Topes de Collantes

Trinidad Travel Blog

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View inside the Parque Nacional, on the trail to Caburni

We decided to run for the hills this day and visit Topes de Collantes and Parque Caburni in the nearby Sierra del Escambray-mountain range, about 15 km. outside of Trinidad. This is a short distance, but because of the condition (potholes!) of the winding road, it takes relatively long to get there. It is, however, a beautiful drive with stunning vistas along the way. We made some great friends by giving some guys a lift from Trinidad. There was a lot of laughter about the way the road was handled (lots of swerving to avoid potholes) and at a certain moment, one of them got a bottle of Havana Club out of his backpack and started passing it around. NOT a good idea on these roads so no thank you very much! ;-)

 

Topes itself is a spa town, centered around a run-down kinda spooky-looking resort (the Kurhotel Escambray) in best Soviet-concrete architecture (which used to be a sanatorium) but surrounded by beautiful vegetation and blessed with a refreshing temperature (at least, compared to the coast!).

I understand that Topes is a popular vacation-destination for Cubans themselves and we did see quite a lot of cabins. These kinds of vacations for the work force would be paid for by the state.

 

This makes for a great hiking destination and there are a couple of trails around. We chose to do the most popular, to ‘los Saltos del Caburni’ (Caburni Falls). There is a small fee to enter the trail and it is about a 3 kms. hike one-way to reach the falls. Some places along the trail provide great views over the treetops. The trail was muddy and slippery in places and we saw a couple of people literally covered in mud, poor things! At the end of the trail is the 60 m. high Caburni Falls and a nice swimming hole, which was very busy with people cooling off from the hike.

Swimming hole, Saltos del Caburni
After spending some time at the water, it was quite a slog back and a cool drink at the small snack stand at the end of the trail was very welcome! As had become our custom, we picked up a couple of people waiting for a lift at the parking lot of the Kurhotel for the drive back to Trinidad.

Trinidad is well known for its music scene (salsa and the more classic trova) so this, our last night in Trinidad, we decided to sample some of it. After dinner in a nameless paladar (good food though, and the dog observing the tables from the rooftop was very funny!) we headed to the Casa de la Musica, where live music is played every night. Not counting the disco in a cave somewhere out of town, there are two major music venues in Trinidad, the Casa de la Musica and the Casa de la Trova.

Ending up drinking a cold one at a place on a small beach between Trinidad and Playa Ancon
Both are located off the Plaza Mayor, around the corner from the church. The Casa de la Trova has a souvenir shop with an excellent selection of CDs (great gifts for the crowds at home!). The larger Casa de la Musica is situated at the top of the steps and gets quite busy later in the night after the buses with tourists (I guess from the hotels at Playa Ancon?) arrive. The crowd consists of maybe 75% tourists, the rest are Cubans and it’s good fun to see them dance. Such talented people! The band was quite good as well. Drinks are not particularly expensive for tourists but of course, not affordable for locals (all are in CUC), so you see quite a few local people bringing their own bottle of Havana Club, buying only a can of cola and making their own mixes. This seemed to be no problem at all.

Whenever the tables at the top of the steps fill up, people just settle themselves on the steps with their drinks. Since we’d decided to leave the next day for Santa Clara, we decided not to make it too late and headed back to our casa after a couple of mojitos.

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View inside the Parque Nacional, o…
View inside the Parque Nacional, …
Swimming hole, Saltos del Caburni
Swimming hole, Saltos del Caburni
Ending up drinking a cold one at a…
Ending up drinking a cold one at …
The Waterfall
The Waterfall
Trinidad
photo by: lizzy1987