Tucked away atop the hillside of the surrounding Sierra del Escambray mountains in Central Cuba lies one of Cuba’s most precious colonial jewels: The beautiful colonial city of Trinidad. Founded in 1514 as Villa de la Santísima Trinidad by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, a Spanish conquistador, Trinidad has rightfully earned the reputation as one of the most beautiful and well-preserved colonial cities in all of Latin America.
Author’s note: This is post is part II of a two-part series. To read the first post, click here.
After our glorious mouth-watering lunch at Palador Enriques in Playa Larga, it was time to board the bus again and continue along south to Trinidad. We were all extremely full after our lobster and seafood feast but there was no time to snooze. We only had a short drive until we arrived at our next destination before reaching Trinidad: The Bay of Pigs Museum. It was time to soak up Cuban Propaganda to the fullest extent.
The Bay of Pigs or Plaza Giron is the famous beach site in Cuba known for the final battle between Castro’s armed forces and the counter-revolutionary army on the 17-19 of April in 1961. Known in Cuba as the Playa de Zapata, Castro became keenly interested in helping this depopulated pristine area of Cuba that was home to many underemployed, uneducated Cubans. Castro spent time in Playa de Zapata and his unique knowledge of this remote part of Cuba greatly assisted him during the infamous Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Cuba’s rich culture and heritage is a melting pot of mixed ancestry and race. As the Spanish came to colonize Cuba, they brought in over a million slaves from Africa to work on the plantations starting in the 16th century until the abolition of slavery in 1886. During those years, African slaves were coerced to assimilate as much as possible into Spanish Cuban society. However, they fortunately had rather creative ways at retaining their own unique culture and identity through their religion Santeria, music, and dance. One of the benefits of the Cuban revolution was the creation of a more equal society. Although racism still exists a little bit it is much less prevalent than in other parts of the world.
Trinidad, one of the most beautiful colonial towns in all of Cuba, has a strong Afro-Cuban culture. One of the highlights of our visit to Trinidad was a live show of Afro-Cuban music and dancing at the Palenque de los Congoes Reales in the heart of Colonial Trinidad. Over tangy mojitos, we enjoyed a live performance of rumba dance to traditional Afro-Cuban music.