Nov 20, 2011

Cuba - Trinidad/Cienfuegos

We then went to Trinidad in the middle of the island, on the southwest coast, and we enjoyed a lot our days there. Trinidad is the most charming little town, protected as World Heritage site. 

 The streets are still laid with cobblestones while the tiled colonial houses are well maintained. Some of them became little museums (Museo Romántico, Museo de Arquitectura Trinitaria, Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos, etc.) making Trinidad one of Cuba's cultural capital.

Museo Romántico

Plaza Mayor

Historia municipal

The historic city centre is quite compact and the relaxed atmosphere facilitate cross-cultural interactions with the locals.

The city is proud of its craft skills and crochet works are for sell in every streets, in open-air markets and even in the museums where some employees are making embroidery to occupy productively their working hours.

It is in Trinidad that we succeed in seeing a cigar factory! As a national symbol and profitable export, we thought it would be easy to visit a cigar factory in Cuba. But it was not the case. In Habana, the two main factories are closed to the public and no one seems to know if and when they will re-open to foreign eyes.

So in Trinidad we could observe one factory through the windows while some workers were trying to sell us cigars without any official sign. We were lucky we found a man making cigars in a shop, who was willing to explain us how he proceed.

Cigar factory

In the 19th century started a sugar boom in the area. The production was ensured in sugar haciendas thanks to slave work. Eight kilometers east of Trinidad starts the Valle de los Ingenios (sugar mills):

Remains of sugar haciendas punctuate the landcape. They can be appreciated from a horseback but we opted for older horses: a Chevrolet from 1952!

Hacienda of the Iznaga family

Hacienda Guachinango


From Trinidad we went to Cienfuegos: a one hour and a half bus ride which was regularly interrupted by the bus drivers. They manifestly use of their job to do a little grocery shopping! The first time they stopped was to buy some cookies. Some kilometers afterward we stopped near a farm in the middle of the countryside. They explained us they needed some bull meat. Another stop was to collect two drums of milk at a nearby farm. And the last one to buy some fruits. Quite an interesting way of having fresh products home! ;)


Cienfuegos is another Unesco city but we did not find there the same charm and characteristics that enchanted us in Trinidad. The city is located in a bay. Its most interesting part is the main square (Parque José Martí) and two pedestrian streets starting from this quare.

Cienfuegos is famous for having the longest street of its kind in Cuba called Paseo del Prado bordered in some part by neoclassical buildings with pastel-painted columns. This boulevard leads to the extreme south of the city, Punta Gorda, the aristocratic waterfront quarter with its beach villas and upscale restaurants.

The Moorish-style Palacio de Valle, 
the most beautiful mansion in Cienfuegos

The highlight of our days in Cienfuegos was the Cuban contemporanean dance performance we attended in Teatro Tomás Terry by the choreographer George Cespedes. Delighful! :)

1 comment:

  1. Ca me rappelle des souvenirs...!! Disfrute ;)
    Bisous. Claire