Trinidad, Cuba - Stein Travel
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Trinidad

One of the most visited towns in Cuba, Trinidad maintains a charming colonial atmosphere with its uneven cobbled streets, quiet plazas, churches, red-tiled roofs, wooden shutters and wrought-iron grilles. Bicycles and horse-drawn carts bump along streets lined with untidy pastel-coloured houses, where open doors afford brief views of folk on rocking chairs and wooden birdcages, and the strains of salsa music drift out from cool courtyards where the intricate steps of the dance are practiced.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, Trinidad has escaped the modern tourist infrastructure and large hotels usually accorded a popular destination, and retains its welcoming and tranquil atmosphere. Surrounded by sugarcane plantations, and situated between the Topes de Collantes mountains and the Caribbean Sea, Trinidad's location also provides easy access to the beach, the mountains and the beautiful surrounding countryside, where vestiges from the 18th and 19th centuries in the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) testify to a time of prosperity during the sugarcane boom.

Information & Facts

Climate

The climate in Trinidad is hot and humid year-round, with dry weather from November to April and a rainy season between May and October. The hottest months are June to September with temperatures averaging around 81°F (27°C), and the best time to travel to Trinidad is between December and April, when it averages a cooler 68°F (20°C).

Getting Around

Trinidad is relatively easy to negotiate on foot and most attractions are in the historic hub, centred around the Plaza Mayor. Playa Ancón's beaches are serviced by Cubatur minibuses, usually from 8am to the evenings, running along Maceo. Taxis are available, as are car rental agencies, though streets can be somewhat confusing and are known by different names. A novel way to explore the area is on the Rumbos steam train, dating back to 1907, that travels to Valle de los Ingenios. The train leaves at 9.30am and returns at 2pm.

Language

The official language is Spanish, but English is spoken in the main tourist spots.

Money

The official currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP), divided into 100 centavos, but the 'tourist' currency is the Peso Convertible (CUC), which replaces the US Dollar as currency in tourist related establishments like hotels, restaurants and so called 'dollar shops'. US Dollars are no longer accepted as payment, and a 10% commission or more is charged to exchange them, therefore the best currency to bring along is Euros, the British Pound or Canadian Dollars. The CUC is almost equal in value to the US Dollar. Some places only accept Cuban pesos and others only Pesos Convertible (usually tourist related establishments). Money should only be changed at official exchange bureaux or banks to avoid scams confusing the two currencies. Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted only in major cities and hotels as long as they haven't been issued by a US bank; Diners Club has limited acceptance, and American Express is not accepted anywhere on the island. Travellers cheques are less readily accepted than credit cards, but all major currencies are acceptable, except for US bank issued cheques. No US-issued credit or debit cards will work in ATMs, but those holding other cards issued in other countries should be able to get pesos at most major tourist destinations. Euro or Sterling travellers cheques are accepted at Cuban banks and Bureaux de Change.

Time

Local time is GMT -5 (GMT-4 from the second Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

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