Trinidad is the fourth oldest colonial city in Cuba, where sugar kings, slaves and pirates left their mark. Visiting Trinidad is like traveling in a time machine. Walking along the cobblestone streets, you can imagine what the city looked like in the early colonial era. Near some buildings, cannon muzzles, fixed in the ground, were preserved: this is how the owners protected the corners of the houses from carriages with high wheels passing by.
The beautiful town of Trinidad was founded in 1514 by Diego Velasquez. Initially, the main occupation of the inhabitants of Trinidad was smuggling. Later, the main commodity was sugar and slaves. Trinidad experienced a golden age during the sugar boom. But when Havana and Cienfuegos became centers of trade, when the abolition of slavery was just around the corner, Trinidad lost its importance as quickly as it had once acquired. Times have changed, but Trinidad itself has not been affected by these changes. The splendid city architecture and cobbled streets are wonderfully preserved and deserve at least a couple of days to dedicate to them. In 1988, Trinidad, a museum city, was included by UNESCO in the list of world cultural monuments to be protected. Trinidad is the perfect epitome of a typical colonial Spanish settlement and captures its atmosphere perfectly. tourists, 12 km southwest of Trinidad, the Ancon Spit (6 km long) and beaches that go directly to the Caribbean Sea begin. Near the Ancon Peninsula there is a diving center “Cayo Blanco”.
SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Santiago de Cuba – the second largest city after Havana, the capital of the province of the same name and the former capital of the country, is located in the southeastern part of Cuba on the Caribbean coast. This city was founded in 1514. Its first head was the future conqueror of Mexico, Hernan Cortes. From 1515 to 1607, Santiago de Cuba was the capital of the island, although the Spanish captain-general moved to Havana as early as 1556.
The city is spread over the hills, and winding streets rise and fall, revealing unique landscapes to visitors. One of these streets – Padre Pico – is a beautiful staircase street, on the steps of which city residents like to spend time playing their favorite dominoes or cards. Yes, and tourists also stop here to relax during excursions or walks. From the top of the street opens a circular panorama of the city. It is believed that this is where the border between the upper and lower parts of the city passes.
The main attraction of this city is the unique fortress of Castillo San Pedro de la Roca del Morro (XVI-XVIII centuries, included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List in 1997), which houses the world’s only Museum of the History of Piracy. The Spaniards built this fortress to protect against the raids of French and English pirates. In 1554, the corsair François-le-Clerc owned the city for a month, but after receiving a ransom of 80,000 pesos, he left Santiago. Pirates did not visit Santiago often – coastal artillery forced them to keep a respectful distance from the city. Sea robbers intercepted the galleons on the outskirts of it. But there were those who could not be stopped by del Morro’s guns. In 1662, when del Morro was almost built, the English pirate Christopher Mings came to its walls, under which Henry Morgan himself, then still a novice filibuster, served. The team managed to capture six ships and fill their holds with rich trophies mined in the city.
One of the most exotic Caribbean cities has also become famous as the “cradle of the revolution.” It was the site of numerous battles during both the War of Independence and the Cuban Revolution of 1959.
Santiago de Cuba is surrounded by high mountains, which, combined with the beautiful sea coast, makes it very suitable for active tourism. The Sierra Maestra National Park contains the highest mountains in the country. The popular resort of Gran Piedra is located 34 km from Santiago de Cuba at an altitude of 1128 m at the foot of the rock of the same name, and is famous for its picturesque nature and good climate. Nearby are the plantations of the original flower farm and the observatory of the Institute of Meteorology of Cuba, and many trekking and ecological trails have been laid in the surrounding mountains.
Not far from Santiago is the Baconao Park with the Prehistoric Valley, where you can see life-size figures of dinosaurs and Stone Age people. The halls of the Museum of Natural History located here clearly demonstrate the evolution of man. Baconao Park has been declared a Natural Biosphere Reserve of World Importance by UNESCO.
But the main thing that Santiago de Cuba is famous for throughout the country is its Carnival and Fire Festival. Usually they take place in the summer, and are particularly colorful and musical.
The season, including the beach season, in Santiago de Cuba lasts almost the entire year. Even in the coldest months, the temperature here does not fall below 23 C, and in August the thermometer rises to 28 C and above. Sea water in Santiago de Cuba is also the warmest in the country – it warms up to 32 C.