Trinidad, Cuba became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. The city, with a population of about 30,000, is on the Caribbean coast close to the Escambray Mountains, with beautiful views of both hillsides and sea. With its quaint, old-world charm, picturesque beauty and really, really friendly residents, surprisingly, the city is unsullied by, but not void of tourists. There are little taxi cars and a small bus “station” to shuttle about the day-trippers. It’s so pleasant to wander through the mostly traffic-free, cobble-stoned streets, hearing to clopping hooves of horses, while dodging slow-walking dogs and cats.
Plaza Mayor, the town’s main square, boasts a plain cathedral and five ornate, colorful, colonial mansions. There is a park with bronze greyhounds and a statue of Terpsichore, the muse of dancing and song. There are several casas de musica (music houses), with one next to the cathedral. The tiny school houses, casa particulars (private homes with rooms for rent), pastry shops and the open air markets keep the day wanderer entertained for hours. We did not stay at a room at a local home this time, opting, instead to spend our 2 nights at Brisas Trinidad del Mar. While the resort staff was lovely, and the resort grounds made it easy for me to create stunning photos, and it was great to start and end our days with the sand and surf as our back yard, the resort left a lot to be desired. It’s barely a 3-star resort by U.S. ratings. I didn’t necessarily mind sharing my room with sand crabs and lizards, but I did mind the somewhat dirty and very smelly rooms, and the bad, bad food. My group and I agreed that the next time (and there will be a next time!), we’ll stay closer to history in one of the homes.