Things to do in Trinidad Cuba

6 reasons you’ll love Trinidad, Cuba + 2 you won’t

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Trinidad, Cuba is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the centre of the island, located in the province of Sancti Spíritus. You know the famous pastel coloured buildings that Cuba is known for? Yeah, that’s Trinidad! The nearby Playa Ancon deserves a shout out too because it is a postcard perfect beach.

Trigger warning: in the beginning we did not love Trinidad, Cuba. By this point in the trip we had hustle burn out and were pretty fed up with Cuba in general, however, we can now look at our six days in Trinidad objectively. OK! Get your legs and liver ready, we’re going to salsa and cycle…

Brunet Palace + Plaza Mayor Sunset | Trinidad, Cuba

Brunet Palace + Plaza Mayor at sunset

The Highs of Trinidad, Cuba
The Colours + Casas

Trinidad has a cute array of coloured housing and the casas particulares are unreal! Want to live with locals in Cuba like we did? Check out our guide to Cuban casas.

Trinidad Cuba Colourful HousesHoliday in freedom, why Cuba all – inclusive when you can casa?!

Many of these homes are beautiful colonial buildings with stunning gardens. We ate breakfast every morning amongst the flowers at Casa Yaquelín.

Casa Particulare Trinidad Cuba | Casa Yaquelin

Desayuno / breakfast typically costs around 4 CUC / $4 (try to get it included)

Church of the Holy Trinity | Trinidad, Cuba

Church of the Holy Trinity at Plaza Mayor

The Salsa

These Cubans can dance! Every evening at Casa de la Música there is an outside show which travellers can one-two-three until they sweat their socks off. We were gobsmacked at the talent at the local club next to Casa de la Música (1 CUC / $1 / 65p cover charge, if they try to charge you more tell them you were there last night). Expect to pay 3 CUC  / $3 / £1.96 for a cocktail in the club. Craig is convinced the writers of Dirty Dancing got the idea for their story from Trinidad! It’s his favourite film, sorry, I mean soundtrack (… film).

The famous Canchánchara cocktail of rum, honey, lemon, and water can be bought at La Canchánchara, it’s the simple things in life in Cuba that matter. Don’t be alarmed when live music explodes here.

La Canchanchara Trinidad Cuba

More Cocktails + Partying in Trinidad

I love the drink in Cuba. Mojitos, Cuba Libres, Daiquiris, Piña Colada, as a spirit drinker I was in liquid heaven. There is a man who sells 1 CUC cocktails just down from the steps of Casa de la Música. The street lights go out every so often, ideal for topping up your 1 CUC Colada with your contraband (half bottles of rum are 2.80 CUC / £1.83 in local shops).

We had a great night drinking and laughing with our travelling ‘family’ Annie, Sarah and Sarah’s Dad, Geoff (we became Two Scots, Two Brauds and a Dad in Cuba!) As well as our new friends, Dr Megan, Anaise, Enders, and the Two Andreas. Oh and how could I forget our street perro, Mango the Dog!

Cocktails Trinidad, Cuba

Cycling to Playa Ancon

This beach is perfection, it’s exactly what you would expect of Cuba with its blue waters, white sand and palm trees.

Playa Ancon Trinidad, Cuba

How to get to Playa Ancon

In attempt to miss the strong sun, we left our Trinidad casa at 09:00 to collect our pre – booked bikes (5 CUC / $5 / £3.27 each) which we had organised with a taxi man who then put us in contact with a lady with bikes the day before. This is pretty standard business behaviour, the taxi man gets commission in return for our custom. The 6 mile ride from Simon Bolivar street took less than an hour, with a few photo stops. An old man in charge of the beach charged us 1 CUC / $1 to have our bikes on the beach and locked up (scandal, typical of Cuba charging you for everything). He did let us leave our bikes at his side of Playa Ancon when we went to meet our friends at the busier side.

Cycle to Playa Ancon from Trinidad

We ate a disgusting meal (grease) for 5 CUC / $5 / £3.27 but washed it down with two ‘Che’s’- Craig’s invention; a drink with rum, a dash of cherry rum, and lemon slush, perfect in the sun.

Playa Ancon near Trinidad Cuba

The 6 mile cycle back was a killer! I felt like my face had undergone a facelift by the time we got home, partly down to sunburn and dried sweat! It’s common for people to hurl their bikes into taxi cabs when leaving the beach.

Public Transport to Playa Ancon

There is a local bus from Trinidad if cycling isn’t your thing. It costs 1 CUC / $1 and leaves hourly (check with locals). There is definitely a bus a 11am and returning at 15:30 or 18:00 from Playa Ancon.

