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Enjoying a Canchánchara in Trinidad, Cuba


Trinidad, founded by Conquistador Diego Velazquez de Cuéllar in 1514, is nestled between the Escambray Mountains and the wonderful Caribbean coast. Walking on the streets of Trinidad feels like a voyage in time. The Neo Classical and Baroque architecture, lovely houses with red tiled roofs painted in pastel colors along narrow cobblestone streets and the wonderful beaches facing the Caribbean sea make for an ideal setting for a romantic get a way. more...


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Trinidad, founded by Conquistador Diego Velazquez de Cuéllar in 1514, is nestled between the Escambray Mountains and the wonderful Caribbean coast. Walking on the streets of Trinidad feels like a voyage in time. The Neo Classical and Baroque architecture, lovely houses with red tiled roofs painted in pastel colors along narrow cobblestone streets and the wonderful beaches facing the Caribbean sea make for an ideal setting for a romantic get a way.

Things were not always that rosy in Trinidad. At the end of the 17th century there were 56 sugar mills operating in the bordering Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills). No less than12 000 slaves were forced to work on the sugar cane fields. No wonder that Trinidad owes its identity and cultural wealth for a large part to these slaves who brought along their customs, religions traditions, songs and dances.

Trinidad retains its welcoming and tranquil atmosphere because there are no large hotels in the old town. Everything looks untouched by modern times. There are hundreds of "casa particulares" (private houses) that offer a great alternative to the all inclusive beach hotels that are located just a few kilometers away. In order to get to the beach you will need to take a bus or taxi.

Among the handful of museums in Trinidad, Museo Romántico stands out. Museo Romantico is overlooking the town’s main square, the Plaza Mayor and features an excellent exhibition of romantic style porcelain, glass, paintings and decorative furniture which belonged to the Conde de Brunet family, dating from 1830.
Originally Palacio Cantero, Museo Histórico Municipal is another interesting museum. Since 1980, the museum´s halls have exhibited collections on the extraordinary history of the region. Including archeological artifacts from aboriginal cultures, furniture, arts from slave trade era and weapons from wars of independence. A wooden staircase will lead you to a magnificent view of Trinidad and the surrounding area.
The second of Trinidad´s two major towers is that of the former 18th-century Convento de San Francisco (Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi). These days the building hosts the Museo de la Lucha Contra Bandidos that focuses on revolutionary Cuba and the continuing "struggle against its adversaries”.

Trinidad offers some nice places to get refreshment both day and night but is certainly not a “party town”.
Very popular among tourists is the little tavern La Canchánchara that is housed in a mansion dating from 1723. La Canchánchara is named after a famous drink from the region, made from lemon juice, honey and Santero Cuban rum or aguardiente (see recipe), which is served in glazed ceramic pots. This was the drink of the Mambises - Cuban Liberating Army.
The terrace of la Casa de la Música is an all-day hot spot and a great place to enjoy a beer or a mojito under the sun or dancing to a live band at night.
Casa de la Trova, offers excellent live Cuban music in an open air environment while performances of Cuban folkloric groups and Afro Cuban dance and music can be found at Palenque de los Congos Reales.
On crowded nights the Disco Cueva, located in a huge cave nearby Hotel Las Cuevas, makes for an exiting night out.

Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one Cuba’s most gorgeous cities is very small and offers only a limited amount of (nightlife) attractions. To explore the town, beach and its beautiful surroundings, a stay of 3-5 days is more than sufficient.

How to prepare a Canchánchara

1.5 oz of raw rum or aguardiente
0.5 oz of honey
0.5 oz of lemon juice
1 oz of water
2 oz of cracked ice

Pour the honey and the lemon juice into the glass and stir until the honey has dissolved. Add the rum, the ice and the water and stir.

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