As one of the most impressive cities in Cuba, much beloved by visitors, it’s hard to imagine wanting to get out of the historic city of Trinidad. However, for travelers wanting to explore some of Cuba’s most beautiful natural destinations and a host of historically and culturally significant sites on the island’s southern coast, taking a day trip from Trinidad is an absolute must.
These are the eight best Trinidad day trips we recommend to travelers wanting to explore this enchanting area of Cuba. With everything from half-day excursions to the beach to challenging mountain treks for the most adventurous of travelers, you’ll find plenty to choose from.
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Trinidad Cuba Excursions
Looking for a quick overview of the very best (and easiest!) day trips from Trinidad, Cuba? These are our top recommendations for easy Trinidad Cuba excursions to choose from:
- Topes de Collantes – Best day trip from Trinidad for hiking, waterfalls, and natural beauty
- Valle de los Ingenios – Best day trip from Trinidad for history and culture
- Playa Ancón – Best day trip from Trinidad for the beach
These spots are all within a very short driving distance of Trinidad, making the transportation options available to travelers hassle-free and offering an easy day trip experience rather than a day spent admiring Cuba from the car. Most travelers are more than happy to choose one (or more!) of these memorable Trinidad Cuba excursions.
Dive into these recommendations and more below as we break down more about the best Trinidad excursions and the most popular experiences outside of the city.
Read More: Trinidad, Cuba: Ultimate Traveler’s Guide
Day Trips From Trinidad Cuba
1. Topes de Collantes
If you’re itching to get out of the city and explore the lush, mountainous surroundings of southern Cuba, there’s no better day trip from Trinidad than visiting Topes de Collantes.
Known as the Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes, this nature reserve protects a large swath of lush mountain terrain in the Escambray Mountains nestled between Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Composed of five individual parks (including the popular Parque El Cubano, the area within Topes de Collantes that is closest to Trinidad), this stunning reserve is home to excellent hiking trails, plunging waterfalls, and refreshing swimming holes.
The easiest way to access Topes de Collantes is by booking a small-group excursion from Trinidad, as there is no public transportation to the park. Excursions are generally quite affordable and include lunch, a guide, and transportation. We booked an excursion with Civitatis on our last trip to Trinidad – it was excellent and included an easy hike to the Vegas Grandes waterfall, lunch, and a visit to a coffee plantation.
Reviews and Bookings: Topes de Collantes Small-Group Excursions from Trinidad
2. Valle de Los Ingenios
Part of Trinidad’s well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage List designation stretches beyond Trinidad to cover the neighboring Valle de los Ingenios, or Valley of the Sugar Mills. This area was once the sugar-producing capital of Cuba and is now home to the remains of countless mills and plantations, many of which visitors can now explore.
Even better, Valle de los Ingenios is more than just a destination of historical and cultural importance – it’s a genuinely beautiful destination. Take a guided hike through the Santa Rosa Valley and the surrounding areas to appreciate the valley’s lush green hillsides and mountain views year-round, or simply explore the area by car for a memorable experience.
Just a short drive outside of the city, the Valle de los Ingenios is easily accessible as a day trip from Trinidad, though you could easily make it a half-day trip if your Cuba itinerary doesn’t allow for more time here.
3. Playa Ancón
A trip to Trinidad isn’t complete without a visit to Playa Ancón, Trinidad’s beach. Located just 15-20 minutes south of the city, Playa Ancón could easily be a quick day trip from Trinidad or even just a half-day excursion if your itinerary is tight.
Playa Ancón is known as arguably the best beach on the southern coast of Cuba. While that’s debatable (and doesn’t account for southern Cuba beaches like those on Cayo Largo del Sur), this fantastic and pristine beach is a favorite both with locals and visitors and is among Cuba’s best beaches.
Some travelers that visit Trinidad actually prefer to stay in one of the small guesthouses or resorts in Playa Ancón, taking day trips into Trinidad rather than the other way around! While there are far fewer accommodation options in Playa Ancón, this can be a nice way to enjoy a beach vacation rather than a Trinidad city break and might be worth considering for your trip.
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4. Cayo Blanco
Consider it a day trip from Playa Ancón, perhaps, but visiting the tiny off-shore island of Cayo Blanco is among the most unique yet overlooked day trips from Trinidad.
