Topes de Collantes National Park is a natural reservoir that offers the possibility of getting away from everyday stress and entering another reality.
It is an ideal place to breathe fresh air, take beautiful photos, enjoy beautiful views and feel part of nature itself. Hence, it is also ideal for hiking and mountaineering. It is made up of a set of mountains, rivers, and caves in their natural state.
Its six parks offer a wide variety of excursions: the Caburní, Vegas Grandes, and Guanayara are recognized as the main ones, both for nationals and foreigners.
- Where is Topes de Collantes National Park?
- How to get to Topes de Collantes National Park and how far is it from Havana, Varadero and Trinidad?
- The history of Topes de Collantes
- Interesting facts about Topes de Collantes National Park
- What are the routes and trails that give access to the Topes de Colllantes National Park?
- Where to stay once in Topes de Collantes?
- Tips to consider
Where is Topes de Collantes National Park?
Topes de Collantes National Park is located in the center of Cuba, in the mountainous group Guamuhaya or Sierra del Escambray, at 800 meters above sea level.
Exactly about 350 kilometers east of Havana and 20 kilometers from the city of Trinidad, and the San Luis Valley or the Ingenios, both declared by UNESCO in 1988 Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
How to get to Topes de Collantes National?
There are two ways to get to Topes de Collantes from Varadero: by bus or taxi.
The cheapest way to go is by bus for a price of $40 – $55 CUC and the tour lasts about 6h and 44m. The distance between Topes de Collantes and Varadero and Varadero is 259km.
While the most expensive way to go is by taxi and it costs around $260 CUC and the tour lasts about 4 hours. You book a taxi once in Cuba, without any problem either on the internet or at the hotel with the support of the receptionist.
The cheapest way to go is by bus for a price of $ 35- $ 50 and lasts 6h and 26mn.
If you want to drive the delay it is less than 4 hours.
The distance between Topes de Collantes and La Habana is 278 km. The distance by road is 308.6 km.
If you are in Trinidad it will not be difficult to get to Topes de Collantes National Park as this is one of the fastest ways to access the park.
There are many taxis that daily go to that place. I recommend renting a taxi because the roads are somewhat difficult, with many inclinations and curves. So it would be very dangerous for someone who does not know the area.
The distance between Trinidad and Topes de Collantes is only 30 km.
A little history:
In 1937 the dictator Fulgencio Batista founded Topes de Collantes. After this foundation, he ordered the construction of the road to Trinidad, Cuba. The area has a great historical value as it was the scene of struggles at different times.
In addition to refuge for the rebels led by Che Guevara during the fight against Batista and protagonist in the uprising of the opponents of Fidel Castro.
Interesting information about Topes de Collantes National Park:
Topes de Collantes is a set of mountains, rivers, caves in their natural state.
Its high endemic of flora and fauna, its beautiful waterfalls and waterfalls and its ideal micro climate have made it one of the largest protected natural areas in Cuba, a management category granted by the National Center for Protected Areas.
Because of this, it is claimed to avoid breaking the balance between birds and insects. This task is carried out by the inhabitants of the area and the government, which besides protecting, contribute to the reproduction of the species and natural wealth of the site.
Wildlife in Topes de Collantes:
In Topes, species of different types are observed and heard.
Among them the abundant tocororo, with its plumage that represents the Cuban national flag.
Also, it is very common, the parrot, the Sijúes cotunto and platanero, the zunzuncito, the negrito, the sparrowhawk, the green and chirrish woodpeckers, the catey, the long-tailed hawk, the tomboin of the pine … and many more species with their songs and characteristic plumage.
Amphibians also attract the attention of travelers in the Topes de Collantes National Park. There are seven endemic species of amphibians and among them one of the smallest frogs in the world: the frog Colin, only 1 cm long.
In addition to a variety of animals such as jutias, quails, lizards, the so-called majá de Santamaría and many other Cuban species.
Predominant trees such as pine and its more than 15 varieties, as well as eucalyptus and ornamental plants.
It is famous the collection of wild orchids that holds the natural park, in addition to the dissimilar types of ferns and medicinal plants.
