Often considered as Cuba’s best-preserved colonial township, Trinidad, Cuba has been enlisted as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. Though the primary business industry in the town is that of tobacco, Trinidad, Cuba has managed to hold on to its charm and antiquity from the time the city was popular for its sugar trading business.
Reportedly, Trinidad was one of the first towns in the country to have been founded by the Spanish explorers. Characterized by dreamy cobblestone streets and bright-colored structures, Trinidad’s wonderful location by the Caribbean coast, close to the Escambray mountains, makes it a must-visit place on your Cuba Itinerary.
With its 1850’s architecture, extravagant palaces, enormous plazas, and endless things to do in Trinidad, the city has become one of the most-liked tourist destinations in this part of the world. Take a walk down the cobbled streets, listen to live music, chat with friendly locals, or hop on a horse-drawn carriage to have a day in the colorful city – Trinidad, Cuba has it all.
In this Trinidad Cuba guide, we’ll explain the best ways to get Trinidad, what to see and do in Trinidad, where to eat and drink in Trinidad, and recommend the best Trinidad, Cuba hotels for all budgets.
Our travel guide has been put together from our two visits to Trinidad, Cuba along with local insider tips that we learned by running our own photography tour in Cuba. We hope our Trinidad Cuba travel guide helps you plan your visit and that you fall in love with this amazing colonial city.
Where is Trinidad Located | Best Time to Visit | How to Get to Trinidad | Where to Stay | Where to Eat & Drink | Top Sights | Markets & Shopping | Best Views of Trinidad | Day Trips | Festivals | Important Information | Safety | Banks & ATM’s | WIFI | Resources
Located in central Cuba, Trinidad can be easily reached from any part of the country, yet it is only 15 minutes to the gorgeous beaches of Playa Ancon and the bright-blue Caribbean Sea. Another 15 minutes inland you can find yourself surrounded by tropical forests and free-flowing waterfalls.
The location is why Trinidad is one of the top cities in Cuba with many travelers, photographers, and adventure lovers basing themselves here while they explore the region. Not all major cities in Cuba have what Trinidad has to offer in such a short, reachable distance.
Distance from Trinidad to other major cities in Cuba:
Santa Clara – 1 hour 36 min – 92.1 km from Santa Clara to Trinidad
Cienfuegos – 1 hour 17 min – 81.4 km from Cienfuegos to Trinidad
Playa Larga – 2 hours 45 min – 195 km from Playa Larga to Trinidad
Havana – 3 hours and 57 min – 315.1 km from Havana (Autopista Nacional) to Trinidad
Varadero – 3 hours and 58 min – 261.3 km from Varadero to Trinidad
Cayo Coco – 3 hours 33 min – 233 km from Cayo Cocco to Trinidad
Vinales – 6 hours 9 min – 491 km from Vinales to Trinidad
Guantanamo – 9 hours 7 min – 646 km from Guantanamo to Trinidad
Baracoa – 10 hours 13 min – 710 km from Baracoa to Trinidad
Trinidad, Cuba Travel Guide Tip: Cuba is huge and most travelers underestimate how long it takes to travel from one city to the next. It is best to plan an extra hour due to poor roads, mechanical issues and just slow moving traffic.
Check out this epic trip that includes Trinidad by G Adventures:
Check out ===> CUBA EXPLORER 9 days, Havana to Havana
Trinidad Quick Facts
Country: Cuba | Coordinates: 21º48″15″N 79º58’59ºW | Cuba Province: Sancti Spiritus
Founded: December 23, 1514 | Time Zone: EST (UTC-5) | Elevation: 262″ | Language: Spanish
Currency: Cuban Peso | Top Religion: Roman Catholic | Population: 73,466 (2004)
Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guide).
Visiting Trinidad is separated into three sections, dry season, wet season and hot season. All seasons are great and offer their own uniqueness in the Trinidad region. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the surrounding attractions change depending on the season. Know what you want to see and then use that sight to prioritize the best time for your visit. We would hate for you to visit when the waterfalls are low and dried up.
November – April (Dry Season) – this is when you will get the sunniest days and it is the most pleasant temperatures across all of Cuba. This makes dry season the best time to visit Trinidad. The average temperature in November – April is a comfortable 24°C (75°F).
This is also high season in Cuba and it is important to book and plan your adventure in advance due to the high traffic of tourists. Many cities like Trinidad will be busy and hotels or homestays will be booked out.
