Cienfuegos to Trinidad

map cienfuegos to trinidad

Trinidad presented some challenges on arrival. It is difficult to wend ones way through the mass of narrow, one way, blocked off and/or nameless streets, but we eventually found Casa Bastida where we were booked. We were looking forward to the grand colonial casa of detailed in reviews here on TripAdvisor.

However it transpired that the eponymous Senor Bastida cynically overbooks, and farmed us out to his daughter, who owns not a period colonial house, but what could be best described as a slum. I can report that this is undoubtedly by a country mile, the worst accommodation that I have ever had the misfortune to have to spend a night

Senor Bastida, a very personable con man, acts as the Mr Big for his whole family who run casas particulares in Trinidad - daughter, brother, mother in law, in total around 5 houses. He himself has only one room, but controls around 10. So if you are unfortunate enough to book with him, you have no idea where you will end up. I guess he takes a cut on each booking he hands on, and relies on a good write up in TripAdvisor to get the poor dupes to book with him

The daughters house, Casa Fatima Bastida, gave us a very poky room with no windows. To merely call it small, airless, dirty and without an ounce of charm, would not convey to the reader how bad it actually was. The sole method of getting natural light was via the door which had wooden slats. The bathroom had a toilet with no seat. There were neither sheets nor towels. There was an old wardrobe in the corner of the bedroom, which on opening revealed a broken, dirty inside.

The lovely roof patio that TripAdvisor reviewers found in Senor Bastida's house did not exist here. The only place to sit was outside in a small ground floor space surrounded by the family washing.

There was an air conditioning unit which I switched on with some difficulty, but it was so decrepit that the noise of its operation was too loud to allow conversation, let alone sleep, so we switched it off

Needless to say we were overcharged when we paid out bill

Senor Bastida, the father, has a old colonial house, and that was what we had booked. We checked out of Fatima's slum the next day and got better accommodation elsewhere in the town.

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fatima bastida casa trinidaa fatimas casa trinidad fatima bastida father casa
Hostal Fatima Bastida
No toilet seat
No window, a/c broken
Her father's house

 

casa miriam lagunilla, trinidad casa miriam lagunilla, trinidad manuel Lagunilla Trinidad casa miriam lagunilla, trinidad
Casa Miriam Lagunilla, Trinidad
Roof Terrace
Manuel Lagunilla Trinidad
Living Room

We moved the next morning to Casa Miriam Lagunilla, which offered what the con man Bastida (paragraph above) was meant to have offered, viz a colonial house with a roof terrace, a bedroom of adequate size with a fridge and air conditioning. Senor Lagunilla is a retired lawyer, and as far as I could see lived in another house, so that this house only has your fellow guests. This being Cuba, a private house can only legally rent out a maximum of 2 rooms, so you will never be crowded out. A lady from down the road came in and made us dinner and breakfast.

Car parking is effected in the locked compound of a house about 200 meters away. They bring you round - nobody is going to steal your car from here, in addition to locking the gates two large Alsatian dogs roam the compound.

The house was classical Trinidad colonial inside, and at the back a small courtyard gave access to stairs which led up to a private roof garden, which had been well set out. We had a long talk (in Spanish) with him both on arrival and on departure, about life in Cuba, which was, to me, very interesting. I would have no hesitation in recommending this casa particular to anyone visiting Trinidad.

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cuba statue
en route from Cienfuegos
plantation near trinidad
plantation outside trinidad cuba
Statue of an indigenous indian
Jardin Botanico Solidad. has a
few interesting trees and shrubs
but was not worth the detour
trinidad cuba from on high
ruined church trinidad cuba
trinidad church
trinidad square
View over Trinidad ...
..from the ruined church
The main church in Trinidad
and the Palacio Brunet
trinidad cuba
trinidad steps
trinidad
trinidad cuba
Propped up buildings (common)
Looking towards Plaza Mayor
Trinidad street
Palacio Cantero tower
cuba trinidad
chris shopping trinidad
trinidad house
cuba trinidad
View from the tower
Chris buying a top
Restored building
..and another
bar trinidad
model cars cuba
trinidad street
old car trinidad cuba
Stopped for a drink here
Model cars for sale
Another street scene
and American cars around

On leaving Cienfuegos we stopped after some 15 kms to visit Jardin Botanico Solidad. Originally set up by a sugar magnate and later run by Harvard, as a research centre, it is now nationalised, and in truth, has little to interest the tourist. You pay to go in, and once there a local woman wants money for your car parking, even though it is in the middle of nowhere, and there were no other cars there. After a couple of hours, we reached the old city of Trinidad. It should be said that Trinidad is a fascinating town, but in urgent need of some TLC.

The restored buildings are mainly on the Plaza Mayor, and in particular I enjoyed the tour of the Palacio Brunet, mainly because the Spanish speaking guide was interesting. The house itself is a former sugar magnates abode and shows clearly contemporaneous living.

Another must is to climb the somewhat rickety steps up the Palacio Cantero tower to get a splendid view over the rooftops of the tow.

And I recommend the hike up the hill to the ruined Ermita de la Popa. The way is a bit difficult to find, and in the heat of the day a bit of a climb, but the view is worth the effort.

As for the rest of the town, you just wander the narrow cobbled streets and take it all in. Perhaps one day the money will come to restore it all, but today it is a window on the past that was memorable.

map playa ancon

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ancon beach, trinidad
ancon beach, trinidad
ancon beach, trinidad
ancon beach, trinidad
The very good Playa Ancon ..
.and the nearby beach restaurant
.where we had a very agreeable .
.. lunch of fresh fish and a cold
ancon beach, trinidad
ancon beach, trinidad
ancon beach, trinidad
ancon beach, trinidad
beer while we appreciated the ..
.. tranquil surroundings.
A few miles away a bigger beach
and a Brisas hotel

We took a half day drive from Trinidad to the coast at Playa Ancon about 15 kms away. A the tip of the peninsular (see map above) we took the smaller road to the south, which got narrower and narrower, before ending in a wonderful small playa (almost deserted but still the dreaded car park man popped up, hastening to clip on his badge). And about a mile way there was a small restaurant on another small beach. Here we enjoyed a lunch of fresh fish and a beer.

A few miles away, reached via the larger north road along the peninsular, is a larger beach and a couple of large (hundreds of rooms) all inclusive hotels. We actually wanted to buy a coffee at one, but realised that one needed the yellow (all inclusive identity) wrist band in order to get anything. Chris did have a swim and the beach was picturesque.

Trinidad to Camaguey

Our Cuban Holiday