In Cuba's five hundred year old town of Trinidad, a woman walks home at dusk.

An Evening Stroll in Trinidad

Evening of April 29, 2014  Trinidad, Cuba

I had booked several nights at Casa Magaly, a private residence that had been turned into a Cuban bed-and-breakfast or ‘Air BnB’ of sorts. Only four blocks away from the Plaza Mayor or main plaza in central Trinidad, the home was conveniently located for exploring the five hundred year old World Heritage site. The two-story concrete structure had a salmon-painted, but otherwise plain façade.

Magaly, the proprietor, and her son stood in their doorway to greet me.

Casa Magaly is a two-story casa particular run by Magaly and her son

Casa Magaly is a two-story casa particular run by Magaly and her son.

I found this casa particular (Spanish for “private home”) on a Cuban website for tourists seeking rental cars and lodging.

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The entrance to Trinidad, Cuba, courtesy of Casa La Milagrosa in Trinidad.

Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200*

April 29, 2014  Havana to Trinidad, Cuba

Driving on the country road, I traced my way from the Autopista Nacional westward toward Trinidad on my Cuba map. I was heading southwest toward Cienfuegos, a small city of about 150,000 on the southern coast of Cuba about 160 miles from Havana. If I didn’t have to worry about reaching Trinidad before dark I’d detour at the southern coast and turn eastward to see Playa Giron, or the Bay of Pigs, but decided against it.

Instead I focused on the status of two tanks—filling the rental car’s gas tank and emptying my full bladder.

Surprisingly, gas stations in Cuba are seemingly plentiful. Bathrooms, on the other hand, not so much.

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A vintage Cuban postcard shows a typical bohio dwelling in the countryside.

‘Turn Right at Fidel to Head to Trinidad’

April 29, 2014  Havana to Trinidad, Cuba

I resisted the temptation to wave to the Cuban security watchers at the school when I exited the gated enclosure of Ed’s house. Turning right I paid attention to landmarks so I would be able to retrace my steps in several days.

Making a right at the ruined roofless yellow church at the corner, I found myself driving carefully along Quinta Avenida. Before long I was looking at the ocean and the famed Malecon on my left, but I knew not to lose focus. Now, I had to rely on memory and look for the turn-off to the harbor tunnel.

Aha! I saw the one lone small sign and quickly made the sharp right turn into the tunnel. My shoulders relaxed a bit and I took a deep breath.

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Google Maps shows the route from Havana to Trinidad in Cuba.

The Road to Trinidad is Paved with Good Intentions

April 29, 2014  Havana to Trinidad, Cuba

After a Cuban coffee-fueled breakfast, it was finally time to take out the large detailed map of Cuba I brought with me to guide my driving in Cuba.

Without a cellphone (deemed too risky, I left mine home lest Cuban security spooks riddle it remotely with spyware) or GPS (no Wi-Fi outside of the limited tourist areas in Old Havana), I would have to use a map for driving across half of Cuba.

If you have a navigator or co-pilot along for the drive, then folding and unfolding a huge map and reading the small print is doable, of course. But I would be driving alone.

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