Trinidad. Not to be confused with its Caribbean twin, Trinidad and Tobago – Trinidad, Cuba is directly across the island from Havana – around a 4 hour drive (Cuban speed, that is.) The beach town is completely opposite of Havana geographically, and in it’s approach to daily life. A far contrast to the bustling, hectic capitol city, the slower paced town is home to more horses than cars and cobblestone streets instead of lanes of traffic. Trinidad was a welcome break from Havana – even if only for a few days. Playa Ancón is also a quick 20 minute cab ride away and unlike many Cuban beaches, this one is quiet, private, and somehow crowd-free.
If you’re traveling from Havana, almost every hotel or casa particular will have an option for renting a cab to Trinidad. It will cost around $100-$200 a trip, depending on how many people fill the vehicle. Be prepared to ride with strangers. Also be prepared to lock down a plan for getting back to Havana the moment you arrive – many drivers drop you off and stay in Trinidad for a few days with family. You can also take a bus but it will add 4+ hours to the trip – the small back roads are terribly windy and only one lane, so buses can’t pass (and speed) like cars can.
I wish we spent more time in Trinidad. The culture – from the local pottery to the local drinks – felt like you were transported to a time when life was slow and simple. Because in Trinidad, it still is.
Where we stayed: Casa Santo Domingo
Our favorite meal: Taberna La Botija (Tourist central – but one of the best meals we had and a cool atmosphere. Live music, good drinks, and long tables where you have to mingle with others.)