Total distance travelled: 32,953.3 kilometres (20,467.89 miles)
Everybody we’ve spoken to who’s already been there have loved it, many listing it as their favourite destination on the whole island.
So despite the whirlwind nature of our visit, we devoted two of our nights to this underpopulated (about 50,000 people live there) UNESCO listed city.
Incidentally, 2014 just so happens to also be its 500th birthday, so our timing was certainly momentous!
Instead of getting there through Viazul, the trans-island bus carrier (there is the local Omnibus service, however it is recommended that tourists stick with Viazul), we again engaged the services of a Taxi, or to be more precise, he engaged us!
That is how we found ourselves squeezed into the back seat of an old 1950’s gas guzzler (with its lack of badging and my lack of knowledge, I have no idea what type of classic vehicle it was) trundling down a bumpy road on our way out of Cienfuegos.
A couple of Spanish speaking tourists had been collected along the way, but even with its gargantuan sized boot (or possibly trunk for any North American readers), it meant I was forced to squeeze my backpack underneath my feet.
Thankfully for my legs, it was only around an hour before we found ourselves deposited on the roughly cobbled streets of Trinidad.
Our casa particular back in Cienfuegos had suggested another place for us to stay in the next city along our journey, so it was some surprise for our new hostess to find us on her doorstep, long before the scheduled arrival of any bus service (we’re fairly certain she would have been informed of our impending arrival in town by our previous host).
Nevertheless, we were happy enough with the room on offer, so got to work on forming our first impressions of the town and assessing the options available for lunch (our walk from where the taxi had deposited us outside the bus station was only 100m from where we found our casa, so we hadn’t seen much of the place).
I’ll make a note at this point that it was also a pretty hot day. One of those hot days where you feel hungry, but not one of the three of us really had an inkling of what we might desire (and had we had any desire, being Cuba, it probably wasn’t going to be found).
Eventually we found an elevated terrace, where we guzzled a couple of cold beers and shared a couple of pizzas (Cuban pizzas, so not really loaded with toppings, or even a tomato paste… or sauce for that matter…)
It’s a hard one to assess is Trinidad.
Undoubtedly, it’s a beautiful place, but again, like Cienfuegos (perhaps due to the heat), it was very sleepy for somewhere that is usually talked up by travellers as one of the highlights of the country.
I wouldn’t hesitate to call it beautiful, but the problem we quickly encountered (having settled on two days here long ago), was what to do!
We identified pretty early in the piece which museums we were interested in visiting, and due to the fairly flat (there were a few gentle inclines) nature of the place, the greatest challenge was presented mainly by uneven cobbles.
In hindsight, it was probably the perfect opportunity to get some laundry done, however it didn’t cross our minds at the time!
From this assessment, don’t for moment, get the impression that this small city isn’t beautiful, it is. We even have friends that we know who’ve spent a week here, so really, there is a charm that appeals to many.
It is obviously well geared for the tourist traffic that inevitably flows through here as one of the country’s most fabled destinations, with whole streets devoted to stalls of handicrafts and souvenirs.
A lot of it was the same sort of stuff you’ll spy across the breadth of the country, however they did display amongst their wares an assortment of fabrics woven into tablecloths we didn’t espy anywhere else on our Cuban adventures.
These impressed enough, that Julie, Sarah’s mother purchased a neat little ensemble for her dining room back home!
The day before departure, we sought out the Viazul office to make our onwards reservations for Camaguey (although no payment was necessary until the ticket collection upon check-in), sought some casa recommendations from our host, before we bid farewell to Trinidad.
The beautiful, yet slightly underwhelming Cuban city, not the Caribbean island…
* Buses from Cienfuegos would normally cost $6.00 CUC per person, however we agreed on the same fare with a local taxi driver for a much earlier and more convenient departure time (the trip takes about an hour).
* Our casa particular, Casa de Martha Martinez Lugones, cost $25.00 CUC per night for 3 people.