Drive on to the city of Trinidad through the central heartland of Cuba – a transition between the pre-Revolutionary prosperous western plantations and the cattle pasture of the poorer east. Maybe stop off in the elegant city of Cienfuegos, an important port town founded by French settlers from Louisiana in 1819. Its French founders left their mark in broad neoclassical boulevards, art deco façades and blond inhabitants but there’s also a strong Afro-Caribbean presence.
This is a seafaring city with salt in the air; it’s the world’s primary sugar port. The ambience and architectural style is distinct from that of the rest of the island. Continue by car to Trinidad, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Its popularity has not affected its colonial charm and unhurried atmosphere. You’ll be staying in a family home here for 2 nights.
There’s a feast of terracotta-tiled roofs, cobbled streets and pastel-coloured buildings. Founded in 1514, the town was originally used as a base for expeditions into the 'New World'; its squares and churches date from the 18th and 19th centuries. The town has hardly changed in a century, no suburbs creep out from its historic centre and no high-rise buildings obscure the view to the sea. Home-grown talent fills the squares and music venues in the evenings, when the town comes alive with dancing and the sound of salsa. Evening entertainment continues into the early hours with dancing and music each night.