Yordi and Dave highly recommend this two night, three day excursion as a captivating way to experience Cuba’s historic west coast and engage people outside the metropolitan area. A tour of France’s only Cuban city, Cienfuegos, and Cuba’s majestic third city, Trinidad, founded in 1514, provides a revealing look at Cuban culture outside Havana. The pace is slower, and our carefully constructed walking tours leave plenty of time to interact with natives while enjoying rivalling architectural styles and a very different, less cosmopolitan way of life.
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Travelguidecuba.com will arrange transport via air or private vehicle for two-nights and three-days of magical sightseeing, boating, dining and music.
Day 1 – Welcome to Cienfuegos – We will arrive in Cienfuegos and check in to our hotel or hostel, depending upon your preference. After a brief orientation by Tony, we begin our walking tour at the city’s main square, Jose Marti, site of the original village. Tony, a resident of Cienfuegos, has planned a busy sightseeing tour that will allow interesting dialogue with residents and business owners in the city. Today’s sites includes:
Don Luis de Clouet House – The home of the city’s founder dates back to the 1850’s and remains one of the few examples of neoclassical architecture in Cienfuegos.
Government House (City Hall) – The original 19th century grand hall is one of Cuba’s architectural gems, known for its vast dimensions. Renovated in the early 20th century, the building represents North America’s influence upon Cuba’s eclectic architecture.
Provincial Museum – Constructed in 1898, this building was originally Club Español and rings with intrigue.
Thomas Terry Theater – This landmark theater is one of 3 vernacular theaters in Cuba. Founded in 1890, the theater was designated a National Monument in 1978 and received the Award of Conservation in 2008.
Cienfuegos Club – A welcome testimony to Cuba’s nautical tradition. Founded in 1920, the club was originally known as the prestigious Cienfuegos Yacht Club.
Sculptures Park – A magnificent horticultural landscape that residents maintain to reflect their heritage and culture. We will see and learn about tropical plants, some of which are indigenous to Cuba.
Palacio Valle – An example of the prosperity and opulence of France’s mid-19th century presence, the palace, also known as the Fifth Moorish, reflects the historic elegance and uniqueness of Cienfuegos.
La Punta – This landmark was proclaimed a National Monument in 8:00pm and is a popular tourist attraction.
After our walking tour, we will return to our accommodations (5:30pm), rest and freshen up for an exciting night of great culinary excellence courtesy a local paladar, a privately owned and operated restaurant where we will see Cuban entrepreneurialism at work. Our hosts will educate us about their business experiences. After dinner, we are off to the Artex night club where we will see live entertainment and where dance enthusiasts can engage a Cuban instructor to learn the salsa.
Day 2 – Welcome to Trinidad
After our 0800 breakfast, we will take private transport to Trinidad, founded in 1514, and widely recognized as Cuba’s most colonial city. The architecture alone is worth the trip but Trinidad residents are proud to discuss the region’s historic sugar and tobacco culture that sparked colonial development. Trinidad also sports one of the country’s most spectacular beaches, Playa Ancon, and some of the purest reefs on the island. Time may permit snorkeling enthusiasts to explore some of the most vibrant reefs in the Caribbean with Cuban diving instructors. Today’s tour will include:
Museo Historico Municipal – Our guide will teach us about the former estate of the Morel family whose land title transferred to the Kanter (Cantero) family, the prodigious German sugar magnate, , after Morel was poisoned and Cantero, a wealthy slave trader, married his widow. Aside from its historical theme, the museum offers a truly spectacular view of Trinidad.
Museo Romantico – This appealing museum offers insight into how the upper classes lived in colonial Cuba.
The Church Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad – This church replaced the original church (1713), which housed the Christ of the True Cross, in 1892. The cross and many other religious artifacts are contained here.
Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos – Located on the site of the famous San Francisco de Asis convent, the main attraction remains the original bell tower but the site alone is unforgettable.
Archeological Museum – This house was home to noted German explorer and naturalist Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt during his 1801 visit to Trinidad. The museum allows us to see and learn about numerous discoveries from early archeological digs.
At 1:00pm, we will enjoy lunch at another paladar. All guests are encouraged to ask questions of the family owners. Our next stop will be sightseeing and talking with fishermen about the productive fishing around the Trinidad reefs. Feel free to marvel Playa Ancon and remember to bring a suit. Anyone interested in snorkeling should let us know ahead of time.
Around 4:00pm our private transport will return us to Cienfuegos, where we will rest up for dinner at 8:00pm. After dinner on the porch of another paladar, we will offer optional dancing and music at the Benny More Discotheque or at Costa Sur Cabaret.
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Day 3 – Away Day
Breakfast at 8:00am before a boat ride to see the Bay of Cienfuegos from the water. We will see several fishing villages, be instructed in the art of deep sea fishing off Trinidad shores and be awed by the magnificent landscape. Tony encourages our swimmers to sample the Caribbean before we return to gather our bags and checkout around 11:00am. Lunch at noon and head to the airport at 2:00pm for our 6:30pm flight to Miami.
This trip is bound to encourage a return to Cuba’s amazing west coast, with its historic past, luscious mountains, rich agricultural fields and clean, exciting reefs. Life is a little slower in the Cienfuegos – Trinidad environs, but all the better to meet, greet, converse and be educated by the fascinating natives.
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