Topes de Collantes
One of the biggest natural parks in Cuba, located on the border of three Cuban provinces, comprises a range of smaller parks – Parque Altiplano, Parque Codina, Parque Guanayara, Parque el Cubano and Parque El Nicho, as well as the Hanabanilla lake.
The only Topes de Collantes hotels are located in this, most developed, tourist site. Apart from the hotels, other interesting sights include Museo de Arte Cubano Contemparano (“the Museum of Contemporary Cuban Art”) and the “Mi Retiro” restaurant.
The 7-kilometer (roundtrip) hike to the 75-meter Salto de Caburní (“Caburní Falls”) starts east of the entrance to Kurhotel. The entrance fee of 6.50 CUC is paid at the gate. Once they get there, the visitors are allowed to swim in the large pool below the Caburni Falls. This is the most popular hike through coffee plantations, that passes by traditional farmhouses and cliffs and finally reaches the Caburni river which falls from a 62 metres (203 ft) rock wall into a series of ponds.
Alternatively, for a fee of 3.50 CUC, one can choose a six-kilometer (roundtrip) hike down the Sendero La Batata with beautiful scenic views to a cave with an underground creek and natural ponds, where swimming is also possible. This trail starts at the Casa de Café, where visitors can taste locally grown coffee.
Other points of interest include the Jardin de Gigantes (“Giants’ Garden”) and a brief hike to Salto Vega Grande (“the Vega Grande Falls’).
This smaller park is located near the Parque Altiplano and it features other hiking trails to waterfalls, caves, and lookouts. Bird watching and camping are among popular activities there.
The nearby Hacienda Codina ranch offers its visitors a number of attractions, including medicinal mud baths, medicinal and ornamental gardens, an orchid collection with more than 40 local species (including bamboo), the Altar cave with a secret passage leading to a lovely lookout boasting views of Valle de los Ingenios (the “Valley of the Sugar Mills”), Trinidad and Playa Ancon.
This site comprises a series of cascades flowing through a canyon, as well as the Cascada El Rocío waterfall, where one can swim, go camping or hiking.
Parque El Nicho
El Nicho can be reached from both Trinidad and Cienfuegos by car. The ride itself takes up to 2 hours each way. This beautiful natural park features a series of waterfalls and clear blue pools. The entrance fee is 5 CUC and visitors may hike or ride a horse through the park. There is also a restaurant.
Parque El Cubano
The closest natural site to Trinidad is Parque El Cubano. The trip usually includes horseback riding through the valley to a waterfall in the woods, and enables you to swim in a natural pool beneath the waterfall, observe the local bird species and visit the Mirador de Caribe.
On the north side of the natural park there is a large reservoir called Embalse Hanabanilla. The nearby hotel, called Hanabanilla, offers hiking tours, horseback riding, boating, and fishing trips. In November, owing to heavy rains, the reservoir fills and the road to the hotel gets flooded. In that period the hotel can be reached by boat or by crossing a dam.