Thursday, May 26, 2022

El Nicho and Cienfuegos, Cuba


In March, I had the opportunity to spend ten days touring around Cuba. Our small group traveled the island in two rental cars, which allowed us the flexibility to stop where and when we wanted. Driving from Trinidad to Cienfuegos, we decided to visit the El Nicho waterfall.

El Nicho is in the mountains that separate El Oriente, the eastern part of Cuba, from the rest of the island. From the entrance of the nature preserve, it is a short walk (about 0.5 miles), along a well developed path, to the base of the falls. Along the way, we passed a natural diving pool, and walked through a beautiful forrest. El Nicho Falls are spread across around thirty meters, along the top of a cliff. The cascade down in four or five different places, before rejoining at the bottom.

After our walk, we traveled on to Cienfuegos. The town was founded in the early 1800’s, but the development of it as a city began in 1880. After the revolution, Cienfuegos was developed primarily as an industrial city, with many projects planned, but few actually finished. However, its well protected natural bay has made Cienfuegos a major port for the center of the island. We spent the late afternoon walking around the old port area. We explored the streets and met some of the people who lived and worked there.

We also took advantage of the special light at the end of the day. We walked down to the Muelle Real (Royal Pier) and then to Jose Martí Park just as the sun was setting.

Having the chance to walk around a city, with nothing to do but take pictures is a joy. Especially when you are doing it in the company of people with the same passion. The energy the develops in the group is amazing, and we all begin to look at the world through each other’s eyes.


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Trinidad, Cuba


My recent trip to Cuba took me to one of the oldest European cities in the Americas, Trinidad, which was founded in 1514. This was not my first visit to the city, I spent several hours here when I took a cruise to the island in 2019. However, this time I had a couple of days to explore its history and life.

I stayed at the Casa Fefa y Reyes, a colonial house in the center of town. This casa particular is a beautiful old building that has been updated to a modern B and B. It offered me the chance to visit behind the facade of one of the colonial homes in the old part of town. The casa had two front rooms with many pieces of furniture, and photographs, that date back to the original, pre-revolutionary owners. The rooms opened onto an interior courtyard, where I was served breakfast every morning, and guests could sit and enjoy the warm weather. There was also a roof-top patio that offered great views of the city.

My room at Casa Fefa y Reyes

Roof-top patio

After settling in, my group went for a walk to the Plaza Mayor, the traditional center of city life. We spent time taking some night photos at the plaza, and then headed to the Trinidad Jazz Cafe for a delicious dinner, with some live music to enjoy.

Plaza Mayor

Carlos Otero Blanco posing for us

A local muscian

I woke early the next morning, and headed up to the roof-top patio to take some early morning photos.

We spent the morning exploring the city. I stayed near Plaza Carrillo, which is the center of city life for most of the residents. It is a place where people hang out discussing the events of the day. I watched a young lady do her school work, some gentlemen creating “el hangeo” on the corner, and many people going about their daily chores.

Morning flowers for sale

Shortages mean people line up before the stores open

working phone booths

El Hangeo

Class trips look the same everywhere

I also visited the Casa de Yemayá, a temple to the Orisha of the oceans in the religion of Santería, the Cuban expression of the traditional Yoruban Lucumí belief system.


Trinidad is a beautiful and historic city, and it is a place that should be visited on any trip to Cuba.