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Pastel houses, cute cobbled streets, crumbling Colonial buildings, killer sunsets, jumping nightlife and salsa! There are so many things to do in Trinidad, Cuba including sightseeing, cycling and a day trip to a turquoise water postcard-perfect beach. Trinidad, Cuba is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the province of Sancti Spíritus. It can be reached easily from Havana by bus and taxi colectivo (Cuba’s private taxis service). There are a variety of accommodation options including hotels and the local Cuban casas particulares. So let’s dive into our trip to Trinidad tips, try saying that after a few mojitos!
Trinidad’s Top Things To Do
1. Wander Around Plaza Mayor
The palm tree-lined Plaza Mayor is the main square in Trinidad. You literally can’t miss it as you wander about the city as this is where the striking Church of the Holy Trinity is located.
The pale yellow Church of the Holy Trinity (Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad), was built in the late 19th century, replacing the previous 17th-century building. It is free to visit but difficult to catch open!
Church of the Holy Trinity at Plaza Mayor
2. Visit Brunet Palace
Brunet Palace (Palacio Brunet) is the large yellow building with tall arches to the left of the church. The ex-family mansion has two floors, the upper floor is where you can see nice views of the square.
The Romance Museum (Museo Romatico) can be found at the Palace and houses a number of colonial artefacts.
Multi-language tour guides explain the items in exchange for payment.
3. Climb the Bell Tower
While the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos does have an exhibition, the main attraction is its bell tower which you can see to the left of the church and mansion.
360 views of the city and beyond can be enjoyed from the top for a couple of USD.
4. Stay in a Casa Particular
Casas Particulares are private Cuban houses with rented rooms. Casas are popular forms of accommodation and a great way to meet locals.
Many of these homes are beautiful colonial buildings with stunning gardens. We ate breakfast every morning among the flowers at Casa Yaquelín.
Most casas provide a private room with en-suite. Breakfast is offered at an additional $5 USD (approx) which is generally worth it.
You can read more about staying in a casa here.
» Don’t travel without insurance: Read our comparison guide
5. Take a Salsa Class
There are a variety of dance classes in Trinidad but the most touristic is at Casa de la Musica. Group lessons are accompanied by a teacher and live band. You go book a class with your friend, partner or pay extra for a dance partner.
Barrio Cubano salsa classes also come highly rated.
6. Casa de la Musica
Show off your new moves the nightlife hotspot Casa de la Musica.
Everyone in Trinidad flocks to the steps or seated tables of Trinidad’s most popular tourist attraction at nightfall. Just follow the music to this bouncing corner of the town and join the groups of visitors of all ages as they chat, drink, dance and enjoy the live music.
As to be expected, the cocktails are a little pricier than other places but it isn’t hard to find a 1 USDc cocktail stall closeby. You can pick up some top-up rum from a local store too.
We hung out at the streets close to, and the steps under, Casa de la Musica. It was honestly so much fun, energy levels were high!
Here we swapped Cuba stories and scams, you’ll have lots to share too, and arranged to meet new friends at future stops on our Cuba itinerary. Two of the friends we hung out with in Trinidad not only met us in Varadero during our Cuba trip but also in Scotland for our wedding party!
Casa de la Musica may be the institution but it isn’t the only club in town. Disco Ayala ‘the rave in the cave’ is popular if you can handle sweaty crowds and Cubaton (Reggaeton). 5 USD entry includes one drink. Avoid high heels as the walk there is apparently rocky. Ayala was closed when we visited.
We did, however, pile into a salsa club. The lines were long but we’d latched on to a local who managed to get us in. The doors slammed shut and we were witness to what could only be described as the muse for Dirty Dancing. Mature Western women dancing with young talented Cuban men, I’ll let you use your imagination. I was pulled to the floor but deemed not good enough to keep up.
For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the club. You’ll just have to go and find your own version! Tell us in the comments below if you do.
7. Drink Cocktails
There is no shortage of bars and restaurants selling cocktails in Trinidad. Canchanchara cocktail is one of the popular choices native to the town. Canchanchara is made up of honey, lime and of course, rum!
La Canchánchara is the original bar which claims to have invented them. Reviews are mixed.
8. Eat Cuba Ropa Vieja
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 on the menu.
We, unknowingly, ate in one government-run restaurant for lunch and it became apparent which type of restaurant we were dining at after an hour’s wait for Ropa Vieja.
As they say, good things come to those who wait and now his Cuban dish has become a staple meal for us back home in Scotland.
Cuba time is not the same as Western time! You just have to go with flow, tranquilo.
Other Trinidad restaurants worth checking out include:
- Restaurante San José: top-rated by tourists but genuinely a great option. Go before 7pm
- Taberna la Botija: pork skewers, live music at night, we had lunch here
9. Day Trip to Playa Ancon
This Trinidad beach is perfection, it’s exactly what you would expect of Cuba with its blue waters, white sand and palm trees. Strangely, I’ve heard other Cuba visitors say it is definitely not the best beach in Cuba. Nonetheless, for us, it was a much needed day away from the Cuban hustle in the city.
