We drove along scenic route from Santa Clara to Playa Ancon. Although it was advised not to take this route – due to hilly area and possibility of damaged roads, but we took the risks. It appeared the scenic route was not as bad as we thought. We passed Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve Park in the Escambray Mountains area. We stopped at a small snack bar for coffee with amazing view to Lake Hanabanilla in between of valleys of Escambray mountains. It was a beautiful road trip!
Playa Ancon is a beautiful beach with white sand, clear blue water and calm, makes it perfect for snorkeling and swimming in the ocean. We stayed at Brisas Trinidad del Mar, an all inclusive hotel, a state-owned – I think. Not that I like all inclusive hotel, actually I tried to avoid such hotel if possible. But we had no choice. Casas that I like in Trinidad were fully booked. I know that we can always go door to door visiting several casas in Trinidad to try our luck, but my travel experience told me that after a long trip, all I want to do just relax and had a good bath, not searching for another possibilities of room to stay. The hotel was not bad, it has big bedroom, comfortable bed, simple decoration and clean. What I like about the hotel was, the cocktails were included. After a long drive reaching Playa Ancon, we ended the day with Mojito and relaxing on the beach watching sunset. Should I complain? 🙂
Trinidad de Cuba
Trinidad is only 15 km from Playa Ancon. The city is designated as UNESCO World Heritage as a preserved colonial city from early 16th century, together with its surroundings, Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills). Trinidad and Valle de los Ingenios is a unity, that shown the city reached its prosperity due to sugar mills from the Valle. Its preservation until at present is impressive. The city is surrounded by low rise houses, colourful walls and cobble stone pathways. In 1796, Trinidad was the third largest city in Cuba (WHC, UNESCO website). Cars are not allowed to enter the center of the city.
The central of Trinidad is marked by Plaza Mayor, a small square. It is a central square that surrounded by important buildings that make Trinidad special. The Church of Holy Trinity is on the north side of the plaza, it was built in late 17th century but destroyed by cyclone. The re-building of the church was completed in late 19th century. And there are some more interesting buildings to visit with historical value such as the Church and Monastery of Saint Francis; Brunet Palace; and House of the Sánchez Iznaga.
Cantero Palace Museum, also nearby Plaza Mayor, used to be a house of a Spanish wealthy family, owner of sugar mills. The biggest house in Trinidad. It exhibits beautiful furniture designated with Spanish neoclassical architecture building. In this museum, you can go up to see 360 degree of Trinidad from their roof-top and tower.
Trinidad is an interesting place to visit. Although at the beginning I felt it was hard to consider it as a city. It was a small (pretty) village to me! However, at the same time I could not help myself to imagine what it was looked like as a city hundreds years ago. Our world has too many population nowadays, and the cities of the world have grown so fast that it is hard to imagine hundred years ago, a city was merely as small as Trinidad. Perhaps it is, until you visit Trinidad yourself.