Allow me to introduce you to my favorite city in Cuba – Trinidad. I admit, I’m guilty of thinking of Cuba as only Havana. However, Trinidad is full of colonial charm and is one of the best preserved cities in Cuba. It’s a small town and not heavy on sites, but it’s the perfect place to escape from the madness of the big city.
But let me back up a bit and tell you how we got here because it’s another fun transportation story. When we arrived back in Havana from Vinales two days ago, we were dropped off in the city center, not the bus station. Since it wasn’t legal, it makes sense. But that left us without a chance to buy tickets to our next destination. So once again, first thing in the morning, we head to the bus station, hoping to get a couple tickets to Trinidad. And once again, they’ve sold out. Outside, we try to find a shared taxi that is willing to drive us, but this proves to be a long and fruitless endeavor.
After three hours, we think we finally have a taxi who will take 4 of us to Trinidad, and we all hop in. Except he heads directly to Havana city center. What is happening? Why is this always such a confusing process? It turns out, someone has managed to secure a shuttle bus to take everyone to Trinidad (for double the price, of course), but because it’s once again illegal, they can’t load us at the bus station. We’ve all been put into taxis to look legit, and taken to some back alley to get on the other bus, though we aren’t told any of this until we get there. Whatever, I’m just glad to finally be on our way. Fingers crossed we don’t get arrested!
Our first order of business upon arrival in Trinidad is food. 6 hours on the bus with only a quick bathroom stop means we’re ravenous. We head towards the city center keeping an eye out for potential lunch spots, when we come across this flower-covered delight. I don’t care what they serve, I want to sit in this picturesque setting for awhile.
As expected, the food is okay, and unfortunately there are flies everywhere. But it sure is pretty.
After lunch, we’re ready to tackle the Lonely Planet photographic walking tour. Conveniently, it starts with the Church of the Holy Trinity in Plaza Mayor, right next to our lunch spot. The church is closed (as most churches here seem to be), but the exterior is postcard perfect.
Further down the street is San Francisco de Asis with it’s iconic steeple visible from nearly everywhere in the city. It’s possible to climb to the top, but we arrive just as it’s closing.
Continuing down the street takes us to a block of colorful houses. While it makes a beautiful picture, we’re heading into one of the poorer areas of town. The well-kept homes start to fade into more rundown buildings.
You may wonder why Lonely Planet takes you through this area of town. It’s not as scenic as the main tourist drags, and the people seem a little less friendly. But I think it’s important to remember that Cuba isn’t all colorful buildings and lively music. Much of the country is quite poor, and this tour gives you a look into what life is like for many Cubans.
It only takes about 30 minutes to get through, depending on how often you stop for pictures. I didn’t take as many as I would have liked, since I didn’t feel as comfortable taking my camera out.
The loop concludes back at San Fransisco de Asis.
As the sun and the temperatures sink lower, more people come out to enjoy the ambiance.
We make it back to Plaza Mayor just as the sun is setting.
Turns out, there’s wifi here on the steps. As evidenced by everyone on their phones.
A local craft market is just closing up for the night. There are several throughout the town where you can find any assortment of souvenirs you could ever want.
Our casa has a beautiful rooftop deck, perfect for watching the fading light over the town.
Trinidad, it’s only been 8 hours, but I’m already smitten. I can’t wait to explore more tomorrow.