Cuba: The Lows
The Food

Don’t get me wrong although Cuban food gets a terrible write-up, we did eat well in Havana and our Cuban casa breakfasts were usually pretty decent but unfortunately our review of meals in Trinidad is not as positive.

In Cuba there are private restaurants and government-run restaurants. The government-run ones are notorious for slow service, poor quality and a lack of variety of food. We, unknowingly, ate in one government-run restaurant for lunch and it became apparent which type of restaurant we were dining in after an hour wait for rice (which Craig did actually enjoy). Cuba time is not the same as Western time! You just have to go with flow, tranquilo.

Trinidad Restaurants

I can recommend dinner at the Tripadvisor #1 rated restaurant in Trinidad, Restaurante San José as well as lunch at Taberna la Botija (which has a live band in the evenings) so there are some options available for tourists, it’s just frustrating paying near North American prices for poor quality meals.

Trinidad - Salsa and Cycling

We felt trapped many times in Cuba. Trapped by the (short-term) rain, the inability to cook for ourselves, the WiFi situation and of course, the hustle!

The Cuban Hustle

Cuba is a communist country but the Cubans run their own private network in their communist country. Nearly every house on the gringo trail of Cuba is a casa particular, there were hundreds of rooms to rent in Trinidad. Many Cuban men have taxi cabs too and lots sell cigars. Unfortunately with this two tier economic system and ‘black market’ comes the constant hustle and fleecing of travellers. You can’t walk for two minutes in Trinidad without someone offering you a service or product. Walking down the street from our casa we heard ‘hello’ coming from a house.

We looked over and through the bird-cage like bars of a house window was a man standing with an open box of cigars looking us in the eye like some sort of cigar flasher! It’s great if you need a bike as someone will find you one and the sense of community is nice but remember it’s all commission based so don’t be naive, you are part of the market so barter! Our friends who spoke fluent Spanish managed to get dinner down from 12 CUC / $12 / £7.85 to 5 CUC / $5 / £3.27 in a restaurant! Play the game with them…

Don’t be a victim – Cuban scams information here. Need help with currency? Read this.

Safety in Trinidad Cuba

How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Cuba?

We are now just short of two weeks into our three week travels of Cuba and we’re tired! It’s hard work being here so maybe Trinidad isn’t getting the best of our attention and you may have an entirely different perspective from us, do tell us!

We have done the sums and are averaging at £80 (between two) on travelling days (our budget is £45) and £51 on stationary days (£63 ended up being our daily average). The money man (Craig) thinks we’ll save £400 by staying in an all-inclusive Cuban resort for the week. Cuba is expensive and we have 15 months left on the road! Here’s a full breakdown of our Cuba travel costs: 3 weeks in Cuba.

Trinidad Cuba

Check out Getting Stamped’s posts on Trinidad Cuba for more ideas on what to do in and around this colourful town!

Accommodation in Trinidad, Cuba

I know this comes as a surprise but Cuba is not cheap. Hotels in Trinidad, Cuba are not the exception. Iberostar starts at $400 (U.S) for one night to put things in perspective for you. The cheaper alternative to Trinidad hotels is to stay with locals in a casa particulare, which is extremely common.

Hosts are now advertising on Airbnb, if reading a review and seeing images beforehand puts you at ease. New to Airbnb? Sign up using our referral code and you receive money off, in return, we’ll get money towards our next booking – thank you for helping us travel and share our stories! Airbnb average price for a private room is 28 CUC / $28 – you do not need to pay this, we never paid more than $10 each.

Iberostar Trinidad Cuba + WiFi_Lottery winners + WiFi users, here is the Iberostar dining area!

You don’t have to arrange casas before you arrive, we took a recommendation from our taxi driver in Trinidad (Havana, and Playa Larga!)

WiFi in Trinidad

Now the burning question, is there WiFi in Cuba? Yes, and my most popular article (#1 on Google!) will explain how to gain access in detail here. In short, there is one ETECSA telecommunications centre in Trinidad where you can purchase a card which you use to sign in on using your own device.

You can login inside the centre or just outside (you’ll see lots of people doing this, Cubans and tourists). The plush Iberostar also has WiFi access but like with every hotel who offers WiFi in Cuba, you must buy a drink so it’s an expensive browse on Facebook! I have heaps of tips on how to save time and money in the article mentioned above.

Internet and WiFi in Cuba I Trinidad

How to get Trindad from Playa Larga 

  • Taxi collectivo (cab) from Playa Larga – 25 CUC / $25 / £15.99 per person
  • Bus 12 CUC / $12 / £7.67 leaving Playa Larga before 10am (this will change so find out before you get to Playa Larga) <—- our friends nearly did not get on this because the bus was full. Check the bus times here (print them out before you fly)

How to get out (to Varadero or Havana)

  • We took a taxi to Varadero (for one week at an all-inclusive resort) 25 CUC / $25 / £16.35 per person, door to door (approx. 3 hours)
  • Bus from Trinidad to Havana leaves at 08:15 (be there for 07:30am) for 25 CUC / $25 per person

Where next?

