Trinidad Day Trips

Valley of the Sugar Mills
Valley of the Sugar Mills © Wilder Mendez (Lezumbalaberenjena)

Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills)

This emerald valley was once the centre of the sugar industry in Cuba in the 18th and 19th centuries. At its peak, there were over 70 sugarcane mills and about 30,000 slaves working on the plantations. Today, the ruins of estates and mills are visited by tourists attracted by the region's beauty and its historical significance in the slave trade during the valley's boom years. The main site is the Manaca Iznaga, a striking 144ft (44m) high tower which was used by plantation owners to keep watch over slaves. Along with Trinidad, the Valle de los Ingenios has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and riding tours are a popular way to take in the area's lovely views.

Address: Carretera de Sancti Spiritus (8km from Trinidad)

Santa Clara
Santa Clara © Judith Duk

Santa Clara

The city of Santa Clara is best known for the Che Guevara Mausoleum and other monuments relating to the Cuban Revolution. The Tren Blindado marks the spot where Guevara attacked the train carrying Batista's troops and derailed the tracks with a bulldozer. The Mausoleum was built to pay homage to the memory of Guevara and his comrades who fought with him in Bolivia, and the enormous monument incorporates a huge statue of his likeness, as well as representations of many aspects of his revolutionary life. To one side of the statue, a huge stone block has been inscribed in full with his farewell letter to Fidel Castro.

Sancti Spiritus
Sancti Spiritus © Judith Duk

Sancti Spiritus

Sancti Spiritus lies on the banks of the Yayabo River, its delightful architecture and winding cobblestone streets exuding charm, authenticity and friendliness. Pedestrians enjoy ice-creams flavoured with fruit, while dodging jams of horse-drawn carriages, bicycles and scooters. The old town is a National Monument dating back to 1514, filled with stately colonial homes and colourful houses beneath red tile roofs. It also boasts the Parroquial Mayor, Cuba's oldest church, and the Puente Yayabo, a bridge over the river which is the city's most famous sight. The city is the birthplace of many famous Cuban musicians, so it's worth checking out the local music scene.