Today, we’ll depart Cienfuegos for a short drive to Trinidad… a favorite of many travelers to Cuba! Trinidad was founded in 1514 by Diego Velázquez and is considered a jewel in Cuban colonial architecture. For some, Trinidad is a living museum, stuck in the time of Cuba’s first War of Independence when local sugar plantations were devastated by fire. The vibrant colors and soulful music littered along cobbled streets will simply take your breath away.
On the way, we’ll stop in Santa Clara, which was the site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution in 1958, and there are many tributes to the city’s troubled history here. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial, where the mortal remains of this Cuban revolutionary are interred. You will learn about how Guevara played a pivotal role in the demise of the dictator Batista and the rise of Fidel Castro, a turning point in the Cuban revolution.
From here, we’ll pass through the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugarmills), where the ruins of dozens of ingenios (small 19th-century sugar mills), including slave quarters and manor houses, are scattered throughout this valley. The royal palms, waving cane and rolling hills are timelessly beautiful. The prime sight is Manaca Iznaga, an estate purchased in 1795 by the dastardly Pedro Iznaga, who became rich by trafficking in slaves. A 44m tower was built to look over the slaves as they worked. It has a sugar cane press that the slaves used to operate. The village around the mansion is inhabited by direct descendants of the slaves.
Once arriving in Trinidad, enjoy a cultural walking tour of the city. This beautiful colonial city is home to numerous churches and many beautiful buildings. Built on huge sugar fortunes amassed in the adjacent Valle de los Ingenios during the early 19th century, the riches of Trinidad’s pre-war of independence hey-day are still very much in evidence in illustrious colonial-style mansions bedecked with Italian frescoes, Wedgwood china and French chandeliers. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the town retains a quiet, almost soporific air in its rambling cobbled streets replete with leather-faced guajiros (country folk), snorting donkeys, and melodic, guitar-wielding troubadours.
In the afternoon, we’ll learn about the cultural and social importance that dancing has to Cuba as we enjoy a Cuban salsa dance class with a local teacher. Cuban salsa (both the dancing & music) first came out of Cuba in the 1970’s and varies in style from Puerto-Rican, Miami, New York, Columbian, or any of the other varieties of salsa dance. Learn the steps and later this evening, you can practice at Casa de la Musica. Every night the area beside the Cathedral in Plaza Mayor come alive with a live salsa band! The music and the atmosphere is great, mojitos are cheap, and what’s more, you get one of the most beautiful starry skies thrown in for nothing.
— Private bus transportation from Cienfuegos to Trinidad (2 hours)
–- Visit Che Guevara Memorial in Santa Clara
— Visit ruins in the Valley of the Sugar Mills
— Walking tour of Trinidad
— Salsa Dance Lesson & entry into Casa de la Musica
— Meals: Breakfast
Overnight at Casa Particular