Accessible via excursions that depart from Playa Ancón, Cayo Blanco is little more than an uninhabited island a short boat ride from shore. However, its pristine white-sand beaches and renowned snorkeling and diving sites make it a magnet for travelers looking for one-of-a-kind Trinidad Cuba excursions.
Excursions to the island generally include lunch and an open bar to enjoy while on the boat. Snorkeling gear – and sometimes diving gear as well – is usually a part of the experience, though you will want to check in advance with the tour provider before booking the trip.
Read More: 12 Best Beaches in Cuba
5. Santa Clara
Located about two hours north of Trinidad, the central Cuban city of Santa Clara makes for a great excursion from Trinidad.
Santa Clara is best known as home to the mausoleum of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, which makes for an interesting day trip that history buffs will never forget. This monument is also home to a small museum with many of Guevara’s personal effects. Visit independently or with a guide who can help give context to the mausoleum and museum exhibits.
Spend a night in Santa Clara before traveling onward to some of Cuba’s best beaches. Santa Clara is just about two hours from some of the best beach destinations in Cuba’s northern cays, including the increasingly popular Cayo Santa Maria, which is home to some of Cuba’s most luxurious resorts.
Just over an hour west of Trinidad, the vibrant provincial capital city of Cienfuegos makes for one of the best and easiest excursions from Trinidad. While Cienfuegos is a relatively newer city than Trinidad – it was only settled in 1819! – its predominantly French architectural style gives it a beautiful and distinct style, unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere in Cuba.
While some travelers prefer to visit Cienfuegos as one of their day trips from Trinidad, Cienfuegos has plenty to offer travelers that warrant at least one overnight here. Explore the impressive Teatro Tomás Terry, walk the CIenfuegos Malecón sea wall, and take a free walking tour of Cienfuegos to explore the historic heart of town alongside a local guide.
End your visit by grabbing drinks at one of the waterfront cafes and restaurants in the Punta Gorda area overlooking the bay for the perfect end to a day spent exploring one of Cuba’s most beautiful (if sometimes overlooked!) cities.
7. Playa Girón
You may have never heard of Playa Girón, but I’d guess you’ve heard of the Bay of Pigs! Located at the mouth of the infamous Bay of Pigs (Bahía de Cochinos), Playa Girón is a small beach town that is well worth a visit, even just as a day trip from Trinidad.
History buffs can visit a small museum that commemorates the failed U.S. invasion, but most visitors add Playa Girón to their Cuba itinerary to enjoy the beach.
The protected waters of Caleta Buena are the perfect spot for enjoying the beach in Playa Girón. Visitors will also love swimming at Punta Perdiz; the facilities here cost $15 for daily use but include lunch and snorkeling gear, which is perfect for enjoying crystal clear waters that are considered one of the best spots for snorkeling in the Caribbean.
About two and a half hours west of Trinidad, it’s an even easier day trip from Cienfuegos, so save it as a side trip from Cienfuegos if your itinerary allows for it.
Read More: 15 Best Places To Visit in Cuba
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8. Pico San Juan
If you’re looking for a physical challenge, set out to hike Pico San Juan, which is among Cuba’s highest peaks at 3,740 feet. Pico San Juan is the tallest mountain in the Escambray Mountain range and lies midway between Trinidad and Cienfuegos.
While not as common of an ascent as Pico Turquino in Cuba’s eastern Sierra Maestra mountains, Pico San Juan is a straightforward yet moderately challenging hike that rewards trekkers with stunning vistas and lush tropical flora along the way. Its summit is marked with a statue of Antonio Núñez Jiménez, a Cuban geologist, archeologist, and revolutionary who fought alongside Che Guevara.
The mountain has played an important role in several different chapters of Cuban history. It witnessed battles between indigenous Cuban populations and Spanish conquistadores in the 17th century, served as a refuge for Cuban independence fighters in the 19th century, and was home to battles during and after the Cuban Revolution in the 20th century.
Read More: 10 Best Hiking Spots in Cuba
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Home to Havana and Explorers Away. She is a serial expat and traveler, having visited 40+ countries and counting. Carley has written for publications like Travel + Leisure, MSN, Associated Press, Weather Channel, Wealth of Geeks, and more. Find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.