Brisas del Caribe (resort), Varadero to relax for one week before Havana for three more nights then Canada. Craig’s birthday is coming up!

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Trinidad, Cuba Travel Guide - Trinidad Cuba Travel Tips

Are we being too hard on Cuba?
Ever felt this way in a country?

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 70

  1. I think it is hard if you go as independent travellers. I went with an organised tour but one that allows me to do my own thing most of the time and everything was great. The guide was able to immediately give us info we needed (good restaurants, what to avoid, best salsa clubs or arrange excursions, tips on what to see etc) whilst our casas and transport were top notch. It doesn’t seem you ventured further than Trinidad because Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba are great. I didn’t find ut a hard country to travel at all. Asia was much more difficult.

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      Definitely harder if you go independently as you say. We didn’t have the budget to go with a tour but my friend did last year and said the downsides were – the group were double her age and she felt bad that the tour guides were trained teachers and doctors who had chosen to work in tourism because the money was better. We headed to Varadero (says in the post) after Trinidad because we were burning through our budget and had another year of travel to go.

    2. Hi Hildegard, can I ask which tour company you used? I am in two minds about travelling to Cuba solo. I often find tours so frustrating, being told where to eat, not having downtime etc, but I have heard that it is hard solo and my Spanish is non existent!

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        We travelled independently around Cuba but my friend used Locally Sourced. We did a day tour with them in Havana, great team. For solo I’d recommend going to Havana for a few days but stay in a hostel, meet some fellow travellers and go from there with the new friends. We travelled with a group, you end up meeting the same people at each stop!

  2. I suppose it depends on the type of group you travel with. I’m 30 something and about half the group were 20 and 30 somethings, all single people, so we had loads of fun. But there were also older people in their 50s who partied us under the table!

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      Oh she’ll be raging, that’s what she wanted. Can’t pick and choose the attendees unfortunately.

  3. Great photos! We took a 8 CUC taxi from our casa particular in Trinidad to Playa Ancon and went there 2 more times. Until the jelly fish scared us away and we headed to Varadero. We also brought the swimming goggles for the kids. They enjoyed every second of it. I liked the fact that the beach is not crowded, even in July.

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  4. Where did you get your taxi (Trinidad to Varadero) from please? When I check prices online it’s saying 240CUC but you’ve quoted 25CUC! I was going to book the bus online beforehand but it takes 6 hours to get there, if the taxi is the same price and only 3 hours I would much rather do that! Thanks in advance

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      240 CUC that’s $240!! They priced matched the bus for us. It was actually the guy that works at the bus station that organised it for us, he was sitting on a seat where the buses enter the station – this won’t surprise you when you go to Cuba. Side hustle is life!

  5. This year in Cuba I saw many cyclists from Europe on the streets of bigger towns like Havana, Trinidad or Cienfuegos. It is surprisingly safe to ride a bike on the roads of Cuba – all of our cab drivers were especially careful about cyclists.

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  6. Trinidad was our favourite part of the trip Havana is huge hot noisey and as for those car fumes mmm yummy lead exhausts smog
    But the photos of the old American cars is amazing in Trinidad we found a great cafe one with a band can’t remember the name but for 23cuc there was 7 courses 😮 felt totally ripped off with orders tho
    1 peso for pizza slice Street foo
    ie 1cup
    4 pence
    yet if you pay in cucs that’s 25x the price 🤔
    don’t visit varadero its a horrible souless dump just 2* 5 start hotels no real village or town this isn’t Cuba
    I took a bus tour it was awful hotel food was awful too communism eh

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      I don’t miss the 1 CUC pizzas that’s for sure! Thanks for reading and taking the time to let us know about your Cuba experience.

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  7. Hi! We are a couple planning our Cuba trip in July.
    We were thinking of travelling from Varadero to Trinidad (possibly around afternoon in a Taxi Collectivo or bus), spend the night in Trinidad and part of the next day before returning to Havana. So its just a day – I wanted to experience the old town and especially the dancing!
    Do you have any suggestions?
    I was planning on booking our stay via Airbnb, but do you think its a good idea to just land there and ask for Casa’s?
    If yes, what would be a good area to stay?

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      Thanks for writing in, sounds great! It’s a small town, you can’t get lost. For one night, I’d probably pre-book an Airbnb and ask your driver to drop you off there. That saves you time too so you can get ready for the dancing and rum consumption!

