No Spanish-colonial town in Cuba is quite as beguiling as UNESCO-listed Trinidad.
No Spanish-colonial town in Cuba is quite as beguiling as UNESCO-listed Trinidad, whose pastel-hued, terra cotta–roofed buildings lie in the verdant foothills of the Escambray Mountains. Cowboys from the surrounding countryside regularly roam on horseback through the cobblestone streets, past churches and well-preserved colonial mansions financed by the booming sugar cane industry (and slave trade) in the early to mid-1800s.
Beyond the neo-Baroque monuments fronting Plaza Mayor, Trinidad’s beating heart, local residents dance to salsa and son cubano music into the early morning hours. The merrymaking reaches its peak during the annual Fiestas Sanjuaneras, a four-day celebration held around the last weekend of June: expect rodeos, traditional games, and an eye-popping parade of masked revelers and floats that nod to the Afro-Cuban roots of much of Trinidad’s populace.
Located midway down Cuba’s southern coast, Trinidad is a four-hour drive from Havana, which in turn can be reached from Singapore on KLM via Amsterdam; and from Hong Kong on Air Canada via Toronto.
Where to Stay
The adults-only Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad (53-41/996-070; doubles from US$253) occupies a restored colonial building just a 10-minute walk from Plaza Mayor.
The daily antique steam train ride into the Agabama Valley, whose sugar mills and plantations were once the source of Trinidad’s wealth.
This article originally appeared in the June/July 2018 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Caribbean Charisma”).