May – July (Hot Season) – even though the heaviest rains do not usually arrive until late July or August, you can expect hot humid temperatures in Trinidad, Cuba. This can be a wonderful time to visit Cuba if you want to avoid the high season crowds and are looking to travel around booking accommodation and transportation last minute.
August – October (Wet Season) – this is the wettest time of the year in Cuba and in Trinidad it is no exception. Expect heavy rains, humid temperatures and there is a higher risk of hurricanes or tropical storms. This is when the landscape is at its greatest, tobacco fields to the rainforest should be on rain steroids this time of year. The waterfalls and rivers should be overflowing.
Average Temperature in Trinidad by Month
Date: Jan (28ºC), Feb (28ºC), Mar (30ºC), Apr (31ºC), May (32ºC), Jun (32ºC), Jul (33ºC), Aug (33ºC), Sep (32ºC), Oct (31ºC), Nov (29ºC), Dec (28ºC)
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Check out ==> CUBAN RHYTHMS 8 days, Havana to Havana by G Adventures.
Being one of the top towns in Cuba for tourists, getting in and out of Trinidad is fairly convenient. There are multiple means of transportation and the town can be reached via most cities in the country. To be precise, you can reach Trinidad Cuba via bus, local taxi, or rent-a-car. Here are some more details on each mode of transport.
There are daily buses operating between Trinidad and other prominent Cuban cities such as Havana, Varadero, Viñales, and Cienfuegos. Bus tickets can be booked online but they are cheaper to buy at the bus station. Also, it is suggested that you book your tickets a day in advance as they may not be available on the day of your travel (tickets can sell out pretty fast).
The duration of the journey takes 6 to 9 hours (depending on the city you are traveling from and traffic) except Cienfuegos – Cienfuegos is the closest city to Trinidad and takes about an hour and a half to get there. Check online for detailed timetables and fares.
Click to read ==> How to Travel by Viazul Bus in Cuba
What buses run to Trinidad from what cities in Cuba:
- Cienfuegos to Trinidad: ($6) – 12:15, 14:40, 15:15, 18:00 (1 hour & 35 min)
- Havana to Trinidad: ($25USD/CUC) – 7:00, 10:45, 14:15 (6 hour & 50 min)
- Varadero to Trinidad: ($20USD/CUC) – 7:00 (6 hours & 25 min)
- Vinales to Trinidad: ($37USD/CUC) – 6:45 (9 hours & 30 min)
It is best to check current bus schedules at Viazul.
Where is the bus station in Trinidad, Cuba? The Viazul & Astro Bus Station is located on the corner of Calle Gloria St and Calle Boca St in Trinidad Cuba. It’s two blocks away from the Plaza Mayor. This is the normal pick up area. It is best to be 15 minutes early and have your ticket in advance.
Where does the bus drop you off in Trinidad, Cuba? All buses drop passengers off at the Plaza Carillo in Trinidad, Cuba. From here the main center, Plaza Mayor, is five blocks away. The Plaza Carillo in Trinidad does have Wifi if you have a Wifi card.
Where can you buy bus tickets in Trinidad, Cuba? You can buy tickets online at Viazul or you can buy your tickets in advance at the local ticket offices. We got our bus tickets for travel to Varadero from Trinidad at the local Viazul office that was located at the corner of Calle Gutierrez and Calle Rosario. Like many places in Cuba, we had to stop in more than once because they never work the listed hours on the door.
Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide Tip: Buses are the best price for single travelers or couples who are independent travelers.
Click to read ==> How to Travel by Viazul Bus in Cuba
If you are traveling in a group, hiring a local taxi driver to drive you to Trinidad, Cuba could be a smarter and cheaper option than taking the bus. Plus, you can stop wherever you see a nice photo opportunity. Most rides should cost between $150 to $200 CUC (local currency) for the whole journey, which makes it easier and comfortable.
Don’t be scared to haggle a little bit on the price. You can easily hire a taxi off the streets of any city in Cuba to take you around town of to another place. Taxi drivers will typically speak English since they deal with tourists day in and day out.
Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide Tip: Galileo Maps has offline maps of Cuba, so you can find your way around Cuba by using your smartphone even without internet. This is a great insiders tip for anyone renting a taxi or car in Cuba.
Rent A Car:
I don’t know about you but I love the freedom of being able to have control of my own adventure. Having your own car allows you to have that freedom to decide where to go and when to stop. However, renting a car in Cuba can be challenging as there are limited cars and everything is regulated by the government.
