The gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage city of Trinidad is a must-see on any trip to Cuba. There’s a whole lot of history here that has shaped the city and some stunning architecture in the centre. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to get out of the city. So leave your casa particular or hotel behind and let’s go and explore some of the best days trips from Trinidad, Cuba. As you’ve come this far along the island of Cuba, it’s worth taking the time to explore some of the things to do near Trinidad, there are some great excursions, beaches and historic places to visit.
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If you’re to spend more time in Trinidad, then a great thing to do is to get out of the city. The main things to do close to Trinidad revolve around either the Caribbean Sea, the nearby National Park or the sugar plantation history. Here are our recommendations of what to see and do near Trinidad, Cuba.
Best things to do near Trinidad Cuba
Using Trinidad as a base is a great way to see some of the historical areas close to the city and also explore some of the nicest beaches in Cuba too. As with most things to see and do in Cuba it is possible to arrange day trips from Trinidad once you’ve arrived, but it’s so much easier to plan it ahead of time. If you’re able to plan and arrange ahead of time any day trips from Trinidad that you want to take, then simply ask at your Casa Particular when you arrive. You’ll likely pay a premium for organising things last minute and you may only be able to arrange Spanish only speaking drivers and guides, but this is Cuba and anything and everything is always possible.
Visit the Valle de Los Ingenios from Trinidad Cuba
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Valle de Los Ingenios is a lush green valley of sugar cane fields palm trees and surrounding mountains. The name, Valle de Los Ingenios, means the valley of the sugar mills and it’s here you’ll find relics from the sugar cane plantations and sugar mills of the area. This is the number 1 day trip from Trinidad, Cuba that isn’t a beach visit.
At its peak, its thought that more than 30,000 slaves were working in the plantation and mills here, at what was the sugar capital of the world. This is the area that contributed the most to the wealth that was concentrated in Trinidad. There were once 60 sugar mills here.
There is a tourist steam train that runs (occasionally) from Trinidad and breaks down often. If the train is running then it leaves Trinidad every day at 0930 and leaves from Manaca Iznaga at 1330. The journey time by train is around 30 minutes. Tickets for the round trip cost US$10, payable in local currency (read our guide to Cuban currency here) and you can buy them from any tour operator in town, or at the train station, which is half a mile from central Trinidad, on Calle Antonio Guiteras Final. Alternatively, check with your Casa Particular owner. If the train is not running then a replacement bus may run for US$19 – again check with your Casa Particular owner.
However, because of all the uncertainty about trains and buses, the best way to visit the Valle de Los Ingenios from Trinidad is to take a tour. Local buses and colectivos don’t necessarily come here – so if you want to take a shared taxi – a colectivo, get a group together, or take an organized tour. The points of interest in the Valle de Los Ingenios that you’ll want to see are:
- The Mirador de La Loma Del Puerto’s – this lookout gives you great views of the entire valley.
- The Manaza Iznaga Tower – this 44-metre high (147 feet) tower has great views and was previously used to both watch slaves at work in the fields and also spot runaway slaves. From here you can see the remnants of the main house and climb the tower. There was once a huge bell hung there that tolled for the slaves in the fields signalling the beginning and end of their working days.
- Casa Guachinango – an 18th-century house owned by the Borrell family – there’s a restaurant here that you may wish to visit for lunch. You’ll also be able to see the local River Ay here.
Visit the Topes de Collantes National Park from Trinidad
The Topes de Collantes National Park is on the doorstep of Trinidad, Cuba. These encompass Cuba’s second-highest mountain range (after the Sierra Maestra), the Sierra del Escambray. The Topes de Collantes National Park covers 68 square miles and is a great cool refuge from the heat of Trinidad. You can take a 4×4 tour to the Topes de Collantes nature reserve, or there are a variety of hiking trails here, waterfalls to visit (and swim in) and it’s possible also to visit on horseback.
Hike to the Salto Del Caburni Waterfall as a day trip from Trinidad
The most challenging and most popular trail in the Topes de Collantes and worthy of mention on its own is the 8-kilometre round trip hike to the Salto Del Caburni waterfall. The trail starts at the Casa de La Gallega (you can pick up snacks and lunch there too) and finishes at the waterfall, which drops some 246ft (75 metres). The swimming hole is refreshing, to say the least. The trail to the Salto Del Caburni is well marked and skirts through palm, pine and eucalyptus trees. The trail is often muddy and is narrow with sharp ascents and descents and is challenging.
