The Cuban city of Trinidad, considered one of the best colonial cities in all of America, remains the preferred destination in central Cuba. Here are eight things to do in Trinidad that will ensure you do not miss the details and culture of a town that has barely changed in the last century.
A mojito in El Regidor
When the afternoon falls through the window of El Regidor bar, in the street of Simón Bolívar, chords of the new Cuban trova come out. They are produced by the guitar and the voice of Israel Moreno, a local singer, a Cuban music scholar and a great conversationalist. It has a voice similar to that of Silvio Rodríguez and an erudition and verbal incontinence compatible with that of the Comandante. When she sings poetry and before each song, she delights the parish with an extensive introduction to the song that she will interpret that far exceeds in time the song itself. Better, because it gives time to taste the mojito between theme and theme. Usually it is daily, from 15 until the closing of the premises, surrounded by a parish of unconditional, travelers who came to hear him by chance one day and repeat already throughout his stay in Trinidad.
On the steps
During the day, despite the suffocating heat, the streets of Trinidad are a hotbed of visitors. Then, in the middle of the afternoon, everyone disappears as if by magic. Until the edge of the 22.00, as activated by a spring, outsiders and locals begins to leave again from their hiding places to fill the stairs of the House of Music, on one side of the Plaza Mayor. At this time a live performance of Cuban interpreters begins daily. Trova, son, salsa, timba, mambo or chachachá come together in an environment full of young people and sensuality. Environment secured until after midnight.
A guest house
Before the anonymous hotels of nearby Ancon beach, vulgar and predictable like all beach ones, it is better to stay in one of the many traditional Cuban houses authorized to welcome guests in the historic center. True institutions of local life, all have more than a century behind them and beautiful patios full of pots to dine or have breakfast. There are more than 300 legal (illegal, not known), marked with a blue arrow; They cost between 25 and 30 convertible pesos and they also serve breakfast and dinner to the guests. Find one as close as possible to the Plaza Mayor and make it cool, because none has air conditioning. There is no reservation center but it is easy to find a room even in high season.
Close to the tower
It is not a bell tower but the tower that tops the old Cantero palace, in Simón Bolívar street, one of the most splendid and luxurious of those that Trinidad had. From the top you have the best view of the grid of cobblestone streets that form this colonial jewel; you can also see the ruins of the hermitage of La Candelaria, at the foot of the Cerro de la Vigía, and the coffee plantations and banana plantations that flood the surroundings of the city with green. At the bottom towards the south, you can see the sea and the Ancón beach. It costs two convertible pesos.
An early walk
Starting at eleven o’clock in the morning, the tourist buses start arriving from Ancón beach or from Cienfuegos and the streets become a theme park. But until that hour, Trinidad is fresh and silent, like the provincial city and rich come unless it was. At that time, the women pave the sidewalks, the men go horseback on the way to some farm, the shops still stretch and the children run to the school. The golden light and the warm temperature collaborate with this theater of Cuban life in its purest state.
Son and salsa to dance
A session in the Casa de la Trova. Or in the Palenque de los Congos Reales. Or in any of the many places where live music plays daily. Trinidad is the city of music, activity somewhat maligned by the tourist invasion, it is true, but if you do not hurry and know how to choose it is possible to attend concerts of good Cuban groups. In the Casa de la Trova (Echerri, 29) they program traditional Cuban salsa and rhythms; the entrance costs a Cuban convertible peso (CUC) and has a good shop where you can buy CDs from local artists. In the ruins of the Brunet theater every night there is Afro-Cuban music; It is on Antonio Maceo Street, 461, but it has no loss: its thunderous sound floods to the last corner of Trinidad. In the Palenque you can also hear good Afro-Cuban music (free admission).
Dinner at the Sun and Son
It is one of the most famous palates (home-made restaurants) in the city. A pleasant colonial house of 1830, in the street of Simón Bolívar, 283, with tables in the patio where they serve simple but quality Cuban cuisine, with one of the best old clothes of the area. They make it with pork meat marinated with lemon and pumpkin given the impossibility of getting the veal on the whole island. Cocktails and wines of the country and a careful service. Infinitely better than the state restaurants around the Plaza Mayor, where they perpetrate the recipes and meats tend to rival in bloom with the mummy of Tutankhamun.