You will not find AVIS, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz or any other car rental operators in Cuba, just three different rental companies, REX, Havanauto’s and Cuba Car. Showing up in Cuba hoping to make a booking isn’t a good idea because cars will not be available on the day, so it’s advised to book your ride online, weeks if not months ahead of your travel date.
A typical rental car will cost around $80 to $100USD per day with insurance. This is a great option for anyone traveling as a group and wanting to do some exploration on their way to and from Trinidad, Cuba. Driving in Cuba is pretty simple but their roads are not in the best of shape. Travelers should not consider driving at night due to animals wandering on the roads and road signs may also be non-existent or faded.
Something else to note – the city of Trinidad was not designed for car traffic. It’s slow moving with many one-way streets. Parking around Trinidad can be difficult at times. Most parking spots are found on the side of the streets, make sure its ok to park there since spots are limited and you may be taking up a locals spot. Some accommodations in Trinidad do offer limited parking however it is best to check with them in advance.
Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide Tip: Shopping around for a better price is useless… It’s a state monopoly and all rental car prices are the same in Cuba. Renting a car is probably going to be a headache for you.
Trinidad is not reachable by train. It has not been connected to the rest of Cuba by train since a hurricane destroyed the track system and an essential bridge in 1992. Since then, there is a local train running from Trinidad to Valle de Los Ingenios and that’s it.
Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guide).
Trinidad does not have a airport and the closest place to fly into is Santa Clara, located 98km North of Trinidad. It take approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to commute from Santa Clara to Trindad by taxi.
Many travelers will fly into the bigger international airports in Havana or Varadero, spending time in those places before extending their trip for a visit to Trinidad. It is also possible to fly into Havana, tour around Cuba with the intent of ending your travels in Trinidad, where you can commute to Santa Clara and fly directly to Florida. It’s always a good idea to keep the option of an open jaw air ticket in mind.
While a lot of travelers visit Trinidad for only a couple of days, there are some who choose to spend a week (or more) exploring the historic town, walking around the intriguing architecture, enjoying the white sandy beaches and making the most of the laid-back atmosphere you’ll find here.
The most common accommodation in Cuba is casa particulars. These are great private homestays that are identical to bed and breakfasts found around the world. It is a great way to experience the local life as you stay at a local Cuban’s house. All casa particulars will provide you with your own room, private bathroom, air conditioning, hot water, refrigerator and much more depending on the house.
Most casa particulars offer home-cooked meals from $4-$10 USD depending on what you want. This is a great opportunity to have a meal with a local Cuban family. Many of our hosts offered us breakfast for $3.00 and a dinner for $10.
We had our first casa particular owner book all of our stays through Cuba for us after we arrived in Havana but there is no need to book accommodation in Trinidad, Cuba in advance. If you arrive by bus at the Plaza Carillo there will be locals with flyers of rooms they have for rent in their casas.
Don’t be scared to talk to them, they are not scammers, they deal with tourists every day. Prices are what they are, so don’t haggle with them. You can expect to pay from $35-$45 per night for a decent room in a casa. If you are someone who does not like to deal with things like this, it is highly recommended to do your booking in advance.
We have visited Trinidad twice and each time we stayed at different casa particulars. Our first trip we stayed at Casa Santana.
Casa Santana was one of the nicest casa particulare we stayed in while traveling in Cuba for two weeks. The rooms were large with a private garden area. I loved having our own private refrigerator that was stocked with water and cold beer. Its location is one of the best in Trinidad, Cuba, just steps away from the popular Plaza Mayor.
Casa Santana **** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor
Trinidad hotels are categorized by different levels according to their facilities and price range, however, all of them are equally worth the money you spend. Below we have listed out the best options for accommodation in Trinidad, Cuba based on different needs.
Budget -for budget travelers, there are several hostel properties and holiday homes (commonly known as casa particulares) such as Casa Colonial el Patio and Hostal Marledy Y Miguel, who, for approximately $35 CUC a night, offer accommodation in a shared bedroom with AC, common kitchen area, bathroom with hot shower, patio, and in-house restaurant and bar.
Casa Colonial el Patio ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor
Hostal Marledy Y Miguel ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor
Mid-range – for something less basic, the lovely Hostal El Shadday ($65 CUC approx.) offers double and triple bedrooms with private bathrooms, AC, kitchenette, a beautiful terrace, a shared lounge area and an optional American breakfast.
