Manaca Iznaga is an historic sugarcane plantation nestled amid the verdant landscapes of the Valle de los Ingenios. It was established in the mid-1700s and later purchased by Pedro Iznaga, one of Cuba’s richest men at the time. Manaca Iznaga grew to become one of the biggest sugar mills in the valley and infamous for slave trafficking. Today, you can walk amid the estate’s buildings to appreciate the lives of both its entrepreneurs and slaves.
The estate’s major highlight is the 149-feet (45-meter) tall Manaca Iznaga Tower. It served as a lookout for watching over the slaves. Note the tower’s seven arched levels, which are a blend of square and octagonal shapes. Climb the dozens of steps that lead to the tower’s observation deck. Then admire the sweeping views of a picturesque countryside made up of farmland, forests, patchwork fields and the distant Escambray Mountains.
Go to the Casa Hacienda, a resplendent colonial mansion and the former residence of the estate’s owners. It features a traditional colonial arcade and is fronted by an ornamental garden. Have lunch on the hacienda’s terrace, which faces the garden. Shop for Cuban dolls, handicrafts, hats and textiles, among other souvenirs.
Look for the huge bell outside the hacienda. It previously hung in the tower and, when rung, was used to signal the start and end of the slaves’ working day. At the rear of the house is a large press, from which you can have a go at producing your own sugarcane juice. Don’t miss the former slave quarters that have been converted into family lodgings.
Manaca Iznaga is 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Trinidad. A fun way to get here is to catch the steam train from Trinidad. This railroad route dates back to the late 1800s and was created to transport sugar to the port town of Casilda. It’s free to visit the estate and there’s a nominal fee to climb the tower.
Monuments, Historical Buildings and Museums
Get a grand view of the green countryside near Trinidad while you contemplate the original use of this tall tower, part of a former sugar plantation.
Take a pleasant ride out to this beach on a south side peninsula and enjoy sunbathing, snorkeling and splashing about in the blue-green water.
The main square of Trinidad, Cuba, is lined with colorful historic buildings constructed during the region’s prominence as a sugar-producing center.
Set off on a tropical adventure into Cuba’s jungle-covered mountains where thundering waterfalls, hidden caves and natural pools dot the landscape.
This vast 19th-century church towers over Trinidad’s main square and is a great starting point for exploring this UNESCO-protected city.
Travel back to the time of Cuba’s important sugar trade in this valley where remains of 50 historic sugar mills still stand.