Visit Playa Ancon from Trinidad
One of the most famous beaches near Trinidad, this white sand beach is easily reached by taxi colectivo or (perhaps a little less easily by bike). Hotels line the beach here and have restaurants where you can grab lunch or drinks. The sea is crystal clear and gloriously blue – if you don’t have snorkel gear, then rent some from your Casa Particular – if they don’t have any, they’ll know someone who has!
Prebook this fabulous trip to Playa Ancon from Trinidad – you can prepay it – and so save your cash in Cuba, but you’ll also get EIGHT hours of free time in Playa Ancon. You’ll be transported in a Classic Car – and believe me you’ll feel like a king or a queen travelling in one of those. Book now and pre plan at least one of your Trinidad trips!
Playa Ancon is about 12 kilometres (8 miles) from Trinidad, located on the Ancon Peninsula. The white sand beach stretches for 2 miles at the end of a peninsula. There is a coral reef just offshore and the beach stretches around 4 kilometres.
There’s good snorkelling here and also diving at around 30 dive sites. You can pick up a tour to Playa Ancon for snorkelling or diving from the Brisas del Mar Trinidad and any of the Playa Ancon hotels. You’ll pay around US$45.
If you do spend the day on the beach be sure to secure your valuables. We use and recommend portable travel safes. Here’s the best portable travel safes for Cuba.
If you go to Playa Ancon from Trinidad by taxi it will take about 15 minutes. Cycling from Trinidad to Playa Ancon takes about 40-45 minutes. If you go for a bike rental, then test everything is working before you set off – organise through your casa particular. In the unlikely event that they can’t provide one, go to Hostal Victor and ask there. If you cycle to Playa Ancon you should stop via the slightly longer more scenic route of the small village of La Boca (we stayed here it is gloriously quiet after the tourist throng of Trinidad!). You may need to pay a small fee to rent a sunshade and have someone look after your bikes, but it’s not bad for a day out at the beach!
If you want to go further afield, take a boat trip from Playa Ancon to Cayo Blanco, where you can dive and snorkel the reef there.
Go Horse Riding in The Parque El Cubano Natural Park from Trinidad
Take a half-day trip from Trinidad to the magnificent El Cubano Natural Park. Leaving your casa particular or hotel at 0900 you’ll be taken by bus to meet your horse for the trip. And don’t worry you’ll be given basic training and assistance if you’ve not ridden much before. Ride through the forest to a waterfall, where you can take an hour of relaxation and a dip in the pool under the falls. Ride then to a restaurant, where you’re free to eat lunch and then return to where you started and head back to Trinidad by 1400.
Visit Cayo Blanco from Trinidad, Cuba
Boats to Cayo Blanco depart from the Trinidad Marina, which is actually located at Playa Ancon, so you’ll need to check when you book a trip from Trinidad to Cayo Blanco whether your transport to the marina is included or whether you’ll need to take a taxi. Most trips to Cayo Blanco depart via catamaran from the marina at 0900 to 0930 and include the use of snorkelling gear. There is usually a bar on board and lunch is included. The reef here is lovely.
Visit La Boca as a day trip from Trinidad, Cuba
If you’ve stayed in Trinidad but want to get away from the city and explore places a little more local, then rent a bike or grab a taxi to La Boca. You’ll pay between US$5-8 for a taxi in pesos. La Boca means “the mouth” and it’s the mouth of the river on the coast. It’s a small village, with several Casa Particulars, a few local bars and one or 2 restaurants. It’s got a very local vibe and it’s much more chilled out than either Trinidad or Playa Ancon. You can swim and snorkel here from the shore.
Final Words on Trinidad Cuba Day Trips
Whether you base yourself in Trinidad itself, or the pretty coastal hamlet of La Boca, you’re in a great location to see some of Cuba’s history, great outdoors and stunning coastline. So we hope you’ll manage to spend not just some time in Trinidad but exploring the area near Trinidad too.
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