If you only have time to go to one other place than Havana, we strongly recommend Trinidad.
Located in the midpoint of Cuba’s southwest shoreline, Trinidad has always been a key position in Cuban history, from colonial age to revolutionary era. Benefited from its sugar fortunes, Trinidad enjoyed its heyday in the 19th century, which are still very much in evidence in illustrious colonial-style mansions bedecked with Italian frescoes, Wedgwood china and French chandeliers. With all these treasures, Trinidad was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1988.
Although similar in architecture style with Havana, Trinidad provides a much more preserved and original view of the Spanish settlement 200 years ago. After feeling overwhelmed in Havana, we enjoyed our stay in this colorful little town and took a break from the heavy walking in Havana.
Plaza Mayor is the town’s pivot, around which sit the 1892 honey-hued La Parroquial Mayor church and the sherbet-shaded Palacio Brunet (home to Museo Romántico). A few blocks away stands the iconic attractive bell tower of the old San Francisco Convent (now the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos) that dominates the town.
We climbed up to Museo Histórico Municipal, formerly Cantero sugar palace, for a town overview. There was warm sun, cool breeze, colored houses, local folks singing and palm tree rustling — simply perfect.
People here were not hesitant to paint their surroundings in colors of highest contract and saturation. (Tons of yellow and blue!) That said a lot about their welcoming, enthusiastic personality. Nightlife was more fun here with musical bars and night clubs within walking distance. We also rode a bike to its nearby Ancon beach to spend an afternoon in salt water.
Tourism is the major income source for people in Trinidad. Almost every house in touristic area serves as casa (home-stay) or sell souvenirs.
We stayed in Trinidad for only one day, partly because it’s not a large town and we were able to cover everything. Although short, the experience was impressive and memorable.