The city of Trinidad, in Cuba, had over 30,000 residents during the 1800s, a significant population at the time. This was because there were over 70 sugar mills in the area feeding the European’s love for sugar. Criollo landowners, through the hard work of African slaves, turned Trinidad into the center of the sugar universe after the Haitian Revolution of 1791.
Because of its relatively isolated location, there hasn’t been much construction over the years in Trinidad, resulting in one of the best-preserved colonial towns in the Caribbean. Trinitarios have found great pride in their simple façades and cobblestone streets where bright colors seem to adorn every wall in celebration of their colonial heritage.
A day exploring Trinidad often begins outside the town, in the Valley of the Sugar Mills. Here, local experts share the history and significance of the many ruins that dot the valley. The scale of the industry cannot be truly appreciated until you see the valley from the tower at Manacas Iznaga. The valley and the city together made it into UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1988.
Lunch is included in the town center, to make it easier to explore further the historic streets and museums, enjoy a coffee with a Trinitarian artist, and hit the roadside markets that show off the embroideries and pottery Trinidad is so famous for. While in town, there’s time to explore the trendy Gato Negro art studio before or after dinner to enjoy a cocktail in the presence of contemporary works by local talents. A perfect day in Trinidad usually ends with a visit to Casa de la Musica in Plaza Mayor.