When the sugar mills of the Valle de Los Ingenios ceased producing profits in the mid 19th century, Trinidad became an dark provincial town. Its inhabitants had no choice but to keep, their sumptuous belongings, including wooden balustrades, stylish furniture and the elegant architecture of their homes. Touring the city today is a journey back on 19th century paved cobble stone streets to glimpse the physiognomy from the 18th century in its buildings. Restoration work has further pronounced this time warp by repairing the murals, which embellished palaces and mansions.
This museum is located in the former convent and church of San Francisco de Asís, built in 1770 and finished in 1913. During the first decades of the 20th century it was demolished and only its tower remained. It was later rebuilt as it appears today. In 1986 the convent became the "Museum of the Struggle against Bandits". Documents, photos, maps, weapons and belongings of the main participants in these battles are exhibited here
There is an old steam train to Ignaza that leaves about 9 a.m. (when it runs.) It used to haul sugar cane to market, but now it is just a tourist train. They have to start up the boilers about 4 a.m. to get it ready for the morning trip. Our guide said it was running the day we went, but when we got to the train station, it had broken down and we had a regular engine for our one-hour trip.
We didn't have a steam engine in front, but it was still quite an adventure. The seats in the passenger compartment were closely packed rows of folding chairs! Some of us near the front of the car got to sit in the engineer’s chair for a picture before we departed.
We saw a few small villages and passed some cleared fields, but in many places the vegetation was so thick it looked like a jungle. We also saw quite a few vultures flying overhead.
You purchase a ticket at the train station and then wait on the platform. When the train comes, jump on and grab the folding chair of your choice. It will probably be crowded, and seats aren't reserved.
Note: we were on a tour and our bus picked us up in Ignaza, so I don't know the return time of the train.
The Parque Central has the hotel on one side, the church opposite, and the city hall on the third side. The remaining side has a row of small shops.
This is my idea of a nice city park! Shade, benches, roller-skating children, and even a pushcart. I enjoyed sitting on a bench and watching it all. On the side of the park by the little church, a guy with a pushcart was selling pork sandwiches (with a side of flies), and men were sitting in front of the shops playing musical instruments
You may even encounter nice old man named Luis who wants to know where you are from. He isn't selling anything--he is interested in geography! When we gave him our home states, he whipped out a notebook (one of many in his dufflebag) and told us everything he knew about it He wanted to know whatever we could tell him, but my poor Spanish wasn't up to more than basic information. Chance encounters like this are a lot of fun, and hanging around the park makes them possible.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral, constructed in the 19th Century, is the largest church in Cuba. The interior is very beautiful--There are 14 altars, and Stations of the Cross at intervals around the room.
A 1713 statue of Christ in one of the altars was intended for a church in Mexico, but each time they tried to ship it from its stopover in Cuba, a bad storm prevented it. After several tries, they decided He wanted to stay here so they kept the statue.
This "museum" contains a Santería altar to Yemayá, Goddess of the Sea along with offerings of fruit, water etc.. Supposedly the house is presided over by santeros (Santería priests). However, I didn't see any while I was there. Perhaps they were on their lunch break. :-)
We...an acquaintance [made during the tour] stumbled across this photo exhibit in a building at the foot of the Plaza Major in a yellow building that was originally the House of Mayor Ortiz (Casa de Aldemán Ortiz)...This building was built in 1809 by Ortiz de Zúníga, who at one time became Mayor of Trinidad. The house shows many of the typical features of Trinidadian houses, especially the large entrance door with two smaller doors cut into it, the barrotes covering the large windows and a terracotta tiled roof with large wooden supports. What attracted me to the building was the brilliant yellow color of the building and once I ventured inside I couldn't help but notice the doorways...JUST what I LOVE...old and somewhat textured with slightly peeling paint..if you've looked at any of my pages form Northern Italy and Innsbruck you might know that I have a thing for OLD and cultured doorways...
Anyhow what Julie and I discovered was a great little photo exhibit of Cuban faces and people...photographed by a Canadian Photographer from Montreal named Richard...his photos line the walls of this rather large room with beautiful high ceilings..
