Trinidad, a must see, is a city with a lot of character. After the boring Varadero, this was refreshingly lively, and my personal favorite from the entire trip. Daily schedule was to get a hearty breakfast (5 CUC is a standard price and is most of times offered by your casa particular), head out to the the sea or some excursion, come back by 16.00 -17.00 take a nap to refresh yourselves for the night, 19.00 get some light dinner, and then head out to the small streets around the centrally placed church.
Streets of Trinidad were bustling with people going about their daily lives. Some street vendors selling the day’s greens, a horse cart tick-tocking on the cobbled streets, a cycle rickshaw calling out to you (if you obviously look like a tourist), families, kids, old people sitting in doorways, stray dogs and an occasional puddle of water left behind by rain or a leaking pipe.
I personally suggest to rent a moped – “Motorino” as locally called- and take a small ride in the surrounding areas. For 25 CUC a day (40 for 2) it is a good bargain if the weather gods give their blessings. It can be rented on Calle General Lino Pérez between Calle Antonio Maceo and Calle Francisco Codania.
Petrol prices (or gasoline or benzine whatever term you are used to) are not off the charts and so far have followed a normal global trend. Normally you can chose between amount of money or volume on the gas station. A guy sitting there will set the counter for your dispenser and then you can fill it in. You can also chose to use your card directly on the dispenser.
Playa Ancón is the rough south coast version of the pristine, cosmetic, white-sand north coast beaches. An all inclusive touristy hotel can be seen dominating the tip of the peninsula, but the beauty of this place outdoes it enough to be tolerable. As soon as you leave the mainland and start riding your motorino on this peninsula that extends out, you are hit with the beautiful color of the sea. You can see few people snorkeling every now and then, and this is the best place to just make some part of the beach yours and start exploring. You may be stopped by some people trying to sell you some “parking spots with good safety”. They wont steal stuff but they will almost come in your way on the road. Although slightly daunting or annoying at first, put your foot down (literally) and have a light talk with them. Agree to check out the coast a bit more on your moped and come back to them (of course you don’t have to).
I decided I wanted to go a bit more into the sea, although there are corals couple of meters off the shore. A 10 CUC speed boat ride was advertised at the beach of the hotel at the end of the peninsula which included equipment rental and a ride out into the sea. I went for it and I must confess, as not having my own equipment, this was one of the best 10 CUCs spent in the entire trip. The sea life was abundant, mesmerizing and absolutely brilliant. Superbly colored corals were dotted with dazzling fishes and black urchins. No photo does justice to those beautiful sights. You simple have to see it for yourselves.
A lazy afternoon on the beach was followed by a nice ride to Boca, a nearby fishing village, on the way back to Trinidad. Unlike what is described on some sites, this town in itself was alright, nothing special. The ride to it from Playa Ancón, however, was beautiful and scenic. The continuous coast on the left and some hills in the front and right with plush green forest was a soothing sight indeed.
A typical evening in Trinidad will be full of life, at least in the center of the city. Some restaurants bustling with life and some creepily empty, all streets definitely, without exceptions, full of people and ever running “happy hour” with cheap piña coladas and mojitos altogether put you in a perfect mood.
Extra cookie: Around 8 pm try to catch a place at the top part of stairs besides the church. This will mean you will automatically get “fenced in” for the evening in “Casa de la Musik” – a gathering for lovely live music, salsa and superb atmosphere. Entry will be charged 1 CUC (or more during high season) after the fence is set up. In a radius of 1 or 2 streets around the church, you can find lots of restaurants and bars, frequented quite often with locals and tourists alike.
Next day was spent doing an excursion with Cubatur which included a bumpy roller coaster ride in a truck, a small but steep hike to Vegas Grandes waterfall, visit to some coffee plantations and some local sales spots for sweets etc. These excursions will cost you 20-35 CUC on an average. They are not overwhelming or spectacular, but just enough to be fair for the price.
Extra cookie: Do not plan any evening in this city. Get out and feel where the music takes you and the atmosphere invites you.