CARIBBEAN CHARISMA

DestinAsian - - GOOD TO GO NEXT STOP - —James Louie

No Span­ish-colo­nial town in Cuba is quite as be­guil­ing as UNESCO-listed Trinidad, whose pas­tel-hued, terra cotta–roofed build­ings lie in the ver­dant foothills of the Es­cam­bray Moun­tains. Cow­boys from the sur­round­ing coun­try­side reg­u­larly roam on horse­back through the cob­ble­stone streets, past churches and well-pre­served colo­nial man­sions fi­nanced by the boom­ing sugar cane in­dus­try (and slave trade) in the early to mid-1800s. Be­yond the neo-Baroque mon­u­ments fronting Plaza Mayor, Trinidad’s beat­ing heart, lo­cal res­i­dents dance to salsa and son cubano mu­sic into the early morn­ing hours. The mer­ry­mak­ing reaches its peak dur­ing the an­nual Fiestas San­juan­eras, a four-day cel­e­bra­tion held around the last week­end of June: ex­pect rodeos, tra­di­tional games, and an eye-pop­ping pa­rade of masked rev­el­ers and floats that nod to the Afro-Cuban roots of much of Trinidad’s pop­u­lace.

Late af­ter­noon at pic­turesque Plaza Mayor, the main square in Trinidad.

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