Cuba: Trinidad Part 2

I totally forgot to follow up with part 2 of Trinidad! I started to right about the next leg of my trip and as I was going through photos I was like, "Oh, hello!". I had wondered why I initially couldn't find the photos from my Olympus camera and when I did it made such a difference. I apologize for putting such mediocre/bad photos in my last post. 

Day two of Trinidad included a horseback ride through the valley to a waterfall. What started out as a pleasantly cool morning quickly turned into a hot and humid day. The man we met, who I recall have an Italian-sounding name, introduced us to our horses. Shortly into the ride it because clear that it was coincidence or he really had a sense of who we are because the personality of each horse were almost identical to ours. My horse's name was Mariposa or butterfly. She stood tall and was quite elegant but she didn't like to lose. If my friend's horse started moving faster, so would she. She wanted to be at the front of the line. 

I had asked to only have a half day, not because of the cost but because it sounded like a significant amount of time. It ended up being a lot longer than we intended. My friends had been out late so I'm not sure how much sleep they got but even for a well hydrated, well rested person it was too arduous. And for the horses? I was a bit heartbroken when I found out my horse was nine months pregnant and being put through such conditions. We were never sure if the horses got water will we spent time at the waterfall. 

First stop was part way up the mountains to have coffee- I'm telling you, in Cuba it's always time for coffee. We gathered around with other horseback riding tour groups and watched this man sing while he ground coffee in a stone container. Water was being boiled over fire and I felt as though you couldn't get more natural than this way. The coffee was probably one of the best I had in Cuba. I prefer my coffee and espresso dark and strong and boy was it ever. It's probably why I love Cuba's coffee and its coffee culture. Quality over quantity, strong cafecitos often or always. 

Musical coffee presentation in the foothills outside Trinidad

Musical coffee presentation in the foothills outside Trinidad

Some of the local men with the horse groups reminded me of cowboys back home on Maui. In Hawaiian we can them a 'paniolo'. Upcountry Maui is full of pastures, horses and cowboys. Granted Cuban "cowboys" dressed differently but their demeanor came off the same to me. 

After the caffeine kick we went further up the mountain along a narrow trail. When we reached  an area that looked like a dried up creek, we got off our horses and walked a little more to where thew waterfall was.

Waterfall outside Trinidad

Waterfall outside Trinidad

We spent some time soaking up the sun and swimming a bit. The fresh water was a nice and chilly contrast to the humid and hot weather. It was a very relaxing midday break. On the way back we stopped for lunch at this open air building and had a delicious lunch of pork, rice, beans, simple salad and boniato, or white sweet potato. My one friend ordered the fish lunch but I found pork to be well seasoned in Cuba so I got the pork plate. 

View from a restaurant. It was hard to tell if I was in Cuba or Hawaii.

View from a restaurant. It was hard to tell if I was in Cuba or Hawaii.

Lunch: pork, vegges, sweet potato and rice & beans

Lunch: pork, vegges, sweet potato and rice & beans

Isn't she beautiful? This was my horse for the day, Mariposa

Isn't she beautiful? This was my horse for the day, Mariposa

Even after telling the tour guide that we wanted to go back a few times, we probably didn't get back to the casa till about 2:30 or 3pm. My friends had had a late night before and although the horseback was exactly what I imagined- meaning too long, I had met two Dutch guys the first evening before who said they'd be at the beach in the afternoon so I made my way there. 

Ancon beach is about a 15 minute taxi ride from Trinidad. The driver that I had to stop for gas on the way which was an interesting experience.  Petroleum is very expensive in Cuba and you also have to be certified to be a taxi driver. These were things we didn't find out till later on but I thought I'd point it out now. The car stopped twice and then he had to wait a bit to restart it. 

I finally get to the beach which is pretty but didn't hold a candle to the beach in Tulum or beaches I grew up going to on Maui. Luckily it wasn't crowded and with the late afternoon sun it wasn't very hot either. 

Ancon beach

Ancon beach

View of Trinidad 

View of Trinidad 

When I got to the casa my friends and I got ready and had dinner at a place that a friend suggested. It was called Restaurante San Jose and it was quite popular and well equipped. We had to wait a bit for a table so we had mojitos at a restaurant across the street. After dinner we wandered over Casa Musica where we met these two twins, one of whom we'd met before, so we could go to a club together. They referred to it as the 'cave club'' and the only thing I know is that we kept walking uphill on one road till what seemed like the end till we reached it.

Once we were inside it was a large space with one long bar on the side and several television screens that were showing various reggaeton songs. It seems the the DJ (or VJ) stuck to popular Caribbean songs and one of the twins was kind enough to explain where each artist was from. We had a blast dancing amongst a mix of foreigners and locals and eventually left the club.

On the way downhill we passed two little outdoor bars that resembled a beach shack. One claimed to be serving the best mojito but we went to the other and ordered a canchanchara. If you're in Trinidad you have to try one. A rum-based cocktail with honey and lime, which I preferred to a mojito and my friends and I got frowned upon for ordering it in other parts of Cuba. It seems it originated in Trinidad and thus other cities aren't as eager to make it. We got home, slept a bit and in the morning got ready to meet our driver who'd take us to Cienfuegos.

Picturesque streets of Trinidad

Picturesque streets of Trinidad

So Cuban it's almost cliché

So Cuban it's almost cliché

Next stop: Cienfuegos! 

What did you like most about Trinidad? Or if you haven't been is it on your bucket list?