Trinidad in Cuba had been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988 and if you go there you will understand why.
This former colonial town (originally called Villa de la Santisima Trinidad) is in the Sancti Spiritus Province on the south, Caribbean, coast of the island (halfway along the belly of the crocodile). It was founded on 23 December 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar.
Originally sugar was the main industry but this has been replaced by tobacco including the making of fine cigars.
I went on holiday to Cuba in December 1998 along with Italians, Canadians, other Brits and a few Americans who sneaked in via Mexico (the Cuban authorities were kind enough not to stamp their passports as it was illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba). The Canadians flights were the shortest (and in the same time zone) and they were there mainly for the diving. The Italians made the longest trips and were great company even if the daily Spanish lessons we had were a bit confusing.
We were staying at the Four Winds Hotel near Camagüey in the centre of the island (itself now a World Heritage site). We spent a day at the beach and then a day touring with the local guide Norberto (a man of few words). Unfortunately we never made it to Havana as there were flight restrictions following the crash of an internal flight but we did go to Trinidad.
The main square is small but beautiful and was the background for a fashion shoot taking place the day we were there.
We also visited a cigar factory but didn’t see any cigars being rolled on womens’ thighs! But we did get shady looking men popping out of doorways trying to sell us cheap cigars (which we’d been warned against buying as they would be confiscated at the airport).
After our all too short stay we changed transport into what Norberto called his “Limusina” – actually a soviet made army truck in which we sat on benches on the back (no seat belts or Health & Safety stuff) – and headed off through the forest into the mountains.
But that’s another story. Feliz Cumpleaños Trinidad!