You can hire bikes in Trinidad and pedal to Ancon if you want to stretch the legs. The cycle there is relatively easy and takes you past a couple of shops for drink stops. The ride back is brutal, I was ready for giving up. Do not underestimate the heat! Especially after a day of sunbathing and cocktails. Dehydration warning.
How to Get to Playa Ancon By Bike
- Pre-arrange bike hire so you can collect first thing to avoid the sun
- Cycle down and along Simon Bolivar (6 miles)
- Stop, take photos, enjoy the ride which should take less than an hour
- Bikes are not permitted on the beach, we were charged to lock them up at the side which is pretty typical
- Wear your swimming gear as there aren’t any huts to change
How to Get to Playa Ancon By Bus/Taxi
There are public buses which go from Trinidad to Playa Ancon throughout the day but the times are not reliable.
Our friend did manage to catch it, you just have to have a relaxed attitude and not be confined by time.
- When you arrive in Trinidad ask your casa/hotel what time the buses leave and return
- Expect to pay around 5 USD per person
- The bus ride takes around 30 mins and stops at Hotel Ancon at the beach
- Alternatively, enquire about a taxi. Even better if you can get a group together to keep costs down
- You can ask your casa host about taxis or at the bus station
Playa Ancon – beaches near Trinidad
10. Day Trip to Parque el Cubano
Parque el Cubano is the second most popular day trip from Trinidad and ideal for those who like a short hike surrounded by nature.
The hike includes jumping into swimming holes and views of Javira Waterfall which is perfect because Trinidad can get quite stuffy and dusty. Note, there are no changing huts.
Visitors contend with forest paths, stones and manmade bridges during this day tour.
As always, arrive early to beat the heat and also the busloads of tourists. This is a popular stop for group tours.
Entry is 10 USD or book a taxi/guide/lunch tour in Trinidad.
11. Day Trip to Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos literally means 100 fires and it is known as the Pearl of the South. From Trinidad, you can visit the colonial city to see the highlights such as the central Parque Jose Marti, the unique architecture of Ferrer Palace and the mansions of Punta Gorda.
There are two ways to do a Cienfuegos day trip. Firstly, by pre-booking a seat on the Viazul bus. Secondly, by booking a taxi colectivo when you arrive in Trinidad. See our ‘getting around’ section for more details.
Essential Trinidad Travel Information
Getting Around Trinidad
The best way to get around Trinidad is on foot. As the city is small, there is no need for public transport unless you are taking a day trip to the beach or to hike.
Accessibility will be an issue for those in chairs as the streets are often uneven.
Getting to Trinidad
How to Get From Havana to Trinidad
Buses leave daily from Havana to Trinidad. The journey takes around 6-7 hours, stopping at Cienfuegos too.
See the Viazul bus service website for up to date times. You can pre-book your seats using this website.
Viazul is one of the official bus services in Cuba so don’t be afraid to use it. It is advised that you book a seat in advance where possible to avoid disappointment.
Conectando is another bus company but it has a very limited online presence. Forums pull up this timetable but we can’t say for sure that it is accurate.
Can you? Please tell us in the comments below or use the contact us page. Gracias!
There are, of course, private taxi rides called Taxi Colectivos which will get you between Havana and Trinidad or vice versa.
Colectivos are collective car share rides so it is likely you will meet other tourists in the car. Expect to pay around 30 USD. Don’t be alarmed if cars swap halfway during the journey, this happened to us when we drove from Vinales to Playa Larga. This is basically a taxi from Havana to Trinidad but with other people and a potential swap of vehicles!
You don’t have to book colectivos before you go. Ask your casa host (they will receive a commission) or go to the bus station and speak to the men who hang about outside. It sounds dodgy but it’s not, it’s the Cuban way.
Varadero to Trinidad
Varadero is a popular beach town in Cuba. Here you will find many of the all-inclusive resorts that surround the Carribean coast.
The Viazul bus connects the two areas. See the route and book tickets here.
Alternatively, if you are staying in Varadero and want to take a day trip to Trinidad to escape the resort for a while, this tour leaves Varadero at 6:30 and visits Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
WiFi in Trinidad
Now the burning question, is there WiFi in Cuba? Yes, my article will explain how to gain access in detail here.
In short, there is an ETECSA telecommunications centre in Trinidad where you can purchase a card which you use to sign in on using your own device. Some casas now offer this service too.
You can log on using the card anywhere there are WiFi points like the store itself or Iberostar Hotel or parks. You’ll know the points by the large crowds of locals and tourists.
Although the plush Iberostar has WiFi access, 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.
Places to Stay in Trinidad, Cuba
I know this comes as a surprise but Cuba is not cheap in comparison to the likes of Bolivia in South America. Coming from Peru, Bolivia and Colombia was quite the hit of our daily budget.
Hotels in Trinidad, Cuba are expensive!