Hostal El Shadday ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor
Likewise, Pedro Zerquera Street Rooms ($70 CUC approx.) provides a comfortable living experience in their air-conditioned double and triple bedrooms with private bathrooms and a kitchenette. They can also help with airport transfers and car rental services. An excellent breakfast is included in the room tariff.
Pedro Zerquera Street Rooms ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor
High-end – if you don’t have a strict budget and adore the idea of luxury travel, then Ana Hostal Shalom ($280 CUC approx.) and IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Trinidad – Adults only ($300 CUC approx.) are two of the best hotels in the city. These hotels should be booked in advance.
While Ana Hostal Shalom is an entire villa/house that can be rented by a group of travelers, IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Trinidad is a top hotel intended for guests who enjoy the finer things in life while on vacation.
Ana Hostal Shalom features a stunning terrace to enjoy views of the surrounding mountains while you sip on your morning coffee. The rooms are extremely cozy and are fitted with all modern facilities such as AC, refrigerator, and Wi-Fi.
Ana Hostal Shalom ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor
IBEROSTAR features luxurious guest rooms, a conference hall, in-house restaurant and bar, a grand lobby, and a delightful breakfast spread included in the tariff.
IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Trinidad ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor
Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide Tip: Many casa particulares will let you pay in USD or they are always willing to exchange your money for you in case the bank is not open.
Trinidad, Cuba is dotted with tons of restaurants serving both local and international cuisines. There are no fast food restaurants or western influence. While eating at any of these is an amazing experience, do indulge in a home-cooked Cuban meal at one of the casa particulares while traveling in the city. There’s no better way to try the flavors of Cuba.
Restaurant San Jose is the #1 restaurant in Trinidad Cuba according to Trip Advisor – the food is incredibly affordable and mouth-watering but expect to wait a while for a table due to its popularity.
Real-Café Restaurant is a good place for complete meals such as lunch and dinner – we recommend trying the lobster here.
For something more stylish, try dining at La Raddicion (reserve ahead) featuring exposed-brick interior, an amazing menu, and trendy-dressed waiters.
If you love a good BBQ then you MUST visit La Botija. Not only do they have live local bands echoing Cuban music from the walls, you’ll taste the most amazing BBQ skewers you’ve ever had in your life.
In the evenings the rule of thumb in Trinidad is to follow the sound of music and you’ll most likely end up at a great party for drinks and dancing. However, for something more certain and club-like, head to Disco Ayala – a club inside of a cave and regarded as the best in town. Its open every day and has a spectacular fire show around 01:00 AM. The club has 3 bars and 5 dance floors, and a $5 CUC cover charge (which includes a drink).
For something more light-hearted, walk to Plaza Mayor and find Casa de la Musica (it’s very easy to find). Buy yourself a mojito and sit on the stairs to enjoy live Cuban music and salsa performers. A $1 CUC is applicable to enter the Casa de la Musica.
Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guide).
Trinidad is filled with 11 notable historic sights that are primarily located around the Plaza Mayor, Trinidad’s iconic main square. Below we have listed out the top sights that you shouldn’t miss on your visit:
Plaza Mayor | Museo Historico Municipal | Maqueta de Trinidad | Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad | Museo Romantico | Museo de Arquitecture Trinitaria | Museo de Arqueotogia Guamuhaya | Galeria de Arte | Casa Temple de Santeria Yemaya | Museo Nacional de la Luchs Contra Bandidos | Iglesa de Santa Ana| Plaza Stana Ana | Taller Alfarero
Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guide).
Besides visiting the historical landmarks and admiring the architecture of the city, you’d be remiss to not stumble upon one of the many street markets where you can find local handmade souvenirs. These souvenirs will not be made in China and many will be unique and only found in Trinidad.
Arts & Crafts Market – this is one of the most popular tourist markets in Trinidad, Cuba. Located in front of the Casade la Trova, you can find souvenirs, handmade textiles and crochet work. Avoid buying any black coral or turtle-shell items. They are forbidden and will be confiscated at the airport.
Ceramics Market – when visiting Trinidad you must take a few hours out of your day and visit Taller Alfarero. Handmade pottery has put Trinidad on the map. Taller Alfarero is a large factory where you can view local artists hand making ceramics from a traditional potter’s wheel. It is also a great place for you to buy handmade ceramics for a reasonable price.
Casa del Habano – this is one of the best places in Trinidad Cuba to buy rum and cigars from. Skip the street hustlers who are not selling quality products.
Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide Tip: Keep in mind, you get what you pay for when you are buying cigars. Yes, you can find them on the street for just a few dollars, but they are not as good as the real thing.
Galeria La Paulet – this is one of the best places to buy local art. It has an interesting selection of probing, mainly abstract art that only can be found in Trinidad, Cuba.
Tienda Amelia Pelaez – this government store that’s located next to Plaza Mayor has a good selection of Cuban handicrafts and regular tourist souvenirs.
Taller Instrumentos Musicales – if you are into music and are looking for handmade musical instruments of your own, then don’t miss this place.
The following four view spots are seen in many iconic photographs of the city and if you are a travel photographer, these are the best spots in Trinidad to photograph the city. In addition to the best view spots of Trinidad Cuba, we have added a special location that you can not miss.
Hike to the top of the Radio Tower Hill – this short hike gives you full views of the city. Views can be limited at times due to the overgrown brush, but if you use caution you can wander off the path for unobstructed views. This is a great spot to be for sunset over the city.
Museo Historico Municipal Tower View – this is, in my opinion, the best place to photograph Trinidad. Climbing up its rickety steps gives you the classic view of clay-colored rooftops among the city landscape. This is a popular spot to go for sunset and it is not open all of the time. There is a private tour that offers you the chance to photograph the cityscape of Trinidad at night from the Museo Historico Municipal tower but you will need to ask about this at the Museo as there are no set times or days.
The Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos Tower View – located near the Plaza Mayor, Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos. Climbing up the bell tower is the second best view you can get of the city. While not quite the same as the Municipal Tower, it is a great alternative if you find the previously mentioned is closed during your visit. (This happened to us on our first visit to Trinidad.)
Classic Plaza Mayor Photo Spot (Galeria de Arte) – looking for the best view of Plaza Mayor? The classic photo spot is from the balcony of the Galeria de Arte. This is where you can get a full shot of the Plaza Mayor, Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad and the Museo Romantico.
BONUS: Cuba Flag Door – this iconic photo opportunity is located at the corner of Juan Manuel Marquez and Bolivar St. This is where there’s a large colorful doorway with a Cuban flag hanging in it.
Check out ==> Ultimate Travel Photography Gear List
There are endless places to visit and things to do in Trinidad and to best enjoy them it is recommended that you spend at least 2 to 4 nights in the city.
Here’s our list of the best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba:
- Take a stroll through Plaza Mayor – the epicenter of Trinidad which is lined with several restaurants, shopping avenues, and striking church compounds.
- Visit the Palacio Cantero (free) and go to the very top of the museum to get panoramic views of the city.
- Go on day trip to Cayo Blanco and spend your time snorkeling, swimming, and lounging in the middle of the Caribbean.
- Go hiking at Topes de Collantes, a gigantic Nature Preserve just outside the city which can be accessed via a horse ride or 4X4 vehicles. Swim at the various waterfalls within the park.
- Visit the valley of the sugar mills, also known as Valley de Los Ingenios. The farming grounds of almost 30,000 slaves during the 18th and 19th century, the valley is still used for sugar farming and makes for a pleasant day trip to learn about the history of the trade.
- Take a horseback ride to El Pilon Waterfall and enjoy the lush surrounding greenery.
- Swim in the soothing waters of El Nicho Waterfall – the most famous of its kind but the most difficult to get to. Alternatively, Vegas Grande is the most picturesque and Salto de Caubrni is the most recommended by locals.
- Visit a tobacco farm to see where the famous “Cuban” cigars (called tobacco here) come from.
- Rent a bicycle and go on an hour-long scenic ride to Playa Ancon. Stop to explore the fishing village of La Boca and swim in the cool waters of the private beach in-between La Boca and Playa Ancon.
- Walk around the old cobbled streets and stumble upon 1950’s vintage cars and radiantly colored doors.
How far are the beaches from Trinidad, Cuba?
- 15 min – 11 km from Playa Ancon to Trinidad, Cuba
How far is Parque Natural Topes de Collantes from Trinidad, Cuba?
- 24 min- 15.1 km from Parque Natural Topes de Collantes to Trinidad, Cuba.
How far is Los Ingenious Valley from Trinidad, Cuba?
- 26 min – 25.6 km from Los Ingenious Valley to Trinidad, Cuba.
How far is Vegas Grande Waterfall from Trinidad, Cuba?
- 32 min – 19.6 km from Vegas Grade waterfall to Trinidad, Cuba.
