How to Spend 48 Hours in Trinidad, Cuba
From the moment I stepped foot in the cobbled streets of Trinidad, Cuba, a love affair began. After coming from hectic Havana, the pastel-washed buildings and slower pace were a welcome change. While Havana is all in-your-face color and sound, Trinidad just kicks back and lets you discover his beauty. There is no hustle, no wooing, no demands to uncover his finer points. He simply sits back, smiles, and invites you into a conversation. A relaxed but enriching chat about food, music, culture, the sea. Trinidad is warm, cultured, kind. A slow-burning friendship that you don’t realize will morph into a enduring love affair. But you certainly won’t regret that it did.
48 Hours in Trinidad, Cuba: A Guide
Get Settled and Hit the Market
It’s hard to go wrong with a casa particlar in Trinidad. The locals are all so kind, welcoming, and friendly that your stay is nearly guaranteed to be the best in Cuba. That said, a few worth checking out are Hostal Amatista, Casa Milagrosa, or Casa Las Cuevas if you want a quiet spot walking distance to town. Not to be confused with Hotel Las Cuevas, just a block away!
Before you start to explore those cobbled streets, pop over to Cafe Don Pepe for the best Cuban coffee in town… or maybe the entire island.
After you’ve checked in, wander down to the open-air market on Calle Alameda to pick up handcrafted souvenirs and gifts. It’s the perfect spot to bargain for a classic Cuban fedora or a crochet beach cover-up.
Enjoy a Seafood Lunch and Musical Workout
After you’ve dropped your market haul off at your casa, pop over to Restaurante Terraza Colonial for a little alfresco lunch. It may not win awards for it’s decor, but when your rooftop is just a sunshade and the clear Cuban sky, you don’t need all the bells and whistles. Don’t skip the fresh fish — it’s a diner favorite.
After you’ve fueled up, burn it off with a salsa class. New dance class options are popping up all over Trinidad, so your options should be varied. We found a friendly local who offered to find us a class at a great price — almost any Cuban can teach you the salsa and rumba. If you’re looking for a more professional outfit, check out Casa de la Cultura by calling Julio at +53 41 994308.
Rev Up with an Alfresco Dinner and Dancing in the Streets
After you’ve mastered your cha cha cha, make your way to Vista Gourmet. It’s another rooftop (you’ll notice a theme with these in Trinidad), with all-you-can-eat buffet options and a pretty decent wine list by Cuban standards. Come here for a beverage and watch the sunset while sipping a mojito, then get ready to fill your belly with a variety of Cuban and international treats.
After you’ve eaten your fill, head to Casa de la Musica to show off your newfound salsa skills. There is nothing like this open-air dance show, bar, and street party. The music blasts, locals and tourists gather around tables, rum drinks fill every hand, and the truly brave get onstage to show off their dance moves. This is a can’t-miss experience in Trinidad.
Cycle to Playa Ancon for Some Vitamin Sea
When you’ve finally slept off last night’s rum, wander into town and find a place to rent bicycles. Talk to your casa owner — as is the Cuban way, they always know someone who can get you what you need. They may even rent bicycles themselves! After you’ve sourced your two-wheeled transport, cycle to Playa Ancon. It’s a 12-km, mostly-flat pathway to white sands and the Caribbean Sea. There are a few smaller beaches along the way, and if you prefer something a little quieter, stop here instead. Playa Ancon has amenities like drinks, food, and umbrellas.
Laze at the beach, grab a bite to eat and maybe a mojito (hair of the dog, hey?), and while away the morning. Take a dip in the uber-refreshing Caribbean when the heat gets too hot, then make your way back to town to continue your outdoorsy adventure.
Get to Know Trinidad on Foot or Horseback
If you manage to tear yourself away from the beach, head back to town to explore with a local on foot. Trinidad Sightseeing offers highly-rated walking tours that take you past all of Trinidad’s major sites. You won’t be able to get the insider scoop on the history of the place without the first-hand account from a local, so it’s worth the cash. If your booty isn’t too sore from your morning bike ride, the horseback riding tours from Trinidad Travels get rave reviews — if you manage to snag Renier as your tour guide.
One More Fantastic Meal and Dance the Night Away in a Cave
Once you’ve successfully worked up an appetite, mosey over to Paladar San Jose, smack in the middle of Old Town. You’ll want to try to secure a reservation, because this is one of Trinidad’s most popular eateries. The menu will entice you with several gut-busting options, so order with care! Their arroz con pollo is a showstopper, and if you like this savory braised chicken dish you’ll be glad you ordered it here.
After you’ve fueled up, take the hike to Disco Ayala. This nightclub might be one of Cuba’s most famous spots, and for good reason. From the moment you step inside, pulsing electronic music bounces off the natural cave walls. On weekends there is a crazy queue and it costs $10/person. The best way around this? Make friends with a local! They always know someone.
Trinidad is a city that truly has it all. Beautiful beaches, a charming town, and restaurants and nightlife that will satisfy every taste. Have you ever found the perfect town in your travels? Planning a visit to Trinidad any time soon? Let me know in the comments!