Trinidad, a colourful town located on the south coast of Cuba in the province of Sancti Spiritus is filled to the brim with olde-worlde charm and colonial splendor. Located between the lush greens of the majestic Escambray mountain range and the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, Trinidad has been a World Heritage Site since 1988.
It's no surprise why people flock to Trinidad after you catch a glimpse of the perfectly preserved old town with its open-air museum of colonial architecture, when wealthy sugarcane plantation owners lived in sprawling mansions. But it's not just its physical beauty that makes Trinidad one of Cuba's top destinations, it's the array of things to do in the surrounding area that adds to its appeal for adventure-seekers.
Bike Ride to Playa Ancon
Whilst you could easily take a taxi to Playa Ancon, a bike ride is the best way to set your eyes on beautiful scenery and burn off some calories before lazing on the beach all day drinking from coconuts! We rented bikes for day, but we didn't realise how heavy and clumsy they would be to ride until our journey had begun! Nevertheless, we embraced the extra challenge in the heat and rewarded ourselves with several stops to catch our breath along the way. The ride is a leisurely 1 hour, 12km (8 mile) pedal from town and you'll need to make sure you take the fork right at Casilda on your way to the beach.
The roads are pretty flat and smooth which makes the journey pleasurable, adding to this are the constant views of mountains and the occasional picturesque farm with cattle grazing. Before you set back make sure you are fully hydrated after sunbathing or the ride back into town could be draining.
Get a good bird's-eye view of town
Who doesn't love a good aerial view of a new city, especially one as beautiful as Trinidad? It's every bit as scenic from above as it is in the streets, and a quick climb to the top of La Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco in the middle of town is the place to head. It cost to climb the rickety stairs for a panorama of tiled roofs, multi-coloured buildings and a view that sprawls straight out to sea.
Hiking to Salto del Caburni
Surrounding Trinidad are the emerald peaks of the Sierra del Escambray with some rewarding hikes. Here, in the Topes de Collantes National Park, Ruchi and I embarked on a trail to the 75-meter waterfall of Salto del Caburni. The trail is about 6 kilometres round trip through a forest of palms and pine trees where you can spot hummingbirds, woodpeckers, insects, and beautiful tropical plants. Once we arrived at the falls, we cooled off in the natural pools and relaxed for a while until we needed to make the journey back.
It was interesting to see which part Ruchi and I found the most difficult. Where I found getting to the falls really easy because most of it was downhill, Ruchi found it more difficult since it put greater pressure on her knees. But on the way back on the uphill, she skipped right ahead whereas I was sweating and panting like an old dog with every step I took. To get to the National Park we got a taxi there and back. Also, remember to wear appropriate footwear as the trail can be narrow and steep.