TRINIDAD AND TOPES DE COLLANTES
WHAT TO DO IN TRINIDAD? MY JOURNEY
View from the museum against bandits
Museum against bandits
Historical city center
Historical city center
Trinidad is a city with a magnificent architectural style! Facades of all colors, cobbled pedestrian streets, restaurants and bars with music, beautiful little souvenir or handicraft shops. There is a great atmosphere in the historic center, you can feel it right away. It’s nice to get lost in these streets during the day.
There are several places to see in the historic city center, including the Plaza Major. It’s the prettiest of the main squares with its Church of the Santísima (Iglesia de la Santísima Trinidad). If you look closely, to the right of the church there are stairs with tables and chairs set up outside. It’s actually one of the best bars in town, la casa de la música! It doesn’t look like much, but from 9 p.m., a music group plays there, and many people come to dance salsa (tourists and locals). At the end of the show, they ask for a tip of 100 Cuban pesos. And it’s well deserved! There’s a great atmosphere! Don’t miss this evening. Ask at the bar when they organize shows to organize your evenings accordingly.
In the city center, there are two must-see museums. From Plaza Major, you’ll see a small pedestrian street that leads to a yellow bell tower overlooking the city. This is the museum against bandits (Museo nacional de la lucha contra bandidos). This traces the war against the revolutionaries of Che and Fidel Castro. There are several rooms with exhibits, but unfortunately the explanations are only in Spanish. After your tour (about thirty minutes), climb the stairs to have a beautiful view of Trinidad. But for me, the best view is from the historical museum (museo de Historia Municipal). Like many museums in Cuba, the explanations are only in Spanish. But the interior is just beautiful! Colorful walls and a super beautiful courtyard. Just for the beauty of the place, it’s worth it. There are a few exhibits. And don’t miss the view from this museum, which gives a great view of the city center and the city’s iconic bell tower.
To eat, I recommend the Taberna La Botija restaurant. So yes, the prices are touristic but I want to say like everywhere in the city center, so you want to eat in a good one! And there’s a musical atmosphere with a group depending on the time you eat there. I recommend the burritos, not really a Cuban specialty, but so good!
From downtown Trinidad, you can take the bus to one of the area’s beautiful beaches, Playa Ancón. To achieve this, it’s simple. Get a bus ticket from Cubatur, and they will tell you the times and location of the bus stop. It’s about 20/30 minutes to get there. It’s a nice beach to land and relax by the water. If you don’t have the time, it’s not a must. The restaurants have tourist prices, it obviously remains cheap for some people, but for example the lobster is clearly not at the local price as we could have had in Cayo Jutías.
Price entrance to the museum against the bandits: 120 Cuban pesos
Entrance fee to the historical museum: 240 Cuban pesos
Return price by bus to Playa Ancón: €5 return
WATERFALLS OF TOPES DE COLLANTES
Vegas Grande waterfall
Me in front of Vegas Grande waterfall
El Cubano waterfall
One of my favorite waterfalls in Cuba is the Vegas Grande waterfall! It’s the highest in the Topes de Collantes park with its 210 meters. To get there, count about thirty minutes by car or taxi. If you take a taxi, it will drop you off at the start of the hike and pick you up 3/4 hours later at the same place. Don’t hesitate to negotiate the return time with the driver. You’ll walk for a few minutes in the forest until you arrive to a house. This is the entrance to the waterfall. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and costs €10. You can buy the ticket in advance at Cubatur, which is better because if they don’t have networks when you go there, you won’t be able to pay by card. You have a short walk to a small cave. Then stop at a beautiful viewpoint over the valley. It’s after that that serious things begin. A fairly significant drop awaits you to access the waterfall. You will descend several meters until you see this huge waterfall! It’s impressive! Streams of water in height, it’s incredible! You can swim near the waterfall. The water was brown and cold when we were there. But swimming near this waterfall is a must! Don’t get too close to the waterfall as there are lots of bats right behind it. The return is a little hard because you go back up all the way. Count about 2 hours round trip by foot.
