Cobblestone streets and colonial buildings painted with a blast of bright yellows, blues, and pinks await in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad.

This perfectly-preserved Spanish colonial town was settled in 1514 and seems to be lost in time with horse-drawn carts and vintage cars lining the small alleyways. The wealth from the sugar trade of the early 19th century led this central, southern town to flourish with churches, plazas, and mansions.

Take a walk through the Plaza Mayor, flanked by La Parroquial Mayor church. Dine at one of the many pastel-hued, terracotta-roofed restaurants lining the plaza. A turquoise mansion has been transformed into the Museo de Arquiterctura which showcases works from the 18th century, while the Museo Romantico is a trip into the opulent life of a former sugar plantation owner. The 1830 Museo Historico Municipal’s interior is adorned with crystal, frescoes, marble statues, furniture with inlays of pearl, and vases; each piece is a reminder of the prosperity of the sugar barons.

Climb the old San Francisco Convent’s yellow bell tower that rises to the skies for a view of the homes and mountains beyond.

A jaunt outside Trinidad is an opportunity to splash in the calm, crystal waters of the Playa Ancon on Cuba’s white sand southern coast. To the north, the Sierra del Escambray mountains offer hiking and cooling off in green pools at the bottom of majestic waterfalls. Tropical birds flutter through the palms. Bike through the area and enjoy fresh passion fruit, mangoes, and bananas from roadside vendors.

The locals in Trinidad are charming, often gathering on stoops to chat or play dominoes. Dance the warm night away to live salsa and rumba in the Plaza Musica, a popular outdoor performance space that the locals love. Horns, Spanish guitar, and percussion are hallmarks of this fast-paced, partner-led dance, begging anyone passing by to put down their mojito and start moving under the glittering stars.