You will be met at Cienfuegos Harbor port by your Ya’lla Tours USA private Cuban guide to begin your tour.
Drive to Trinidad.
Spend the morning on a walking tour of Trinidad, a living-museum of Spanish colonialism. The whole city, with its fine palaces, cobbled streets and red-tiled roofs, is a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Trinidad’s prosperity rested on the sugar industry. The city was a cultural center with theaters, schools of language, music, dance and a wide variety of artisans, including gold and silversmiths. Lavish public and private buildings filled the city.
During the second half of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution and increased sugar beet production in Europe led to the decline of Trinidad’s slavery-based economy. Construction ceased and the city remained frozen in time. Much of the architecture is Neoclassical and Baroque, with a Moorish flavor reflecting the town’s heritage of conquistadors.
Visit the Plaza Mayor in the center of town. Around the plaza is the Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad, the largest church in Cuba and renowned for its acoustics. This is a place to leave donations. The adventurous are invited to climb up to the Antiguo Convento de San Francisco de Asis. The tower and church are all that remain of the original convent.
Lunch is at one of Trinidad's best paladars, Sol Ananda.
After lunch, drive to the Valle de los Ingenios, or Valley of the Sugar Mills, a series of three interconnected valleys about 7.5 miles outside of Trinidad. The three valleys, San Luis, Santa Rosa and Meyer, were a center for sugar production from the late 18th century until the late 19th century. At the peak of the industry in Cuba there were over fifty sugar cane mills operating in the three valleys, with over 30,000 slaves working in the mills and plantations that surrounded them.
Sugar production was an important industry for Cuba from the earliest settlement by the Spanish, who introduced sugar cane to the island in 1512, and trade in the commodity enriched Trinidad and the surrounding areas. The island became the world's foremost producer of sugar during the late 18th and 19th centuries, when sugar production was the main industry.
In 1988, Valle de los Ingenios and neighboring Trinidad were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Although most of the sugar mills are in ruins, intact structures endure at some sites.
Visit the plantation of Manaca Iznaga, where the owner's house, a tower and some barracones (the original slave quarters) still stand. Although the barracones are now used as housing, they are in poor repair. The owner’s house has been converted into a restaurant.
Return to Cienfuegos port to rejoin your cruise.
This trip is conducted under a General License – Humanitarian project (section 515.575)
PLEASE NOTE: U.S. dollars, traveler's checks and credit cards are not accepted in Cuba.
If possible, exchange USD to CUC (Convertable Cuban Peso) on your cruise ship before arrival, in order to save time in port.