Another one that I loved was the El Cubano waterfall. You can go there by taxi or on foot (2h). Be careful, on the map it will show you different paths to get there. Be sure to take the path to the right when you see the “Canopy Tour” sign along the road. Walk along the river until you reach a restaurant (really at the end of the road, there is one in the middle but it’s not this one). Just like the Vegas Grande waterfall, it costs 10€ and you can buy the ticket in advance at Cubatur. He will check your tickets so that you can continue on your way. You cross suspension bridges and a small river. Then you go to a house where a person will accompany you to the waterfall. Once there, go to the small viewpoint to see the small waterfall up close! The water is transparent! That’s wonderful! You can swim, and even jump from a rock because in some places the depth is about 9m. You can swim in a cave, not far from the waterfall. It’s very beautiful! We could stay there for hours. The sun gradually arrives on the waterfall during the day, it’s very pleasant.
For both waterfalls, I recommend going as soon as they open before the guided groups arrive. You will be more relaxed and will be able to take full advantage of it.
Return taxi to the Vegas Grande waterfall: €50 regardless of the number of people you are. Cubatur offered this excursion for €30 but only on certain days. And that allowed us to go there as soon as it opened with no one there for 1 hour.
Entrance to the Vegas Grande waterfall: €10
Entrance to El Cubano waterfall: €10
TAKE A DAY TRIP TO TOPES DE COLLANTES
The car of the excursion
View from the mirador del Caribe
Swing at the mirador del caribe
El Rocio waterfall
Topes de Collantes is a protected area 200 sq. km, and is divided into several parts. The park is super beautiful, and I recommend taking a trip to the park. So it’s a small budget but the visit is good. We took the Guanayara excursion with Cubatur, the cheapest agency in Trinidad. The excursion departs daily with a minimum number of people. You can do it independently but depending on the number of people you are, it’s not necessarily financially profitable.
Meet at 9 a.m. in front of the agency to leave in a big open jeep with metal seats. We feel the degraded road on these seats haha. The first stop is at the mirador del caribe. A super nice view of the whole valley and the coast! That’s wonderful! You even have swings to take full advantage of the view. Then, direction the village of Topes de Collantes. A self-sufficient village that has everything it needs. There is no visit to the village but you go through it by car. The next stop is at the coffee house. Because yes, Topes de Collantes is a region known for its coffee. The guide will explain how coffee is harvested and made. As well as how the sale of coffee works in Cuba. I don’t drink coffee but the people who were with me found it very good. After a short drive, we arrive at the start of our walk. The guide stops at several places to show us the flora and fauna. It was quite interesting and different from what I did in TAKE A BREAK IN BARACOA. After several minutes of walking, you can see the El Rocio waterfall. Like all the waterfalls in the park, it’s super beautiful! Wider than the others. The water isn’t at all deep there, but you go to a small waterfall with a large pool where you can swim for a good thirty minutes. Then you walk another 45 minutes in the park to go to the restaurant. This part of the excursion is the prettiest. You walk along a river, it’s super nice. The walk will have lasted 2h30 in total, including swimming time.
The breakfast is quite basic but quite substantial. Then return to the agency at around 3 p.m. / 4 p.m.
Price of the excursion with transport, guide, entrances, lunch and some drinks: 47€
Trinidad was a real favorite. The city is very cute and pleasant to walk around. The Topes de Collantes National Park is a beauty! It’s worth going there, it’s beautiful!
WHEN TO GO?
I was there around the beginning of September and the weather was good. It was sunny and humid but no heavy rain.
I would say that 4 days is really the minimum to enjoy the city and what is around.
WHERE TO SLEEP? MY ACCOMMODATION
CASA ANGEL Y BEATRIZ
Antonio Maceo, 305, Trinidad
WhatsApp Contact: Angel, +5354356055
Price: €10/night for a room with a double bed and a single bed.
A really good casa particulare! You have your room with private bathroom. You also have access to a small inner courtyard. The breakfast (5€) is very good. Internet is not really good but I heard it’s like that in the whole city. I really recommend!
MY 3 TIPS TO VISIT TRINIDAD
- Compare the prices of the excursions and the prices if you go alone because sometimes it can be financially more interesting to take the excursion.
- Try to travel with other people to share the costs of excursions or transport especially.
- Try to be there on a Friday or Saturday night to enjoy the atmosphere of the casa de la música.