The delightfully decorated and gatsby-vibes Iberostar Trinidad starts at $400 (U.S) for one night.
The cheaper alternative to Trinidad hotels is to stay with locals in a casa particular, which is extremely common.
Many advertise as ‘hostals’ but don’t confuse this with a backpacker hostel.
Hostal Casa El Ceramista, Trinidad
Hostal Casa El Ceramista is a friendly family-run casa and a charming house. Alexy, the owner, is a ceramicist which is evident in the decor!
Rooms are bigger than the average in Trinidad and have air conditioning. A microwave, a fridge, toaster, kettle and a coffee machine are available as well as breakfast at an additional daily fee.
This casa has a 5/5 star rating on TripAdvisor and the hosts reply to reviews.
Casa Zenia Ana, Trinidad
Casa Zenia Ana is an older casa that has had a facelift. It is more expensive than typical casas in Trinidad but modern in decor.
Each room has air conditioning, patio, a balcony with city views and a fridge. The room advertised looks super modern, one customer on TripAdvisor states this is not reflective of all rooms however, reviews are all happy.
WiFi is available as of now according to one review. Let us know your experience if you stay there.
Airbnb in Trinidad
There are a variety of casas available via Airbnb in Trinidad, Cuba and the average price for a private room in Trinidad is 30 USD.
However, a few areas I need to make you aware of regarding Airbnb in Cuba.
- The Airbnb app doesn’t work in Cuba so you can’t use it to contact hosts when you arrive
- Airbnb has been running in Cuba unofficially since the 90s! Casa owners create a network throughout the island and call ahead to book for you, they get commission in return
- It is not uncommon for the casa booked for you to get a better deal (a longer stay) so you are moved elsewhere and you might not know it. Naturally, you will know it if you book via Airbnb
- Read the reviews to check whether amenities promised are provided. Hot tubs, doubt it!
- Casa owners are now advertising over different search engines like Airbnb, Booking, TripAdvisor, Hostelworld, etc and WiFi is not as readily available so the response may be slower than accustomed to
- This is also the case for casa owners updating when rooms are booked/casas are sold out
Reasons for booking with Airbnb
- Pre-booking a casa obviously gives you peace of mind
- You can pre-pay by credit card with Airbnb, less cash required – read our guide to currency in Cuba here
- Airbnb is popular, we trust the resource and customer service is generally on the side of the customer
- Properties have reviews
How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Cuba?
Cuba is not as cheap as you think.
Our Cuba daily budget was 90 USD per day for two people with limited activities and one week in an all-inclusive resort.
We had plans to tour the whole island in three weeks but ended up checking into an all-inclusive resort to save money.
Here’s a full breakdown of our Cuba travel costs: 3 weeks in Cuba.
We visited Cuba as part of a long-term travel trip so were restricted by our budget. Cuba was our fourth country out of 16 in total. We visited during our fourth month. We were suffering from major travel burnout by this stage, backpacking around Cuba is not easy.
Learn from my mistakes, here’s what I would do differently:
- Download the bus times between locations. Locals do not know the times and are quick to offer their family taxi colectivo service which starts to add up at 25 USD per ride, per person
- Take note of recommended restaurants for each stop. Some restaurants are pretty bad and even Cubans will tell you this
- Create a loose itinerary. We are so quick to connect to 4G, you will soon see how much you rely on it since you can’t have it
- Consider activities. I thought I’d use the time in Cuba to switch off so didn’t bother planning anything which is unlike me!
- Renting a car? You may have to wait a few days in Havana for one to come in but having that flexibility to move around will be liberating
- Don’t visit Cuba as part of a big multi-destination trip. Not having a kitchen starts to take its toll
- Accept that the Cuban hustle isn’t going anywhere! Sure, it’s tiring constantly having people trying to sell to you but this two-tier economic system has allowed Cubans to survive and thrive
Trinidad, Cuba Packing List
- A thin waterproof coat like this Marmot Precip US / UK
- Comfortable walking shoes and hiking boots – I like my light Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK
- Camera and battery
- Battery pack for your phone – See Anker’s range US / UK
- Osprey bag cover for downpours US / UK
- Filter and purifying water bottle like Water To Go [quote TSA15 at checkout for 15% off]
- Bamboo cutlery set US / UK
- Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK
- Pacsafe safety net US / UK
- Hydration tablets US / UK if participating in some Cuban rum hangovers!
Going to Cuba? Pin to your board for later
Any questions or comments?
70 thoughts on “11 Fun Things to do in Trinidad, Cuba [Updated]”
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Oh she’ll be raging, that’s what she wanted. Can’t pick and choose the attendees unfortunately.
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.
Agree! There was literally a handful of people on it in June too. Thanks for commenting!
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
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!
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.
I saw a cycle tour too!
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
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
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.
I am going to Cuba on Monday, travelling on my own, a bit nervous!
Don’t be! It’s very safe. What’s your plans?
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?
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!
Thank you Gemma!
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!
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.
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.
Great to hear from you Oscar and love your passion!
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.
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.
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
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.