Check out ==> Hiking in Cuba – Top 5 Places to Hike
Who doesn’t love a good festival? I know we do while traveling. Many travelers plan their visits around the different festivals throughout the year. Visiting a city like Trinidad while a festival is going on can be a really special travel moment. Below are the can’t miss festivals in Trinidad, Cuba.
Semana de la Cultura – During this week there are lots of cultural, artistic and popular activities all around Trinidad. It is typical to experience activities like fairs, art exhibitions, music on the street and folk shows. When: Second week of January
Jose Marti’s Birthdate – Thousands of Cubans, youths, soldiers, members of the Cuban Communist Youth Union (UJC) and student organizations gather together in the Plaza Mayor to celebrate Jose Marti’s birthdate. When: January 28th
Trinidad Cross Procession – The way of the Cross Procession is a religious tradition that passes through the colonial cobblestone streets of Trinidad every year on Good Friday. As part of the Easter celebrations, the procession was originally designed to trick looting pirates and it follows a route marked by crosses. When: Good Friday
Eneida Batista’s Saint Party – African religious ceremony (Bembe or Saint Beat of Drum), due to the Eneida Batista’s devotion anniversary who was one of the oldest centers (people who are believed to be saints in these African religions). When: March 22nd
May Day Celebrations – The 1st of May is a special day all around Cuba. This is when Cuba honors workers of all classes and occupations, celebrates its socialism, and national pride. This is when you will see the most Cuban flags hanging around the town of Trinidad and if you are a photographer this is when you want to visit. There are cultural and music performances as well as leaders making speeches. Whether you are a supporter of Cuba’s politics or not, the occasion is worth seeing. When: May 1st every year. Where: Across all Cuba.
Cukalambiano Festival – Folklore celebration, music, dances and horse tournaments. When: May 3rd
Carnival – Parades take over the streets of Trinidad during Carnival. When: June
San Antonio – African religious ceremony (Bembe or Saint Beat of Drum) When: June 18th – 21st
Santa Cecilia (Patron Saint of the Music) – Activities begin with the curfew very early in the morning. During the day there are activities related to the music and groups playing on the streets. At night at the Santísima Trinidad Church, a special mass is given in which music interpretations and processions are made. When: November 22nd
Santa Barbara – Chango for santeros (people who are believed to be saints in these African religions). It is one of the main Orishas. Velada December 3rd; December 4th: Procession and Bembe (beat of a drum for Saints). When: December 3rd to 12th
Posadas – It is a Christmas celebration that consists of processions at night with children dressed like shepherds. They walk the streets of Trinidad singing Christmas songs. When: December 15 – 23rd
San Lazaro – Babalu Aye for santeros, it is one of the other principal Orishas. Procession and Bembe (beat of a drum for Saints). When: December 17th
Looking for the best tour of Cuba? Check out G Adventures, they offer 8 different tours.
Trinidad Cuba is a popular tourist town yet there are a few things that you should know beforehand:
- Cuba has two currencies – CUP and CUC. Exchange your money to CUC. Familiarize yourself with difference between the currencies and always check your change. It is not uncommon to pay in CUC and receive CUP in change, losing you a significant amount of money.
- Generally, Cuban electricity is 110V with the square American plug socket. Into the hostels, the electricity is 110v & 220v.
- By foot is the easiest way to explore the town. Wear good walking shoes.
- Pre-book everything to avoid disappointment/stress on your vacation – accommodation, bus tickets, car rentals.
- Carry small change and bring along sufficient cash. Do not rely on using your credit card.
Trinidad, Cuba is very safe for travelers. We had no issues during any time of day or night and we were never hassled on the streets while exploring. Some cities you don’t feel safe having your camera out in but Trinidad is not one of those cities. We walked around late into the night photographing the streets of Trinidad and we had no fears.
Is Trinidad Cuba safe? Yes
Is Trinidad Cuba safe for solo travelers? Yes
Is Trinidad Cuba safe for older travelers? Yes. Your only concern are the cobblestone streets that can be difficult to walk on.
Like most cities that are frequented by tourists, you only need to watch out for petty scams. Many of the scams in Cuba are pretty basic compared to other destinations in the world. Sadly, due to the fast-growing tourism, crime in Trinidad is growing. Below we list out some of the most common things you should be aware of when visiting.
Snatch & Grab – This is becoming more common in Trinidad. Never stroll around with your phone out in front of you. Never keep your purse or knapsack partly slung over your shoulder and never carry your camera in your hand without strapping it to your wrist or around yourself. Many snatch & grabs thieves work in pairs with one riding a bicycle and they target unsuspecting tourists.