Between the cliffs the national Flower predominates: the Butterfly.
The rivers create deep valleys in the mountains and their slopes originate impressive waterfalls, among them the Caburní.
The climatic conditions of Topes de Collantes are exceptional, with a temperature that ranges between 16 and 25 degrees Celsius.
This microclimate favors the habitat of many species of birds, among them the endemics of Cuba.
What are the routes and trails that give access to the Topes de Colllantes Park?
Many are the trails and routes of this great park. The most recommended and reliable for travelers is the Caburní Trail, one of the sublime attractions of the wonderful site. The walk is through coffee plantations, houses of local settlers, and cliffs that ends with the enjoyment of a waterfall of 62 meters of fall, where you can bathe in one of the natural pools to cool off from the intense heat and the walk.
Another option is the Hacienda Codina route, one of the most visited by travelers, here you will find a ranch with medicinal mud baths, between bamboo forests and orchids. In addition to places to do yoga, the Cueva del Altar where you can enjoy bats, owls and owls; and the Isla de los Enamorados. The tour concludes in a natural viewpoint from where you can see the Sierra del Escambray, the Valle de los Ingenios and the beautiful city of Trinidad.
The most visited trail is Guanayara. It is reached by Russian trucks. It has a waterfall of three meters deep and different excursions: a path that crosses the river of the same name about 5 km and another path by land. Both are located in the Poseta del Venado.
This is no more than a pose formed by the river. The tour concludes at Casa de la Gallega, a colonial style wooden house that is well close to the river. Here typical Cuban food is offered, being the specialty of the house: chicken in sauce, lanco rice and boiled potatoes.
There are other trails such as the Ecological Trail, known as the Vegas Grandes Trail that ends at the Salto de Soroa. It is a path full of arborescent ferns, and trees of pine, eucalyptus and palms, about a kilometer long, which connects the Kurhotel with the hotel Los Helechos.
You can also know the place of La Batata, perfect for a moment of relaxation in its medicinal waters. It is an experience for potential speleologists. For these trips it is advisable to hire a guide service or a travel package. Because the access roads are difficult to travel. In addition, the guides can help you better understand the ecology of the place, its flora and fauna.
Lodgings in Topes de Collantes National Park?
First of all, you can stay in one of the hotels in the town like the Kurhotel, the Hotel Los Helechos or Villa Caburní.
The Kurhotel Escambray:
This forms part of the Topes de Collantes Tourism Complex. Located in the Guamuhaya mountain range of the central province of Sancti Spíritus. It is a facility recognized as a rehabilitation center for health tourism and, as such, with extensive medical programs, steam baths and saunas based on physical and spiritual suffering.
It presents an impressive architecture, an exquisite service. all designed for visitors to re-establish and oxygenate. Another of the curiosities that can be found in this area is the Cuban Art Museum of Topes de Collantes, located in the Kurhotel itself.
More than 60 works of great Cuban artists of the 80s, give a heritage value to this park.
The Hotel Los Helechos:
It offers excellent services to all its visitors and has a tourism bureau where you have the possibility to book any of the excursions if you want to visit places of interest in the province of Sancti Spiritus. It has the advantage that the city of Trinidad and Ancon Beach are within walking distance.
It is a 3-star complex, consisting of 3-story buildings.The rooms are located very close to it. Among its facilities are a heated pool, gym, massage, sauna, steam baths, a small nightclub with shows and entertainment.
The view from the hotel is just breathtaking impressive.
It is a perfect place for those who love nature. Located at 800 meters above sea level, in Topes de Collantes National Park, built between 1955 and 1956. This Hotel offers accommodation services, buffet or a la carte meals, snacks and national and international drinks.
Tips to consider:
– Wear comfortable shoes, ie tennis, and do not forget the swimsuit.
– The mosquito repellent is something that you can not stop carrying.
– There are no restaurants or chiringuitos, during the walk, so take all the water and food you think you need.
-Use light clothes and protection for the sun; glasses, hat, cap and sunscreen.