Welcome back to Part 2 of my Cuba travel posts! Picking up from where I left off, the tour continues, moving from the North Western tip of Cuba towards the East, with the final stop on this leg of the journey being Trinidad. But first, we stopped for a quick walking tour around the French colonial town of Cienfuegos!
Cienfuegos is known as the ‘pearl of the south’ in Cuba and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We only stopped here for an hour or so but I really liked what I saw. The architecture is distinctly French and different to every other place I’ve seen in Cuba. If you have some time, be sure to stop off here for a day trip. The two main areas of interest for tourists are Pueblo Nuevo, the city centre, and Punta Gorda, a peninsula with lots of 1950s homes. We didn’t get a chance to visit Laguna Guanaroca, a lake full of flamingos in the Southeast of Cienfuegos, but it sounded great! Trinidad
Trinidad, in my opinion, is a must see in Cuba! We stayed here for three nights as part of the tour. Trinidad is a colonial town with cobblestone streets and beautiful, Spanish mansions dotted around town. You’ll see the classic cars on the roads along with donkeys and horse-drawn carriages everywhere.
With music coming out of most houses, restaurants and shops, this is a perfect place to explore on foot, weaving in and out of the many art shops and sitting and admiring the architecture in Plaza Mayor, the historical epicentre of town. For excellent aerial views, head to the Museum of the War Against Bandits and climb the tower. There is also a handicrafts market in the old town which is a good place to pick up souvenirs and gifts.
For Latin music and salsa lovers, Trinidad has a lively music scene at night – check out Casa del a Musica, an open air venue with live music and salsa dancing. The Ayala night club, housed in a cave, is also popular though the music was a bit too techno for me!Trinidad is also surrounded by natural attractions for those who are more actively inclined and there are plenty of hiking trails in the Escambray mountains and opportunities for horse-riding as well (though I wasn’t fully comfortable riding the horses as they seemed a bit malnourished to me!). And if you’re looking for relaxation, Playa Ancon beach is a nice place to spend an afternoon or go for a swim.Santa Clara
We stopped in Santa Clara, mainly to visit the Mausoleum for the fallen of the Revolution, where the remains of Che Guevara are housed. There is also an interesting museum about Che Guevara next door as well as an outdoor remembrance monument! The Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado is another interesting site where arguably the most important battle in Cuba’s revolutionary history took place. This was where Che Guevara and his men derailed a military train – many of the train’s carriages are still there, including the bulldozer used to do the deed!Stay tuned for my ultimate guide to Havana, the final stop on this trip, coming very soon on the blog!