1. Why El Topes de Collantes Is famous for tourist Place ?
Topes de Collantes situated in Cuba’s Escambray Mountain. Collantes high is a natural reserve park located near Trinidad city, and it is the third highest peak of the mountain range. The Collantes high natural reserve park can be found at the Escambray Mountains’ south-eastern ranges.
Meanwhile, Topes de Collantes national park showcases its beauty through canyons, waterfalls, caves, and rivers. The national park with green grass covered mountain peaks gives a beautiful sight for nature lovers. On the other hand, the breathtaking sceneries make the view more enjoyable for the nature enthusiasts.
With the perfect combination of different natural terrains, it is a great attraction for adventurers. The mountain tops and waterfalls blend in together for a perfect mix of amusement and adventure time.It is definitely a place to plan for the tour if someone is up for an adventure. Collantes Highs is a sight for sore eyes.
2. Geographical description & the beauty Of El Topes de Collantes
Topes de Collantes is nearly 2,600 feet above sea level which comes in at the third highest peak in the park after Potrerillo peak 3,054 ft and San Juan peak 3,740 ft. Moreover, Topes de Collantes Cuba lays in the Escambray mountain range these mountains share three provinces of the island. The mountains are joined by Cienfuegos province in the west, Sancti Spiritus province in the east, and Villa Clara province in the north.
The winds coming from the Atlantic Ocean have turned the northern face of mountains into a luxurious habitat for animals and plants. However, the south face masses critical ecosystems, which therefore consists of two well-known UNESCO World Heritage sites: Trinidad City and Valle de Los Ingenios, both are an example of wealthy Cuban colony of early 17th century.
Nature is the best attraction to be seen in Topes de Collantes. The topes de collantes national park’s beauty is inherited with canyons, caves, waterfalls, grottos, rivers, natural pools, mountain hills surrounded with butterfly lily. Butterfly Lily, Cuba’s national flower, marks its beautiful presence from June to start of September.
In fact, Topes de Collantes national park includes 100 species of fern and 40 species of orchids. Fern’s different species include 7 species of 6 meters tall tree ferns. The National park includes banana trees, begonias, jasmine, various representatives of the ginger family, in addition to wild plantain, and furthermore 40 species of coffee growing under tall pine trees’ shade. Also the Parque natural topes de collantes wildlife contains Cartacuba, tocororo (Cuba’s national bird), Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker, and hummingbirds.
3. El Topes de Collantes Name,s History & Its culture:
The name Topes de Collantes means Collantes’ Highs. Parque Natural Topes de Collantes spreads in Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, and Cienfuegos provinces of Cuba. A park is truly a place for the tourists to enjoy the Mother Nature’s beautiful, peaceful environment.
Topes de Collantes is a natural park covered with Limestone Mountains, caves, and waterfalls. However, the highest peak is Pico de San Juan 3740 feet above sea level. Note that, Pico de San Juan is not accessible for hiking to tourists as it is in a military zone.
The mountains were a place of action for Escambray rebellion from 1959–1965. The rebellion consisted of a group of insurgents opposing Fidel Castro’s Cuban government. In 1965, all insurgents were eliminated by the Cuban government forces to end the insurgency. The Cuban government as a result of war named the rebellion “War Against the Bandits.”
4. Top Things to do in El Topes de Collantes
1. Parque Altiplano
The roundtrip hike of 7km, to 75meter Salto de Caburní will make your visit memorable (the entry fee here is 6.50 CUC). The trail starts from east of Kurhotel, on reaching the Caburani Falls you can enjoy the large pool below waterfalls.
On the other hand, Sendero La Batata is a great hiking trail starting from Casa de Café (the entry fee here is 3.50 CUC). Moreover, the 6km roundtrip leads to a cave with underground creek, here you can swim and climb around in the cave. On the other hand remember for climbing bring along your sandals, if you don’t have tough feet soles.
2. Parque Codina
A place near Parque Altiplano. The area’s map includes a restaurant to serve the tourist groups. Different hiking trails lead to caves, waterfalls, viewpoint, bird watching, and camping from this point.
3. Parque El Nicho
It consists beautiful serious of clear blue pools and waterfalls. The drive is two hours from Cienfuegos to Parque El Nicho and vice versa. However, the road to Crucecitas is good it’s OK if you drive slowly and a bus also leaves from Cienfuegos to the point.
El Nicho can be crowded in the summer season, so don’t expect to be all alone on reaching (the entrance fee is 5 CUC). A restaurant is present to serve with necessities. You can take the hiking route above the waterfalls, and along the creek, on the other hand, you can use the option of horseback riding available.
4. Parque El Cubano
It is nearest to Trinidad. Map shows that the area has bird watching, camping place, horseback riding, a restaurant, swimming, and waterfall. On the other hand, a trail leads to Mirador de Caribe, which is located on the way to Topes de Collantes.
5. Embalse Hanabanilla
Situated on the northern side of Topes de Collantes national park it is a large reservoir, the closest town is Manicaragua. The Hotel Hanabanilla provides the tourists with boating, horseback riding, hiking, and fishing. However the hotel mostly includes Cubans, only few North Americans and Europeans can be seen there.
The reservoir is flooded in November, and the road leading towards hotel is underwater. Hotel Hanabanilla can be reached from rowboat fee or from following a way to the dam and walking across it. The spilling from the dam is only a few centimeters in depth.
6. Villa Guajimico
Villa Guajimico is situated in the middle of Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Villa Guajimico doesn’t come in boundaries of Topes de Collantes Cuba it is a resort for nearby Cubans. The resort is on the coast at Río La Jutía, including 51 decent cabins, a swimming pool, and an excellent restaurant.
