Om Central Cuba: Trinidad
Experience the places you visit more directly, freshly, intensely than you would otherwise - sometimes best done on foot, in a canoe, or through cultural adventures like art courses, cooking classes, learning the language, meeting the people, joining in the festivals and celebrations. This can make your trip life-changing, unforgettable. All of the information you need is here about the hotels, restaurants, shopping, sightseeing. But we also lead you to new discoveries, turning corners you haven't turned before, helping you to interact with the world in new ways. That's what makes our Adventure Guides unique. Cuba is a country of surprises, where new mixes with old to create a jumble of colors, sounds and smells. It's a destination like no other. And here is the best guide. Detailed city maps are keyed to show the location of sights, hotels and restaurants. Color photos are abundant.. " These useful guides are highly recommended... " Library Journal. "This signature Hunter series targets travelers eager to explore the destination. Extensively researched and offering the very latest information, Adventure Guides are written by knowledgeable, experienced authors." Publishers Weekly. Cuba is a jewel, a sparkling diamond surrounded by the blue-green waters of the Caribbean. Like all Caribbean Islands, it has palm trees dotting the white coral beaches. It has trade winds cooling the effects of the tropical sun. It has classy hotels and first-rate restaurants. But where Cuba is unique is in its culture. You can travel nowhere on the island without hearing the beat of a drum or the strum of a guitar. To accompany the music, locals indulge in the pleasure of dancing from the time they can walk until the time they die. A Cuban without music is like a drunk without booze. Although tourism plays a big role in the economy of Cuba, tourists in the past have been confined to the all- inclusive resorts where contact with the people was restricted. Now, however, visitors can stay in casas particulares, homes that have been inspected by the government so standards are acceptable, and can order meals at paladars, selected homes that are permitted to feed up to 12 customers, including foreigners, at a time. Tourists can travel on public transportation or rent cars so they can visit some of the farther reaches of Cuba. The intermingling of Cuban people and foreigners makes for an interesting vacation. During the day it is fun to sit on a balcony of a casa particular and watch children play on the streets. They will unabashedly entertain you for hours (especially if they know you are watching) playing baseball with a stick and stone covered in string or performing a symphony with imaginary instruments.Adults like to exchange information or discuss politics (at the moment, yours not theirs). They love to compare cultures and show off their country. They love to poke fun and laugh. In the town of Trinidad, the people are laid-back and fun to be with, often preferring to spend time talking to a foreigner than anything else. And like Havana and Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad is a toe-tapping, finger-rapping music city. Bird singing competitions occur here between January and June, when bird breeders congregate at different locations. Be sure to watch for it. Judging relies on the intensity, frequency and duration of the song produced by the birds. The center of Trinidad covers 55 blocks with 1,211 historical buildings, many of them mansions built in centuries past. Walking the narrow, cobbled streets is a visual smorgasbord. Knowing a little history adds to the meal. Europeans first settled here in 1513, so the sights are fascinating. Sancti Spiritus is a tranquil town, busy at building and maintaining a cultural presence in places such as the library and the museum of colonial art, and maintaining its many historic monuments. Its church was first built in 1522 and there are four large museums in town featuring art and history. Nearby, is the Garden of the King, which covers 91,000 acres, half still in its natural state. The bird life is phenomenal. You'll see cormorants, woodpeckers, flamingos, spoonbills, mockingbirds and so many pelicans they become almost ho-hum. There are also deer, wild pigs, crabs and iguanas. The island near here, called Cayo Guillermo, is where Hemingway used to fish. According to him, Playa Pilar, at the end of the island, is the most beautiful in Cuba. There are five beaches on this island. Just one kilometer from shore is a coral reef. Camaguey is another colonial city, dating from 1514, that is a delight. It has not been over-toured so the locals are still eager to have visitors. The city has beautiful plazas, narrow streets, lively entertainment and interesting things to see. This is just a tiny fraction of what you will find in Central Cuba, with the help of this guide. All of the historic sites, the hotels, restaurants, mueums, nightclubs, festivals (they are frequent!), the parks, walking tours, and much more, are detailed here.