  8. Hey Gemma! Loving your blogs and insta pics of japan right now! I’m currently planning our honeymoon to Cuba and pretty much planning the same route as you….I see lots of mixed reviews about varadero though online though? We were thinking of making that as kind of treat at the end of our honeymoon, possibly staying in a fancy-ish hotel near the beach…but not sure if it’s the right place now, would you recommend any other beach type places… preferably not too far from Havana!

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      Hey Claire! Having a ball in Japan, thank you. We didn’t actually venture out of our resort in Varadero. The resort was great up until the masses arrived so we had a few days of chill and plenty of food to choose from. After that, they had to control who entered the dining room at times but what was really disturbing was the way the customers acted. Pure greed, was horrible to watch in a communist country after being in casas where margarine ran out for the town! Not the resorts fault. We used the gym every day which was awesome after having no access for two months. What about Cayo Jutias near Viñales? Found it after our trip, looks quieter and nice.

  9. Hello, I’m from Cuba born and raised in Trinidad, and I tell everybody that if you go to Cuba
    and don’t visit Trinidad you have not been to Cuba.
    I know that it’s easy for me to say that, because I can speak the language and have family there
    that I stay with when I visit, I have been living here in the USA since I was 10 years old, I am 69 now,
    there are lots of places to go and have fun in Trinidad, and they are all within walking distance from any place that you desire to stay, if you go ask anybody about the Casa De La Musica (House Of Music). La Canchachara
    and La Troga, among many other places and you will have lots of safe fun, there are even places that will teach you how to dance so you can increase your fun time.
    once you find a place to stay you will not be in need of transportation unless you are going to the beaches, you can also rent horses (single or by the group) and explore the area without worrying about your safety.
    The reason that I said that you have to visit Trinidad if you travel to Cuba is because I have been told that by lots of people that are not from Trinidad.

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  10. Hi, Loved this piece and agree with what you have reported.
    We (as a couple of ‘oldies’) were sent to Cuba by our daughters to celebrate SWMBO’s sixtieth birthday back in November 2015.
    We were going as independent travellers but SWMBO insists on planning and booking months ahead so that is what we (I) did.
    The plan was to stay in a hotel in Havana for two nights, then go to CPs in Santiago, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Vinuelos and finally back to Havana to another CP. Got it all booked through agencies in the UK. All we had to do once there was to get ourselves from place to place.
    We arrived in Cuba and the plan fell apart after the first night.
    Trying to contact the various CPs about arrival times was an exercise in futility – which was made even more frustrating when we tried to get a bus to Santiago. For a major transport system the Havana bus station is several miles away from the centre of Havana. By the time we got there and queued for tickets we were told there were none. All sold out. No indication anywhere. just queue for an hour and then….
    Back in Havana we have to start rearranging things – silly taxi quotes, ridiculous extra night cost in the hotel with its half-a-cup of coffee ration at breakfast. That took half a day, and thanks to the amazing girls in a travel centre in one of the big hotels (ours wasn’t big) we were able to get everything back on track – minus Santiago. They even managed to book most of the coaches.
    Although I bitched about the bus system a lot during our trip I could not fault coaches and their timekeeping and drivers at all.

    Trinidad was very much as you described. The CP was busy and comfortable but SWMBO decided that hotels were better so we moved to the Iberostar for a couple of nights. We travelled about in rickshaws and got drenched regularly.
    Foodwise we enjoyed Trinidad and found a nice little bar were all the furniture was made of recycled pallets.

    The rest of the time we use the CPs and found them (after SWMBO had got use to the idea) more than adequate.

    Overall we enjoyed our trip and could write a whole lot more.
    Suffice to say Cuba is wonderful, the people are wonderful (if at times a little bit pushy). The weather is wonderful. It’s not as cheap as it seems. The best value thing we found was the open top bus tour. Probably the best and longest we have ever been on.
    On the down side , the food is variable but universally samey! I never want Papaya and Papaya juice ever agin.

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      Enjoyed your story DT! I had to Google SWMBO definition, I’m sure my husband would put it to good use too. Glad it all came together, all part of the adventure! I still regret not getting around the full island but we had another year of travel to watch the pennies for.

  11. People like you should stay home and not travel. You don’t know sh about Cuba I really hate people like you that go to other countries for a short stay and think you know everything . Cuba food is amazing if you know where to eat and yes it costs money to do things in Cuba every word out of your mouth is sh. I hare people like you that talk sh about other countries and don’t know sh. You go to other countries with your American white privileged attitude and come back and talk sh. Stay home and stay out of Cuba! What a u r

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      Food experience was mixed in Cuba, glad yours was top notch. We do make ropa vieja quite often in our white privilege slow cooker. Was a great find in Trinidad.

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