7 days in Cuba: Taking on Trinidad
After 3 days of exploring (i.e., eating everything in) Havana, Emily and I hopped into a old bright green sedan (with patent leather seats) and headed four hours east to Trinidad, a touristy, quaint little town built on prosperous sugar and slave trade in the 19th century. Every step was like walking into a postcard - the cobblestone streets, brightly colored buildings, classic cars, and mountainous backdrop were quite the photogenic subject. It's no wonder that the town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
The first afternoon, Emily and I walked around a large part of the town, which is fairly small, and I was surprised (although maybe not justifiably so) to see how rural and undeveloped parts of the town were. It makes sense, given the level of poverty and Trinidad's agricultural history, but I guess I hadn't expected to see tractors, cowboys, horses, and mules alongside the bustling tourist economy and classic automobiles revving up for their next foreign passengers.
As I had first noticed in Havana, people were always outside, either partaking in their own activities or watching others.
Emily and I spent two of our four days in Trinidad at the nearby beach, Playa Ancon. While crowded with tourists, it was still relaxing and enjoyable - I breezed through two books on my reading list and still had time to wade in the warm Caribbean waters.
At the beach and around town, we also had our fair share of rum-infused coconuts, mojitos, and the local cocktail, the Canchanchara, which is basically just rum, lime, honey, and soda. Yum! :)
While the town and beach were so unique and fascinating, the highlight of our stay in Trinidad was probably our New Year's celebration with our host family. Mari (short for Maricela), our host mom, had a beautiful colonial home just off the central plaza, and we rented a room for about $30 CUCs per night. Despite our language barrier, using only translation apps and broken Spanish to communicate, she invited us to her extended family's New Year's celebration outside of town, where we were warmly welcomed by her relatives and shown around by her in-laws, nieces, and nephews. They roasted a whole pig (I contributed a little bit, as you can see below :D) and we burned off the feast singing and dancing to Cuban songs. When the clock hit midnight, we drank cider (cidre) and threw rice into the streets. It was the best way to spend the evening and ring in the New Year!