Discover a world of caves, grottos, and rivers weaving through the valleys. Marvel at crystal-clear pools where majestic waterfalls cascade into their depths. Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve boasts a diverse ecosystem that is home to Cuba’s vibrant endemic birds, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.

Located between Cienfuegos and Trinidad, the reserve comprises five smaller parks: Parque El Nicho, Parque Guanayara, Parque el Cubano, Parque Altiplano, and Parque Codina. Each park offers well-defined hiking trails that lead through misty forests to breathtaking jungle-clad waterfalls and natural swimming holes.

Exploring Cuba’s natural beauty without a guide can be challenging, but Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve provides an opportunity for independent exploration. Our guide will help you navigate the area, recommend the best parks to visit, provide tips for a memorable experience, and help you make the most of your visit.

Escape to the tranquility of the Escambray mountains, rising nearly 1,000 meters above the charming colonial town of Trinidad and the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Immerse yourself in the wonders of Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve, where rivers, canyons, waterfalls, and wildlife await. Leave behind the noise and heat of Cuba and embark on an unforgettable hiking and swimming adventure.

El Nicho Waterfall

Parque El Nicho

Discover Parque El Nicho, where a short 700-meter trail leads you to a stunning natural pool with a waterfall. Surrounded by banana trees and ferns, this picturesque swimming area is one of Cuba’s most beautiful spots. Take a leisurely 1.5km loop and explore the park’s scenic highlights, including lookout points, smaller waterfalls, and picturesque river views. The trail is easily navigable, ensuring a stress-free experience.

Please note that the swimming hole is elevated, so sturdy shoes are recommended. While there is some shade along the paths, don’t forget to bring sunscreen for added protection in the Cuban sun. Changing rooms are not available, but discreet costume changes can be done behind a rock.

Parque Guanayara

Head to Parque Guanayara, the remote jewel of Topes de Collantes, nestled deep in the Escambray Mountains. Immerse yourself in the beauty of lush coffee plantations, picturesque waterfalls, and crystal-clear pools. Take a walk along the Centinelas del Rio Melodioso trail, a 3km journey that leads you to the mesmerizing El Rocio waterfall and the tranquil Poza de Venado pool. Explore the Casa de la Gallega and uncover the fascinating history and significance of Cuba’s coffee industry, the country’s fifth-largest industry.

While El Nicho may steal the spotlight with its stunning swimming spots, Parque Guanayara is a haven for bird lovers, showcasing endemic species that call the island home.

El Cubano

Parque el Cubano located on the southern edge of the Escambray mountains, this park is just a short distance from the vibrant colonial town of Trinidad. Take a refreshing hike to the picturesque waterfall and indulge in a swim in its invigorating pool. With its easy access from town and well-marked trail, Sendero Cimarrones de Javira, the park offers a delightful outdoor adventure that is impossible to resist.

As you embark on the 6km round trip trail, you’ll cross a charming small rope bridge, setting the tone for a hike filled with hand-made wonders. Wander through shaded trails adorned with tropical plants, vibrant flowers, and lush green foliage. The soothing canopy of trees shields you from the scorching sun, while colorful birds grace the sky above. Finally, reach the enchanting Javira waterfall, cascading into a large natural pool. Dive into the cool waters, rejuvenating your senses and taking in the magnificent surroundings. Explore the hidden cave with its stalagmites and, if you’re lucky, spot a bat or two.

After a few bustling days in Trinidad, Parque El Cubano provides the perfect retreat to unwind and reconnect with nature!

Parque Altiplano

Discover the wonders of Parque Altiplano, home to the town of Topes and the heart of the nature reserve. Set off on the well-marked trails, Sendero del Cabiurní and Sendero Vegas Grandes, and prepare to be mesmerized. Sendero del Cabiurní offers a steep descent into a picturesque valley, rewarding you with a majestic 64m waterfall and inviting swimming holes. Embrace the thrill of jumping into the water from impressive heights. Allow 2 to 3 hours for the round trip.

For a more challenging yet rewarding hike, take on the Sendero Vegas Grandes. This 2km trail boasts a steep descent, leading you to a captivating waterfall and a fascinating cave. Although this hike is shorter, allow 2 hours to fully experience its beauty. While the connecting trail between these two paths may not be well signposted, you can rest assured that our guides will be there to assist you every step of the way.

Parque Codina

In Parque Codina, two well-marked and straightforward trails await exploration. Start with the Sendero de Alfombra Mágica, a 1km loop that takes you through a stunning orchid garden. However, note that reaching this trail requires a challenging 4km drive on a rough road accessible only by a 4×4 vehicle.

Alternatively, embark on the Sendero La Batata, conveniently located near the accessible Parque Altiplano. This 3km trail, well-signed and easy to follow, leads you to the Grotto of Batata. Here, you’ll discover caves filled with pools and small waterfalls, providing a refreshing escape from the heat. Just be prepared for slightly colder water compared to other spots.

Some trips for your travel

To make the most of your visit, plan your trip during the sunny and cooler months of January to April. With average temperatures ranging from 26 to 31 degrees, Cuba’s year-round warmth beckons you to explore its natural wonders. Don’t forget to pack essentials such as sunblock, a hat, and water to protect yourself from the sizzling sun. Bring along a towel and swimming trunks to take advantage of the pristine swimming options available. Ensure you wear comfortable shoes with good grip for the trails and consider embarking on your hikes early in the day to avoid the hottest hours.

Finally, keep your eyes peeled for the chance to spot endemic birds. Consider bringing binoculars and a telephoto lens to enhance your bird-watching experience.

So why wait? Embark on an unforgettable adventure through Cuba’s stunning nature reserves and create memories that will last a lifetime.