Pickpockets – This happens in crowded areas around Trinidad, Cuba. They tend to target older travelers that travel in large tour groups. Keep your purse across your body and in front of you, with your hands on it, when passing through crowded areas.
Money Exchange – You should never exchange your money on the streets of Trinidad with locals. There are plenty of banks and ATM’s around. Keep in mind, counterfeit money does exist so familiarize yourself with how the money looks. There have been accounts where tourist have been given back counterfeit money at bars and clubs, so always check your money.
Credit Cards – Credit card scams do exist in Trinidad, Cuba. They are not as normal as money exchange scams but they are becoming more popular. Never let your credit card out of your sight. Always keep your carbon copies of your receipt and always check your balances regularly.
Restaurants and Bars – it always pays to check your receipt before paying. Many tourists have complained about restaurants and bars adding simple items like drinks on to their bill in Trinidad, Cuba. Another popular scam is fake menus. This is becoming less common but it has been known to happen.
Cigars Scams – The cigars you bought from your best new friend bartender/ guide/ cleaning lady or taxi driver who has a brother, father or uncle working at the cigar factory or farm in Trinidad are counterfeit. They weren’t taken from the factory. I’m not saying they are bad cigars and I’m not saying they aren’t a great deal but I AM saying they are simply 100% fake.
RoadSide Puncture – This is a scam to watch out for if you are driving to Trinidad. Do not accept help with a roadside puncture while traveling in Cuba. Some tourists have reported their items being stolen out of their car while locals helped them replace a tire on their rental car. Others have reported members puncturing their spare tire while they were distracted. It is best to repair your tire without any help around at all.
Something else to watch out for is hitchhikers puncturing your tire. They do this while they are talking to you for a ride. Once the tire is punctured they kindly offer a local garage that they know of that can replace the tire. Of course they local garage is in on it and they charge you an astronomical rate but by then it’s too late.
Just like most cities in Cuba banks and ATM’s can be difficult to find. Then when you do find one, the ATM does not work or the bank has a huge line out the front of the door. This is just the way it is in Cuba. Get used to it. If you plan on getting out money it is best to do when you have time to kill.
All ATM’s in Cuba should work with Visa and MasterCard from non-US aligned banks. Even though some banks are not American, they may still follow the US sanctions. It is best to check with your bank before you come to Cuba. We exchanged USD cash into Canadian before arriving in Cuba. We got a better exchange rate with Canadian than with USD. It is best to exchange your money at the international airport or in Old Havana when you arrive in Cuba.
Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide Tip: There are two main banks in Trinidad that have ATM’s. Cadeca and Surcrsal de Banco Popular de Trinidad.
Cuba is unlike any other place in the world. Most places that tourists visit have Wifi readily available. However in Cuba, this is not the case. Wifi is limited to most public areas. They call it hot spots and they have been installed all across Cuba. finding and traveling to these hot spots can be a daunting task and the service isn’t free, unlike most other countries.
Despite this, Cuba has one of the lowest rates of internet connectivity in the world. Even though this Wifi hotspot movement started in the beginning of 2015 the service isn’t readily available in many hotels, apartments, homes, cafes, etc. This can be frustrating to anyone traveling to Trinidad, Cuba. But here’s what you need to know about getting started with Wifi in Cuba.
There are two things that are required by the government to get online in Cuba: A prepaid NAUTA internet/ Wifi card, which are only sold in 1 hour and 5-hour increments, and access to a Wifi hotspot, which are normally located in a park or a modern hotel.
How to buy a prepaid internet/ wifi card – ETECSA stations are located throughout Trinidad and are typically easy to spot. Look for the buildings with the longest lines outside or ask any local where the nearest station is, they always know where to go. The process of buying a prepaid internet card in Cuba can be frustrating and take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how long the wait is.
Cubans move slowly at this process, so be prepared. Buying your Wifi card at an ETECSA station is much cheaper than buying your card off the street or at a hotel. We suggest buying more than one, just so you have them. It’s easier and it saves you the hassle of waiting again.
Trinidad Cuba Travel Guide Tip: Make sure you have your passport with you to buy your wifi Internet card in Cuba.
Prices vary from Hotels to NAUTA centers and you can be prepared to pay $1.50 USD per hour at a NAUTA center or as much as $4.00 USD per hour if you purchase at a hotel. One upside to buying at the hotel is you won’t have to wait in those long lines. So is your time worth it?
