The intro to my article on Trinidad, Cuba, for Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014:
Tiny Trinidad, sloping between the tropical foothills of the Escambray Mountains and the sparkling Caribbean Sea, is a sherbet-tinged, time-trapped Unesco World Heritage Site, bulging with the best of architectural and decorative wealth from the 19th century – Mudéjar ceilings, French porcelain and Carrara marble floors. 2014 marks the 500th anniversary of the city’s foundation by Spanish conquistadors with a series of fiestas and cultural events. Trinidad is the extraordinarily beautiful result of a 19th-century sugar boom. The conspicuous wealth of its sugar barons derives from the captive sweat of imported African slaves. This legacy is what provides Trinidad with a curious thrill: Afro-Cuban dance performances, African brotherhood societies and their rituals, and the hypnotic sound of the percussive clave beat – the rhythmic foundation of salsa – erupting in dance halls every night.