When walking down the streets of Trinidad your eyes will be drawn to the vibrant blue, yellow and mint-green houses; you will inhale the scent of food being cooked from the many restaurants and homes throughout the area; and you will hear the roar of car engines and barking dogs from the park. It is easy to get lost in the chaos of the streets of this southern Cuban city, but there is too much to enjoy to let all of that commotion distract you. The combination of history, beauty, and culture that is found in Trinidad is unmatched anywhere else, and finding all of the best places to absorb the culture and relish in the beauty of it all can be difficult.
To help steer your journey, here are suggestions for the best way to spend an entire day in Trinidad, including where to enjoy each meal, where to have the most unique experiences, where to cool down, and where to dance the night away.
8:30 a.m. Adita Café
Right near the heart of the city, Adita Café offers a calm and eclectic environment to escape from the busy streets and scorching sun. The only privately-owned restaurant in all of Trinidad that serves breakfast, Adita’s is the perfect local getaway to start your day. Adita’s menu has options for all types of eaters, including coffee and juice drinks, eggs, breakfast sandwiches, and even bacon. Server Yanepsi Quintana said that their most popularly ordered breakfast item is the desayuno continental for 5 CUC’s (around $5). As one of three breakfast plates on the menu, the continental includes fresh fruit; an option of juice, coffee, or tea; toast with butter and jam; and a hotcake and a pastry. “The restaurant as a whole is really unique because we serve everything on the menu all day long, and our food is exquisite,” Quintana boasted.
10 a.m. Zip-lining at El Mirador
After a filling breakfast, you can take a 15-minute taxi ride to the zip-lining outfit El Mirador, located in the Valle de los Ingenios. You can walk right in without a reservation, and 10 CUC’s per person will get you the use of clean, safety-oriented gear and the services of an expert guide through the canopy. They call the excursion a canopy tour as it zooms through the lush green canopies of the valley. With the looming mountains in the distance, soaring through the valley on the zip-line fills you with the sense that you are flying above land steeped in history. The valley has been marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, and is home to the sugarcane plantations which have fueled the region’s economy since the 17th century. This excursion into the valley is the perfect way to absorb the vast culture and beauty of the flora and fauna that surround the area. Canopy tour worker Orlando Xiques said that they get many tourists as well as locals year-round. “Many people come here to do the canopy tour, then sit and have a beer. Many also come to just enjoy the view and watch the activities,” he explained.
12:30 p.m. Cafe Don Pepe
Cooling down with a nice coffee drink is a great way to relax while staying energized for the rest of the day ahead. Café Don Pepe will transport you back to your favorite café back home with displays of local artwork, nature and even years worth of handwriting on the walls. Don Pepe has an extensive menu of coffee drinks, as well as juices and cocktails. Frequent customer Yeny Boada says this is her favorite spot in all of Trinidad. “Any time my friends and I meet, it will always be here,” Boada said. In the summer the café offers mostly cold coffee drinks, with the most recommended being the turquino, for 2 CUC’s, which is frappé coffee, ice cream, cream, and honey. Boada said she loves Don Pepe so much because of how peaceful it is inside. “You are surrounded by trees and in the shade, it is just so calm.”
2 p.m. Lunch and snorkeling at Ancón Beach
You would be remiss to visit Trinidad and not spend time at one of the many breathtaking beaches. Playa Ancón is an easy 20-minute taxi ride, or 45-minute bike ride from the city, and offers the best way to cool down on a hot Cuban day: the sea. The soft sand is covered by many palm-thatched cabanas and there are plenty of people on the beach serving food, drinks, and offering boat excursions. While at the beach you can pay 10 CUC’s for a 90-minute snorkeling adventure to a coral reef lush with sea life. The reef is merely a mile off shore and features a one-of-a-kind view of the mountains. After returning to the beach, you can enjoy a fresh seafood meal on the sand at one of the many restaurants.
7:30 p.m. Dinner at Esquerra
Owner Miguel Esquerra recommends Cuba’s famed ropa vieja de cordero which is a dish of shredded lamb meat for an incredible dinner. Esquerra is in the busiest part of the city, and the building has been there for decades. The restaurant is family owned, and has been open for seven years after Cubans were allowed to privately own restaurants. “Our service is for our clients – our waiters always have a good attitude and the quality of our food is great,” Esquerra said. The menu includes a vast array of creative cocktails, as well as many chicken, seafood, pasta, and lamb dishes. In addition to the delicious food, Esquerra said the restaurant has live music every day and night. “We have two local bands that entertain our guests, Somos Cuba and Aché Son.”
9 p.m. Dancing at Rincón de Salsa
Three doors down from the restaurant is a salsa club named Rincón de Salsa which has live music every night, as well as dance lessons from 4-9 p.m. The club charges a 2-CUC cover fee but will entertain you for the entire night. There is constantly up-beat music playing and locals and tourists alike rippling across the dance floor. The stage is set up under a little tiki hut, and there are tables and couches underneath trees with twinkling lights all around. The club is exactly what you would expect of a salsa club in Cuba, and you will begin to feel as if you are a local.
There is so much to enjoy in this exotic city that it can often be overwhelming. However, if you follow this guide and explore the gorgeous surrounding areas, you will be sure to make the most of your time in Trinidad!
452 B Antonio Maceo
Opening hours: 8 a.m. – midnight daily
Highway to Sancti Spiritus, Kilometer 3
Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Highway to Ancón, kilometer 14
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cafe Don Pepe
363 Calle Boca
Opening hours: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.
464 Francisco Javier Zerquera
Opening hours: 11 a.m. – midnight, or close
Rincón de la Salsa
406 Calle Rosario
Opening hours: Early evening – late