| 6 min read
How much time in Trinidad?
Trinidad is a relatively small city that you could easily visit in one day, yet there are plenty of reasons to extend your stay. Apart from exploring the wonderful historic city center, you could also include a visit to the natural park Topes de Collantes or Valle de los Ingenios, chill at the Playa Ancón beach, take a salsa or a cocktail course, or go out and party in an underground cave. Yes, you read that right.
We stayed four days in Trinidad, which we felt was about the right amount of time. Nonetheless, it was not enough to include all the activities the region has to offer. Given that all the excursions are relatively expensive, we decided to pick a few, which gave us a general idea of what Trinidad and its surroundings look like.
This is what our four-day planning looked like:
- Day 1 : Visit the city by ourselves
- Day 2 : Explore Trinidad via a ‘Modern tour’ and relax at Playa Ancón
- Day 3: Salsa and cocktail course via Casa de Norge, go out in the underground disco Ayala
- Day 4: Hike in the natural park Topes de Collantes and celebrate New Year’s eve
Where to stay?
We stayed at Casa de Norge, a beautiful casa run by the Norwegian Marianne and her Cuban husband Norge (Isn’t that a match made in heaven?). They’ve bought a run-down house and transformed it into a marvelous guesthouse with a cozy patio and an amazing rooftop terrace. The place is so nice you can spend hours in the hammock while reading a good book and sipping from a cocktail. When you’re ready to explore the area, Marianne and Norge can help you arrange your excursions, or offer one of their own courses, such as the ‘modern tour’, a salsa course or a cocktail course.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Trinidad
Relatively close to Havana and replete with lively bars and restaurants, Trinidad is a great place to celebrate New Year’s. After dining out at a fancy place, you’ve got several nice pubs to choose from where you can go out and party all night long.
Our hosts from Casa de Norge had organized a large and festive meal for all their guests and friends, thereby proving that Cuban food can be delicious when properly prepared. The patio was festively decorated and the table was decked with a variety of dishes such as chicken, pork, salad, two kinds of rice, yucca, a pasta salad… Although the guests were numerous, they weren’t able to finish all the food. There was no lack of drinks neither. Whereas Marianne and Norge already had a large collection of liquors, the guests had brought more wine and rum too. I felt drunk already by just looking at the huge amount of alcohol. When the effects of the drinks set in, the large table was moved aside to make room for a dance floor. After practicing my newly acquired salsa moves with a Cuban guest, I managed to drag Bart on the dance floor too!
We continued the party at El Rincón de la salsa, which is known as the bar where the best salsa dancers of Trinidad go out. Norge had ordered a large bottle of rum to share, which did help to get everyone from our group on the dance floor quickly. Norge even climbed on stage to throw a little dance contest calling people from different nationalities on stage to demonstrate their dance moves. When ‘los belgas’ were called up, the unthinkable happened: Bart climbed on stage with me and demonstrated his hip-shaking moves. Up to this day, I still regret there is no video footage of that exceptional moment! I remember that afterwards there was a lot of dancing, but the rest of the evening is a bit blurry… I blame the rum.
Traveling cheaply from Sancti Spiritus to Trinidad?
After a first successful camion ride from Santa Clara to Sancti Spiritus, we decided to repeat the experience to travel from Sancti Spiritus to Trinidad. We went to the bus station early in the morning, where things worked slightly different than in Sancti Spiritus. Upon arrival you need to get a piece of paper with a number, which tells you your number in line. Surprisingly, there was a time table, according to which the camiones went every hour. It turned out we had just missed the one from 8:50 AM, so we waited for the next one at 9:50 AM. Camiones for various destinations showed up, but the one for Trinidad didn’t. The amount of waiting passengers had grown that much that they wouldn’t all be able to get on the bus. When I informed with a Cuban lady who was waiting for the same bus, she recognized me because I stood behind her in line to get a number. As we compared numbers, it turned out she had received #155 and #156 for herself and her son, whereas we had received #201 and #202. That didn’t make any sense! Had the lady at the ticket desk given us a higher number on purpose to let us wait longer? The Cuban lady didn’t understand it herself and ripped her paper in half, keeping #155 for herself and giving #156 to us. That was such a kind thing to do. When the bus would arrive, at least we were the next ones behind her to get on the bus.
At 9:50 AM there was still no camion, and at 10:50 AM neither… As no one bothered to communicate anything, people just had to draw their own conclusions and keep on waiting for an undetermined time. But no one seemed to really care. My frustrations started to grow though. When there was still no camion at 11:50 AM, I felt pissed and went looking for other options. The Viazul station was nearby, but the bus had already left early in the morning. A private taxi to Trinidad would cost 15 CUC, which was very expensive compared to the price of the camion, so I decided to wait just a little longer. Ten more minutes…
Finally, at 12:25 AM, when the camion for Trinidad had been signaled in town, everyone gathered in front of the door that granted access to the gate. Given that the first number was #152 and we had #156, we didn’t worry too much about getting on the bus. Which was a very naïve thought. When the bus arrived, everyone started pushing and shoving. Although an officer was checking the numbers, their importance was insignificant as the order was not respected. Number #160 had already passed and we were still trying to get through with our #156. When we finally got through, the door went shut behind us. The rest of the crowd had to wait for the next bus.
What a horrible organization. Although we were the first ones in the bus station, we wouldn’t have gotten on the bus if the kind lady hadn’t given us her number. Not to mention the excessive waiting time and complete lack of communication. If the bus wouldn’t have come, no alternatives would’ve been offered. But the Cuban people didn’t let those futilities upset them. Unlike us, they’ve been trained in waiting, and they’ve become damn good at it.
From Trinidad to Cienfuegos with Viazul
We booked our Viazul bus ticket to Cienfuegos in the Trinidad bus station. A ticket costs 6 CUC per person and the ride takes about 1:30 hour.
Do you have questions? Did you experience something similar? Did you notice a mistake? Please share!