who wouldn’t want to see a museum with that name). It was once a mansion, but converted to a museum with 1800’s furnishings. The view of the city is awesome from upstairs. Trinidad has a lot of museums; the Museo Historico Municipal on the plaza is the show piece. Another sugar estate mansion, converted to a museum.
Maqueta de Trinidad has a scale model of Trinidad, done in amazing detail, similar to the scale model of Havana.
For a weird experience see Disco Ayala, a nightclub in a huge cave.
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Disco Ayala, Trinidas
Disco Ayala