Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills), Trinidad - Stein Travel
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Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills)

This picturesque emerald valley was once the centre of the sugar trade industry, and home to the plantations that brought wealth and prosperity to Trinidad in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the ruins of estates, sugar mills and other remnants are visited by tourists who are attracted by the beauty of the valley, and the historical significance of the slave trade that operated during the valley's boom years. The main site is the Manaca Iznaga, a striking 144ft (44m) high tower that was used by plantation owner and one of the wealthiest men in Cuba, Pedro Iznaga, to keep watch over his slaves working in the fields. Visitors can climb the tower for impressive views over the countryside. Horse riding tours to the valley, departing from Trinidad, are a popular way to see the sights.

Information & Facts

Address

Carretera de Sancti Spíritus (8km from Trinidad)

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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