I looked forward to Trinidad more than any place in Cuba and it turned out to be a disappointment. Though spectacularly beautiful, Trinidad was the second most visited city in Cuba and the influx of foreign tourists made it an expensive, slightly non-feeling place. Located in the picturesque Sancti Spiritus province of Cuba, Trinidad’s beauty was unparalleled in Cuba and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded on 23rd December 1514, the historic Spanish colonial town was beautifully preserved and it was the epitome of all the luxuries which wealth from sugar trade could buy in that era.

Trinidad is the second most popular city in Cuba

Welcome to Trinidad.

Trinidad is the open-air museum of Cuba

During the early 19th century, the fertile lands of adjacent Valle de Los Ingenios overflowed the Spanish coffers and this resulted in cramming Trinidad with pastel coloured red-roofed mansions. These were the residences of the city’s erstwhile colonial rulers or rich traders and were decorated with French chandeliers, stunning Italian frescoes, and Wedgewood china. The jagged peak of Sierra del Escambray loomed on the northern frontier of the city and in the south, the white sand of Playa Ancon unfurled. These made Trinidad an open-air museum and its cobbled hilly lanes, donkey carts, and guitar-wielding troubadours were drop dead photogenic.

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The photogenic guajiros of Trinidad.

Could not get Trinidad off my mind

I was unable to get Trinidad out of my mind throughout the bus ride from Santa Clara to Trinidad. It took five hours to get there and the bus passed through lush green Cuban countryside. Mango trees, rocking chairs, and horse carts filled it’s every nook and cranny and the landscape was a dense shade of green. The old French colonial town of Cienfuegos passed by like a whiff of lingering perfume and I stared at its delicate Riviera style beauty in awe. Cienfuegos’s shell-like soft prettiness was so charming that I had a brief dilemma of getting off there when thankfully the bus rolled out of the station.

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Trinidad is a colonial town

It is a beautifully preserved colonial town.

People make places and the locals kill the charm of Trinidad

Trinidad both mesmerized and disgusted me in equal parts and it is not a place where I would like to go back. However, it was a breathtakingly beautiful city and its preserved architectural grandeur was unsurpassed. Trinidad’s reddish brown tiled roofs, bright crayon colours, and cobbled streets were a photographer’s delight and its lively art markets added to the charm. Like Santa Clara, Trinidad was also hot on culture and the city was crammed with music cafes, street buskers, and salsa classes. A dramatic blue sky always spanned overhead and the hot afternoons were shaded by fluffy billowing clouds.

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Trinidad was extremely touristy.

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Could not wait to get out of Trinidad

However, in spite of all its magnificent beauty, I was happy to get out of Trinidad and the reason was its citizens. Hustling, hassling, and extremely annoying, I found the Trinidad residents to be robbing off the city its surreal charm. Because of the high inflow of tourists, Trinidad had one of the most aggressive touts in Cuba and it was impossible to walk a step without getting harassed for casa, paladares, salsa classes, handicrafts etc. This hustling started the moment I got off the bus and continued until I left the city. Since I visited Trinidad at a comparatively low tourist season, the pestering was more focused, intense, and downright annoying. On top of that, Trinidad casa owners had too many deceitful tricks up their sleeves and it was exhausting to unravel them at every step.

Trinidad is the second most popular city in Cuba

When fed up with Trinidad, head off to the fishing village of La Boca

Thus it was not surprising that most of my Trinidad days were spent either rocking in my casa under tinkling French chandeliers or sunning myself under the scarlet shade of flowering Gulmohar trees at the nearby fishing village of La Boca. In spite of my complaints, I must admit that Trinidad was indeed been Cuba’s most beautiful city and a place I would like to remember for its photogenic charm.

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Trinidad is famous for pastel coloured houses

Postcard pretty

And heritage-rich,

Trinidad is popular with tourists

I found Trinidad

To be a very prickly affair.

Trinidad is a Unesco world heritage site

Although a UNESCO World Heritage Site,

And drop dead photogenic,

La Boca is a day trip from Trinidad

I preferred the

Rustic beauty of La Boca

Over Trinidad’s preserved

Colonial touristry charm.