In fact, for adventures, a hiking trail leads from the resort to a nearby cave through the forest. Moreover near to Trinidad is Playa Ingles, a decent beach with no food or showers. Río Yaguuanabo is even closer to Trinidad, a well-built resort for Cubans with a huge beach under a remarkable bridge.
7. Hacienda Codina
It is a ranch having different attractions like medicinal and ornamental gardens and medicinal mud baths. The national park orchid’s collection exceeds 40 local species.
From the Hacienda Codina is an altar cave with secret passage ending on the south face of the mountain. The cave ends with the sight of Ancon, Trinidad, and Valley of the sugar mills (Valle de Los Ingenios).
8. Paseo Ecologico
Ecology walk is a 0.62 miles (1km) path linking Hotel Los Helechos with Kurhotel. Moreover, the road is filled with arborescent ferns, and Mariposa shrubs shaded below the eucalyptus and pine canopies.
9. Parque La represa
It is a one square kilometer park built around the original house for Martha (Batista’s wife). Situated on River Vega Grande banks, there is a botanical garden devoted to trees with over 300 exotic species. In fact the most ancient and tallest mahogany ever discovered in Cuba is breathing in this place.
10. Snak Bar “El Mirador”
“El Mirador” meaning The Lookout is on the way downwards to Trinidad, situated in the middle of the range in the back and the Valley. El Mirador stands at 600 meters from sea level providing sights of peninsula below and city.
5. Best Hotel & Resorts List In El Topes de Collantes
1. Hotel Villa Caburni
Situated in an ideal location of Topes de Collantes Touristic Complex in the region of Guamuhaya in Sancti Spiritus. Distance of 20km from Trinidad and well-known Playa Ancon. The Hotel Caburní is in the cooler mountain region with an advantage of nearby major sights. However, at a distance of 68km from Cienfuegos, the important southern city is within the range.
2. Hotel Los Helechos
Hotel Los Helechos located at the height of 800meter above sea level. However, Hotel Los Helechos is situated 5km above from Trinidad city. At a distance of 500meter from the hotel there is a place for erecting hammocks or tents. Moreover, visitors can go to the nearby cafeteria for a cup of coffee at a distance of 100m from the hotel.
6. Best Restaurant & Food Item In El Topes de Collantes
Casa Museo Del Café located near the Plaza de las Memorias, from which two different hiking tracks lead to Jardin de Gigantes and La Batata. Del Café serves an excellent cappuccino with information about the growth of coffee. On the other hand, Del Café garden contains different coffee plants for a pleasurable experience.
Hacienda Codina serves delicious Cuba- spit-roasted pig for your appetite. Casa de la Gallega provides mojito for a refreshing experience and fine cooked chicken for eliminating hunger.
is the best place around to get some refreshing mojito and to get the fine cooked chicken for a meal. La Caoba is the place to grab some local traditional snacks and continue on your trail. The fish caught and served at Gran Nena is fresh and delicious; it is hard to wait for what they are offering next.
7. How to reach El Topes de Collantes & how much it costs:
From Havana: Get on the “Carretera Nacional (A-1)” until you reach “Km 270 Carretera a Manicaragua”. The perimeter of the park begins nearly 50 Kilometers from the highway.
From Trinidad: Watch out for Topes de Collantes turn off from coastal road (located nearly 7 kilometers to the west of the town) straightly following from checkpoint or “punto decontrol”.Be ready for some unpleasant drive along the entry from both starting points.
Topes de Collantes is at a distance of 20 Kilometers from Trinidad city and 350 kilometers of distance from east of Havana. Topes de Collantes national park is easily approachable from Trinidad city. Every day buses are headed to Trinidad from the main cities of Cuba. Tourists must book tickets a day before from traveling as they are sold out usually in advance. Travelers can buy cheap tickets from bus station instead of booking online.
From Havana to Trinidad
Bus Fare: $25/person
Departure times: 14:15, 10:45, 7:00
Traveling Distance Time: 6 hours 50 minutes
From Vinales to Trinidad
Bus Fare: $37/person
Departure time: 6:45
Traveling Distance Time: 9 hours and 30 minutes
From Varadero to Trinidad
Bus Fare: $20/person
Departure time: 7:00
Traveling Distance Time: 6 hours and 25 minutes
From Cienfuegos to Trinidad
Bus Fare: $6/per person
Departure time: 18:00, 15:15, 14:40, 12:15
Traveling Distance Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes
On reaching Trinidad take a cab which will cost around 20-25 CUC (one-way fare) to Parque natural topes de collantes.
8. When time you shold go there ?
Topes de Collantes has a subtropical climate; it is dry between December and May which makes it a perfect time for a visit. In fact, tourists avoid going in the wet season (from June to November) to Trinidad topes de collantes.
Meanwhile, visitors enjoy the weather of dry season because it is relaxing and soothing for the body. However, travelers avoid the wet season completely due to harsh weather. Collantes’ highs Ponds can be muddy in the rainy season.
9. Tips for tourists
1. Collantes’ highs have subtropical region; it is important to coordinate with weather conditions and your traveling
2. Keep insect repellents.
3. Keep proper hiking tools.
4. Take plenty of water with you (as some hikes can be long and tiring).
5. Keep a sharp notice of buses departure time.
6. For best experience hire a guide (with whom it is easy to communicate).
7. Keep yourself updated with region’s weather as it can change at any time and your traveling can get quite unpleasant.
8. Tourist spots can be overcrowded so arrive early to enjoy some solitude.
other nearby things to do
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