Travels in Cuba
Havana isn't the only city to see in Cuba, says Yvonne Gordon, who maps out a perfect day in Trinidad.
Wander long, cobbled streets of pastel-coloured houses with red roofs to really soak up Trinidad's colonial atmosphere - there's nearly always a backdrop of music and lively birds tweeting. Palm trees, 1950s cars and baroque church towers add to the atmosphere. A visit to the Museo Histórico Municipal gives you a glimpse inside the Cantero Palace, with splendid views from the tower.
How: Simón Bolívar 123; weekdays 9am-5pm (museum)
Photo: Yvonne Gordon
It's not uncommon to see an artist at work through an open door or window in Trinidad. Drop into Lazaro Niebla's studio and gallery to see his intricate carvings of old people's faces on rescued pieces of wood. At Galería de Arte, artist Yami Martínez designs colourful papier mâché coffee pots which represent the poses of women. Drop into Los Conspiradores Restaurant directly upstairs for lunch.
How: Lazaro Niebla, Calle Real 11, and Galería de Arte/Los Conspiradores, Calle Cristo 38 (beside Plaza Mayor)
Tuck into pumpkin soup, slow-roasted pork belly or pan-fried lobster at one of Trinidad's most beautiful dining spaces, set in a restored 1800s colonial house with a typical inner courtyard and original features and furnishings. Food is Cuban with a European twist, there's a great cocktail menu (mojitos are $3) and a nice touch is that co-owner Edel Kavanagh is Irish.
How: Calle Gutiérrez (Maceo) 463, laredaccioncuba.com
You'll find yourself drawn to Cuba's music and beats, with live bands and salsa dancing at Casa de la Música - it seems like everyone in the entire town, both locals and visitors, congregates at the steps beside the cathedral in Plaza Mayor nightly to listen to a live salsa band.
How: Nightly from 9pm at Plaza Mayor, entrance $1. See cubatravel.tur.cu/en for more information on Trinidad; cubatravel.ie has doubles at the five-star Iberostar Grand Hotel from €255 per night including breakfast.
Air France (airfrance.ie) flies Dublin to Havana via Paris. Bus transfers to Trinidad from US$25 with Viazul (viazul.com) or taxis €240.