On our last morning in Havana, after having some yummy street vendor pizza for breakfast, we got picked up in the morning by our taxi driver, Rainel. It turned out to be the coolest taxi ride that any of us have ever experienced. Rainel was super cool and he had even made an iPod cord for his 1980′s car so I was able to put on my iPod for the whole 5 hour drive from Havana to Trinidad. He called his car and “international car,” because the engine, brakes, stereo and multiple other car parts are all from different car companies all over the world. Wow- so resourceful!
It was a beautiful scenic drive and I was so hyper and happy the whole drive, looking out the window at all the visual eye candy. We passed rice fields, sugar cane fields, palm tree forests, mango groves…. the list goes on.
We arrived in Trinidad around 4:00pm to discover our Casa Particular (Cuban version of B&Bs) was full, so they found us another Casa Particular nearby to stay at that was just as nice. It’s apparently quite common for Casa Particulars to give rooms up to people who drop by before you check-in so you just have to go with the flow. Part of the adventure!
When we arrived at our Casa Particular, we were greeted by such friendly hosts who warmly welcomed us in and showed us around. I was amused at the very different sounds between our Havana Casa Particular and our Trinidad one. In Havana, there was constant construction noises during the day with a remodeling going on below and in Trinidad there were sounds of chickens, roosters and pigs in the neighbouring backyards. haha.
We dropped our bags and left to explore Trinidad. I was blown away by the colour and vibrancy of Trinidad. Every home was a different colour with equally colourful cars ambling down the streets. We poked around a neat street market as the sun began to set, the warm light spreading over the cobblestone streets like liquid caramel. All the locals were so friendly, interesting and photogenic. It felt like everyone had to have gotten together before I came and was like, “Ok guys, Jessica is coming and loves to take photos. Everyone get to your places! Stand in front of cool walls in awesome poses, wearing colourful clothing. Go!” haha.
It happened to be festival week in Trinidad, which only happens once a year, so we completely lucked out as there was lots of live music and vendors filling the streets. Over the few days that we spent in Trinidad, we made up our days as we went along, much like we did in Havana. We lazed at outdoor cafes eating french fries, ventured down streets we hadn’t seen yet and looked in tons of art galleries (so much amazing art in Trinidad!). We all found art we wanted to buy but were unfortunately unsuccessful in finding and ATM where we could get cash out to buy the art (you can’t use credit or debit cards in stores).
We also experienced some amazing nightlife. One night, we went to an incredible night club in a cave (yes an actual cave) after watching a fantastic live musical dance performance in front of a gorgeous church in the main square. We also got steered in the direction of a local Cuban street party by the owner of a restaurant we ate at. So awesome!! There was a couple blocks completely packed with people, with a bar set up in the middle of the street and music pumping.
Trinidad was my favourite stop in Cuba and I will most definitely return…. Hopefully sooner than later. ; ) I know I have just scratched the surface of all there is to see in Cuba and can’t wait to see more of the country.
Click here to see my Havana, Cuba post.
Rice FieldWe arrive in Trinidad after our long but fun drive from Havana and promptly fall in love with the place.We caught a taxi and had a beach day at Playa Ancon, 12 kms away from Trinidad. The water was so turquoise and I loved the rusty, broken dock.On our last day in the area, we left early and went to the El Nicho waterfalls, past the town of Cienfuegos, an hour away. I was gobsmacked when I caught my first glimpse of the waterfall below. Most stunning waterfall I have ever seen. Wow, just wow. I wished for the millionth time on the trip that I had brought my wide angle lens to Cuba.There were all sorts of cool natural pools to swim in at El Nicho. SO beautiful! I need to go back and spend a full day there to enjoy it to its fullest.
And now, a few shots of Danielle, Dan and I in Trinidad. First up, us on our way to Trinidad from Havana. Bottom left photo: Our taxi driver at a highway sandwich pit stop. Right: Danielle.We happily whiled away many hours in the outdoors cafes on these sloping steps beside the main square. We had the most amazing breakfasts every morning prepared by the casa particular we stayed at. Freshest, most delicious smoothie EVER.Lovebirds, Dan and Danielle. You two make me smile. : )Danielle left; me, right. Thanks for snapping some photos of me too Danielle! I saw SO many gorgeous shades of green in Cuba. Being my favourite colour, I wanted to take this car home with me.This band was playing some super danceable bongo drums so I started dancing in the street. One of the musicians put down his instrument and joined in. Thanks to Danielle for capturing this funny moment… as well as the 20 tourists I witnessed clicking away just before I stopped. lol. Dan is an awesome bongo drummer and sat down at a drum and joined in with these guys for a bit! So rad!You so purdy Danielle. = )Dan was climbing all over the waterfalls. Lol. This dude is fearless!