Trinidad, Ancon y Topes de Collantes

Trinidad, Ancón and Topes de Collantes

Trinidad, Ancon y Topes de Collantes

Trinidad, nestled between the Escambray Range, to the North, and the Caribbean Sea, to the South, is a unique and fascinating destination for all kind of travelers.

The town of Trinidad, 67 km southwest of Sancti Spíritus and 80 km east of Cienfuegos, reached its peak during the 19th-century sugar boom and seems to have been forsaken by history ever since.

Its narrow, unmarked cobbled streets are paved with stones (chinas pelonas) shipped across the Atlantic as ballast or taken from the nearby river. The maze of streets is lined with terra-cota tile-roofed houses in soft pastel colors.

Much of the architecture in Trinidad is neo-classical and baroque, with a Moorish flavor; however, there are no great palaces, as in Havana. The style reflects the heyday of 16th-century conquistadores, 17th-corsairs, 18th-century smuggler-traders, and 19th-century sugar lords.

Trinidad ‘s exquisite buildings are fronted by mahogany balustrades, fancy “rejas” (grills) of wrought iron and turned wooden rods, with tile-floored rooms connected by double-swing half-doors (mamparas) topped by “vitrales”.

By day, perspiring tour groups crawl along the cobbled streets of Trinidad, glancing inside living rooms full of antiques and knick-knacks, and mule-drawn carts and “vaqueros” on horseback clip-clop by.

At night, the sound of silence is broken by the whisper of the cool breeze that flows downhill, and it is a special joy to stroll the traffic free stoned streets that make the town feel even more adrift from the 21st century.

To the south of Trinidad, Ancon’s offshore has more than 30 dive spots, and the added attraction of sunken vessels. Cayo Blanco, 9 km southeast Ancon, is famous for its kaleidoscopic variety of corals, sea fans, sponges and gorgonians.

Five kilometers to the west, a road leads north and climbs precipitously into the Escambray Range, whose slopes swathed in Caribbean pines and an abundance of ancient tree ferns, bamboo and eucalyptus are protected. There is Topes de Collantes. A tremendous area for hiking and climbing, rich in wildlife, flora, and natural parks.

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