As our time at this point was REALLLLY rushed....we didn't ...couldn't miss our bus departure...we managed a quick look around...and were off to meet the bus!!
Check this out though if and when you're in town wandering about...
One more tip that may surprise people that know me.
If you have the chance to have a walk around Trinidad on a sunday morning, try to look for a church or, even better, follow the direction of the music.We could not understand why and where so many people were singing untill we arrived in front of a church, we entered and saw lots of people enjoying their religious celebration singing and clapping their hands, very different from the boring italian celebration.
Walking for about an hour, you can reach a gorgeous place, with a green water lagoon where you can swim and get the sun: this is Topes de Collantes. Remember to recovery your force: the come-back is up-hill!
If you want to go to the beach, playa Ancòn is very nice... staying in Trinidad you can reach both places.
Museo Romantico is a great museum with authentic antiques and furniture on display in a gorgeous 1800's colonial mansion. It's a very worthwhile museum to see, but especially if you like looking at antiques, pretty ornaments and beautiful handmade furniture as these are really the main attractions.
There is very little to be read in the museum. If you are interested in knowing the history or origin of the pieces, it is best to get a guide. Ours only spoke Spanish, but since I speak a tiny bit she made a wonderful effort to help me understand what she was describing, and I picked up on most of the history. The house was owned by a wealthy sugar-trading family, the Conde de Brunets, in the 1800's. As we understood, most of the beautiful treasures in the house were received from foreign families illegally in exchange for sugar. You can take a look at an 1830's bathroom, kitchen, mens and ladies rooms, and a 1-ton marble bathtub.
If you've always wanted to know what it would be like to be ridiculously rich and have a lot of nice things from around the world, something very few Cubans in the 1800's had an opportunity to do, then take about an hour and check it out.
It’s a national park about 20 KM north of Trinidad… it has more than five different hiking paths finishing at different waterfalls. Nothing huge like Niagara or Iguaçu, but lovely… beautiful places!!
The only way to get to Topes is by car… if you don’t have one, you can hire a taxi to take you there. They charge you 25 CUC to take you to the first two or three entrances of those paths… the further you want to get, the more you’ll have to pay.
My suggestion… don’t try to go to more than two waterfalls in one day, you probably won’t have the time and/or the strength to do it.
Ah… I almost forget, you have to pay 6.50 CUC to get into the park… yeah, I know… it’s Cuba, if they could charge for the oxygen you breath… they’d do it!
The museum itself is very small and doesn’t have much stuff to see… it about the fight the ‘revolución’ held after it succeed, against a few troops remaining from the Batista’s army (they were called the ‘anti revolución’, the ‘bandidos’)… They were hidden around the Escambray mountains, so they gave the revolution quite a hard time to get rid of them.
What I loved about the building was the beautiful view from the tower! You can see the sea with the bay and port of Ancón… and to the opposite direction the mighty Escambray hills!
In order to get in, you’ll have to pay 1 CUC.
It’s about 8 to 10 KM from Trinidad’s ‘centro’… a lovely beach with a few big hotels around, beach restaurants and bars. It’s quite touristy…
If you are somehow short of time, don’t bother. Locals will always say that after Varadero… this is the best beach in Cuba. BS! It’s just another beach… it’s nice, but there are much better options.
The Museo Romantico, located at the Plaza Mayor, has a great exhibition of romantic-style porcelain, glass, paintings and ornate furniture, which belonged to the Conde de Brunet family, dating from 1830 and 1860.
Great views of the Plaza Mayor and the cathedral Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad can be seen from the museum's balconies.
In the old center of Trinidad you will find plenty of architectural wonders to look at and learn about their history. If you want a free guid, just stand by a group of day-tourist who are getting a history lesson from their guid. Very handy, you can leave whenever you lose interest!
The Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad is in the center of the new town, directly across the street from...more
Marti 238, Trinidad, Cuba, Caribbean
Good for: Couples
Carretera Maria Aguilar, Playa Ancón, Trinidad, Cuba
Good for: Solo