Cuba // Trinidad and Sancti Spíritus //

Valle de los Ingenios

The Valle de los Ingenios, a sprawling, open valley bordered by the eastern slopes of the Sierra del Escambray, was once one of Cuba’s most productive agricultural areas. In its heyday it was crammed with dozens of the sugar estates and refineries on which Trinidad built its wealth during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today just one refinery remains, but the valley’s prestigious past can be partly appreciated at Manaca-Iznaga, one of the old colonial estates, best reached on the steam train from Trinidad, whose engines, dating from the early twentieth century, pull rickety wooden carriages on an hour-long ride to the estate through rich layers of rural countryside, rattling and puffing through thick bush and small forests, then open, lush grazing land and maize fields, with green hills and low mountains forming the backdrop.

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