By Mayté Solano Gómez
We have already explored Trinidad and its attractions. Also known as the ‘City Museum‘ and a World Heritage site since 1988, it is considered one of the main tourist destinations in Cuba. We have talked about its beaches and the nautical recreation options and its historical places. To close, we will introduce you to the natural beauties of this region.
A real natural paradise. The Great Natural Park Topes de Collantes.
At 800 meters above sea level there is a true paradise: the Natural Protected Landscape Topes de Collantes. With a microclimate due to the high mountains, it also has adense and varied vegetation, similar to that of tropical forests in many cases. Among its flora we can find from tree ferns and wild orchids to coniferas forests.
Being part of the Sierra del Escambray, the cultivation of coffee is one of the main economic activities in this area. Here it is possible to know the history of this precious plant, as well as its flavor and how its forms of preparation.
With an area of more than 20 000 hectares, we can find here several Natural Parks and places to enjoy nature.
El Cubano Natural Park
It has an area of 3 km and is located in the margins of the river Guaurabo. In this area there is one of the first sugar mills built in Trinidad: the Ingenito. When you visit it you get an idea of how the life of the slaves was here. In other parts of the park you can enjoy hiking, walking over small hanging bridges, horseback riding, bird observations and waterfalls and pools.
In general, the Natural Park El Cubano is a great option for the whole family.
The Salto de Javira is on the path of the same name, in El Cubano Natural Park. It is another place where you can go hiking, take photographs, observe birds and bathe in the refreshing waters of a natural poza.
The Caburní Natural Park
It is located in the heart of Topes de Collantes. It counts among its main attractions the Salto of the Caburni. And although the access involves a short trek, it also has stretches of very difficult slopes.
Vegas Grandes Path
On the way to this path you can visit a coffee plantation, a peasant’s house and, at the same time, listen to and photograph native birds of Cuba. All this, before reaching the natural pool, after a descent of about 500mts. With a beautiful view and fresh water where you can dive, it also has a small cave, protected by the falling waters, like a curtain.
El Nicho is one of the places in Cuba that lovers of natural beauties should not miss. Located in the Sierra del Escambray, you can access both Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
An event to enjoy in the Great Natural Park Topes de Collantes.
Thans to the beautiful and varied landscapes and the exuberant flora and fauna of the place, Topes de Collantes holds some of the most popular nature events in the country. One of them is the Nature Photography Contest.
Year after year there, in September, we meet nature lovers, tourist operators, travel agents and specialized press. The images are taken on trails such as the Batata, Guaurabo River, Guanayara, among others chosen by contestants. In addition to the photo contest, participants enjoy varied activities associated with nature tourism, as well as other attractions in the region.
The Great Natural Park Topes de Collantes. Beyond nature.
In several points of the Gran Natural Park you can find restaurants and cafes, where you can taste delicious typical drinks of the area and excellent Cuban food, besides encountering the cordial and easy-going character of the peasants who inhabit the region.
At different points of the road you can find craftsmen, that sell the crafts made with natural resources like ferns and quartz (a type of stone that abounds in the area and are said to have healing qualities).
On one of the access roads to Topes de Collantes you can stop at the view point . From here you can see the Ancón peninsula Ancón and its beaches, as well as the surrounding mountains.
Finally, in the Natural Park there are many lodging facilities, with all the amenities included. Also tourist information bureaus
How to get to the Great Natural Park Topes de Collantes.
If you don’t have your own rental car, you can always use the services of the Gaviota travel agency in the region. You can also rent a private taxi. These 2 last options are the most recommended. Although the access roads to Topes de Collantes are mostly safe, it is advisable to have a driver who knows the roads and the local area well. In any case, the transport used must be in optimal condition, taking into account the altitude, the steepness of some slopes and the curves in the road.