Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Trinidad, Cuba

The 3rd of our Cuba destinations is Trinidad, a town south of Santa Clara where most of the Centro Historico (central district) is classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. During it's heyday it was an important sugar growing hub during the years of the Spanish colony. Unsurprisingly it is a pretty stunning city and conveniently our Casa (Casa Amigos del Mundo) is situated pretty much in the Centro Historico, which where all the action and sites are.

After arriving around 3pm at our Casa we dropped our bags and had a bit of a (very hot) walk to get our bearings. We climbed up a tower that is part of the Museo Municipal and were surprised by how small the city seems. After such a hectic day we decided we had earnt a break and returned to the Casa rooftop terrace for some drinks and a special pineapple chicken dinner (if anyone didn't know, joss loves pineapple in savoury meals). After dinner we headed out to the town square where there was live music, dudes breathing fire and a lot of locals and tourists doing a bit of salsa. We have found out that pretty much everything starts at 10pm in Cuba so there was the post dinner timing was perfect, it was a lot of fun and there were loads of people out and about. Because there are so many tourists around it seems like it might be a nightly event here... we will find out tomorrow!

Streets around the UNESCO heritage zone of Trinidad
Looking over Trinidad and the stunning surrounds

The terrace - best we have had so far

Day two was pretty relaxing, we climbed another tower in a different museo and took in the surrounds with the sound of a Cuban band playing in the park opposite on ground level. With such a nice atmosphere and with the sun scorching we then decided to hang in the shade of the park for about an hour taking in the sound of the 5 Buena Vista Social Clubesque musician buskers. After that we decided to take a stroll to check out a pottery factory to check out the local pottery being crafted on wheels. On the way we passed the ruins of Santa Ana church. We bought a couple of small pottery pieces then made the long and hot walk back to the center of town, and it was hot. So hot birds were flying under other birds to get shade and lizards were scared to leave the shade. Hot! Once we made it back we decided to have lunch, and lay low to conserve our energy for the night, when the town comes alive - the same square that is packed at night with music and people is virtually empty all day (it seems only idiot tourists are out in the heat of the day).

Around 6 pm we decided we were well rested enough to head our for some drinks and dinner, although it must be said that 6 is still bloody hot. Anyway we stalked out a bar from the lonely planet that sounded great, the daiquiri bar (correct pronunciation is die-ka-rie ) however we were very disappointed to find that it was closed, not least because we walked what felt the equivalent of many furlongs in the heat. Anyway we returned again to the town centre where nearly everything seems to happen, and settled in for a couple of beers on the main steps before heading to dinner. We picked a nearby restaurant 'Los Conspiradores' with first floor balcony seats which had a good view of the people below and the brewing thunderstorm in the distance but still close enough to hear the music in the square. Over another fantastic dinner (lobster pasta and shrimp in devil sauce) the storm grew providing us with a great show over the centuries old cathedral in the square and tantalising us with the promise of cooling rains. With the refreshing rain frustratingly keeping its distance we decided to keep watching the storm and taking in the live music on the steps with a delicious and cheap 1 CUC pina colada from one of the street vendors. Just as we had finished our coladas the rain came, so we made a quick dash for our Casa and enjoyed a rum and cigar in the courtyard watching the downpour. A pretty great day in a historic town in the Caribbean.

Cuban band playing in the park
Cocktails and dinner
Lightening storm over the square
Another, the storm was spectacular
Cigars and rum

For our final day in Trinidad we thought we would make the most of the conveniently located beach 'Playa Ancon' (playa meaning beach in Spanish). The beach was pretty stunning with little palm gazebos up and down the sand providing shade with perfect beach going weather, perfect because we had the shade of a little gazebo. There were folk walking up and down the beach selling fruit, small pizza breads, popcorn and other delights the we didn't really know what they were. All of this was well and good but we felt there was a market missing in that of beverage sales. Many Cubans were walking up the beach or swimming with a bottle of rum, taking a swig and then passing it around, but the source of such treats remained a mystery. We decided to ask one of the traveling pizza salesman, who told us we had to walk up the beach somewhere (this was in Spanish so we weren't too sure). However it seems that on his travels that he was passed one of the kiosks and told them that some foreigners were asking about drinks. An entrepreneurial guy from the kiosk approached us with the offer to bring us drinks! Now we did discover that it was a short enough walk, but far enough to question whether we could be bothered, so the promise of delivered beers was hard to resist so we accepted his offer and of course tipped him generously.

Naturally we didn't just watch the water but also swam in the Caribbean, during oneof the swims we were interrupted by a school of small fish that came straight at us, bumping into us and jumping out of the water and hitting us on the backs and shoulders! It seems this isn't a regular occurrence as the school moved straight past us into a group of locals who were equally surprised. Another irregularity we witnessed was just before our last swim we saw a guy in the water, presumingly local, proceed to vomit multiple times, and not involuntarily - he was sticking his hand down his throat! Perhaps he had partaken in too much rum earlier in the day, and mixed with seawater it left him a bit unpleasant, whatever the reason we decided it was a safe bet to swim up tide of him. After that we shared a cab back to town with some German ladies, and relaxed at our Casa with some cocktails and another great meal on the terrace. Afterward we attempted to go out, but were pretty tired after our day in the sun (made worse because we didn't read the sunscreen reapply instructions closely enough), so ended up sitting on the main stairs in the square watching 2 local dogs chase away the occasional car or bike rider who venture into the square, but not walkers, rather entertaining. We had seen the dogs sleeping/hanging on the steps every night, it seems it was their spot to guard.

Playa Ancon

And what would a trip to the beach be without cerveza


  1. Just love the photos of the storm..... and the buskers. Fantastic! And did you mention it was quiet warm over there....?

  2. Heh yes it was bit warm Jan. Trinidad was our favourite spot, the day of the storm and buskers in particular.