If you do decide to buy a NAUTA card from someone other than a NAUTA center there is a chance they could be fakes or they will not work. So make sure you are buying them from someone reputable. Be cautious of scammers selling what look to be real cards on the street. If they offer this great deal or if they have some story on how they have extras, don’t buy it.
Getting connected to the internet – Now that you have a card it’s time to find a local Wifi spot and surf the web. Except it’s not that easy. Even the simple process of logging on and off the internet in Cuba can be complicated. Once you’ve found a wifi location you will need to scratch off the back of the prepaid internet card to reveal your unique password.
Next, open the Wifi settings on your device and connect to the ETECSA network. Launch your web browser. A basic screen will appear asking you to enter a username and password. Once you log in a second screen will appear that shows how long you’ve been logged into your current session and how much total time you have on your Wifi card. From here you are connected, once you are done make sure you disconnect. This ensures that you won’t continue to be charged for minutes you aren’t using.
Government Limitations – Keep in mind, everyone must present their passport when purchasing a NAUTA card, this means everything you view online can be traced back to you. There’s plenty of forbidden sites that you will not be able to access while traveling in Cuba and that’s if normal sites even load. Speeds are slow so make sure you have lots of time on your hands if you want to send a simple email home.
There are three public Wifi locations in Trinidad and they are listed below:
- Parque Céspedes de Trinidad
- Casa de la Música. Trinidad.
- Clínica Internacional de Trinidad
Do you want to visit Cuba, but don’t know where to start? Why not check out G Adventures. They offer 8 different tours that visit the most popular destinations in Cuba. Maybe you don’t have the time to travel independently or maybe you find it is easier to book a tour that’s fully planned for you. Below are 4 of the best tours that include Trinidad, Cuba.
CUBA EXPLORER 9 days, Havana to Havana Explore a side of Cuba that few rarely get to experience on this nine-day adventure. Travel by private air-conditioned vehicle is well-paced, so you’re refreshed and ready to explore the island’s vibrant culture and tropical airs. Click to book your Cuba Explorer tour today with G Adventures.
CUBA COLONIAL 15 days, Havana to Havana The melody of horns floating through the air, classic cars parked in colonial squares, revolutionary statues – get over the resort wall and discover the real Cuba. Overnight in homestays for an immersive Cuban experience few travelers get to enjoy. Don’t just walk down the road less traveled – dance down it. Viva la Revolución! Click to book your Cuba Colonial tour today with G Adventures.
CENTRAL CUBA ADVENTURE 8 days, Havana to Havana Enjoy the sights and sounds of central Cuba on this week-long adventure to some of the famous sites that have drawn outsiders to this magical island over the last several decades. Visit monuments to the icons of the revolution and experience a side of Cuba few rarely get to see by foregoing hotels most nights for local homestays. Click to book your Central Cuba Adventure tour today with G Adventures.
CUBAN RHYTHMS 8 days, Havana to Havana For too many people, Cuba is nothing more than a beach resort. That’s crazy; the island practically buzzes with energy and you should do likewise – get moving. Hit the beach and explore the outdoors, then connect with the locals in homestays and make friends for life as you hit the sites with other young people like yourself. Boring? Impossible! Click to book your Cuban Rhythms tour today with G Adventures.
Do You Speak Spanish?
If you don’t speak Spanish you might often find yourself at a loss in Cuba, as the majority of people don’t speak any English. Without Spanish it’s difficult to arrange things, but not impossible. Why not learn to speak Spanish? This will help you a ton while exploring Cuba.
Rosetta Stone offers the best tools for you to learn Spanish within a day. While it is easy enough to teach yourself basic phrases like hello, good morning, how are you, please and thank you; we’ve found this is not enough to really get the most out of your travels in Cuba.
More on Cuba:
Resources For Planning Your Trip To Cuba
Recommended Guide Books For Cuba: THE BEST ***** Lonely Planet Cuba (Travel Guide)
The Best Cuba Map: Cuba (National Geographic Adventure Map)
- StreetSmart Havana Map by VanDam – City Street Map of Havana – Laminated folding pocket size city travel map (English and Spanish Edition)
- StreetSmart Cuba Map by VanDam – Map of Cuba – Laminated folding pocket size country travel guide with detailed city street maps
Why not learn to speak Spanish? Learn Spanish quick and easy with Rosetta Stone.
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Looking for the best tour of Cuba? Check out G Adventures, they offer 8 different tours.
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