Trinidad, Cuba

Honestly, I’ve been putting off writing this in some regard because Trinidad stole my heart. When people have asked what I loved about my trip, I don’t hesitate. Without a doubt, Trinidad was my favorite part of Cuba. I cannot explain why but the city was gorgeous.

Trinidad is known for it’s artists. I bought several prints there while we were walking around the city and found some galleries. This is when I wish I had known Spanish, so that I could talk to the artist about their works.

Our first airbnb adventure was a hike to where the radio tower is and there are 360 degree views of the city. These were some spectacular views of what used to be sugar plantations, the city and the ocean. William, our guide, also gave us insight into what wages were in Cuba and we discussed some of the political views of both Americans and Cubans.
After our hike, we walked around the city and we happened upon Dona Clara for dinner. The food here was amazing and the service was great as well.

The next day, we did a horseback riding experience. Mandi was so nervous about this but it ended up being her favorite experience (besides the print making) that we did! We stopped at a sugar plantation and enjoyed sugar cane juice, and then we were able to enjoy some amazing coffee and cigars. You can buy coffee and cigars here as well. I brought back coffee and it was so good! We then took a short walk to a waterfall and swimming hole. This was so nice and there was a bar and music here for enjoyment! I felt absolutely comfortable on a horse since I used to ride when I was younger but Mandi loosened up quickly with our guide who was absolutely wonderful!

That evening, we were looking for a restaurant that someone had told us about that was similar to a brewery but we never found it. Instead, we ended up at La Nueva Era. The views are not to be missed here! There was also live music and drink specials!

Our last day in Trinidad, we did an experience to tour the old Sugar Cane Industries. Mandi and I both found this to be a very interesting tour but we felt pressured for time since we had to be back to meet our collectivo to take us to Mantanzas. The pottery workshop at the end is not to be missed! I got two pieces of pottery that are amazing for 22CUC. The history and views from this experience were not to be missed – you also have the opportunity to go zip lining at the first stop!

Trinidad was absolutely amazing! I cannot say enough good things about it and I truly cannot wait to go back and visit again! Don’t forget to see about our other stops in Cuba as well! And last but not least, Viñales.

Cienfuegos and Mantanzas

Cienfuegos

I chose to combine Cienfuegos and Mantanzas since we spent the least amount of time in these locations and we didn’t schedule any airbnb experiences for these days.

We arrived in Cienfuegos by a collectivo (shared taxi), after having been in Havana. It was nice to be next to the water and to explore. The city square was so cute and the city was very easy to navigate. It seems there was probably more that we missed but we really enjoyed the sculpture garden that we happened upon while walking around.

The breeze while sitting next to the water and enjoying some pina coladas was amazing. We also loved the glasses sculpture right at the point! We also happened upon a pottery store that had lots of nice things for minimal money!

We scheduled our collectivo to Trinidad through our airbnb host and we decided to stop at El Nicho ( an area with waterfalls and natural pools), on our way there. The driver will wait for you for the 2 hours that you can be in the park. Mandi and I truly enjoyed it and we would definitely say it’s worth it!

Mantanzas

We went from Trinidad to Mantanzas. We honestly didn’t get to see much of the city because of arriving later than we had anticipated, but we heard so many good things that we want to go back!

Our airbnb hosts were absolutely amazing! They recommended several places to eat and to visit. Unfortunately for me, I got food poisoning that evening and wasn’t able to explore at all. When our hosts found out, they gave me tea and they offered to let us stay longer for me to rest. Mandi enjoyed the patio at the airbnb and walked down to the beach the morning before we headed back to Havana.

Check back soon for our favorite spots and what we did in Trinidad!

Havana, Cuba

Honestly, my favorite part of Havana was the street art. Turns out we missed a lot that we could’ve seen, it seems. Just another reason to head back!
Mandi and I used Airbnb Experiences for planning our trip. This was our first time and we will definitely use it for future trips as well.

On our first full day in Havana, we did a classic car tour. This was a great way to experience the city and to learn some about the history of Cuba. The weather was also nice since it was early in the day. They also were so kind to pick us up and drop us off at our Airbnb.

Later that day, we did a Cigar, Coffee, and Rum experience with Able. It was absolutely amazing. I had never smoked anything in my life and Able explained how coffee and rum can change the flavor of cigars. He also talked to us about the planting of the tobacco and how cigars are rolled. We left with a lot of knowledge and he also let us know where we could buy some of these items. The restaurant, Café O’Reilly, that we had the experience at was so cute and we would recommend going even if you can’t do the experience for some reason.

Ernest Hemingway House

Our next day, we went to Ernest Hemingway’s house (there is a cost, I believe it was 5 CUC per person). We found that it was cheapest to take a yellow taxi there – this cost us 40 CUC round trip, whereas a classic car would’ve been 50 CUC round trip. I was a Lit major in college, so I had the desire to go to Hemingway’s house. I’ll be honest, it was neat to see where you can imagine Hemingway sitting and writing (and of course, drinking!) but you cannot go in the house, so it’s all based off looking through doorways. Once we got back, we went and saw the Floridita but it was so crowded that we just took a few pictures and went on exploring!

That evening, we did a hike through history with Benito. We enjoyed this because we got a different perspective of Cuba. We also got to ride on the bus and the ferry!

Another experience that we did when we returned to Havana was a printmaking class. I actually wasn’t able to participate very much in this one because of the after-effects of food poisoning. But, here’s what I can tell you – I WILL be going back and experiencing a class with Octavio. Octavio and his wife, Beatriz, were so incredible! It was amazing to hear about Octavio’s training and education and the opportunities that they are creating within the art community in Cuba. This is an experience that cannot be missed!

Our next stop was Cienfuegos! To read about Cienfuegos and Mantazas, check out this post!