| 3 min read
Situated at about 30km from Trinidad, Topes de Collantes is a natural park in the Escambray mountain range. The park is brimming with waterfalls, rivers, caves, valleys and natural pools. It is easy to arrange excursions from Trinidad at any given time, but it will set you back some pesos. We went to Topes de Collantes by taxi colectivo where we did a short hike towards the Vegas Grande waterfall
Hike to the waterfall
On our way from Trinidad to Topes de Collantes, we had a quick stop at a panoramic viewpoint. After taking a few photos, we drove on to the coffee farm that marked the beginning of the hike. The first part of the 2km trail to the waterfall is flat and very easy. Somewhere halfway, a wooden cabin functions as a ticket boot charging a rather hefty 10CUC fee for visiting the waterfall.
From there, the level of difficulty increases with a path leading steeply down a series of uneven boulders. The trail is super easy to follow, and in case of doubt you just follow the stream of tourists walking down. Very soon, you’ll be able to hear the waterfall ahead.
Once you’ve walked all the way down, it’s time for a swim! Jump in the small pool around the waterfall to cool down from the hike. You must know that there are no facilities there, so you better bring your own picnic and put on your swimwear beforehand.
Getting back is the hardest part. Given that you walk back on the same trail, the steep descent transforms into a steep ascent. Make sure you’re fit enough. The whole trip back and forth is around 4kms and will take about 2 hours, including a swim in the pool.
Beautiful, but expensive
All in all, Vegas Grande is a beautiful waterfall worth visiting, but I think the price you’ll have to cough up for it, is excessively high. The taxi colectivo will set you back around 15 CUC per person, to which you’ll have to add the 10 CUC entrance fee. This adds up to around 25 CUC for a 20 km ride and a short hike to the waterfall.
There are other waterfalls in the park, such as Salto del Caburní and El Nicho, but you cannot walk from one to another and you’ll have to pay another entrance fee for each one of them.
How to get to Vegas Grande from Trinidad?
You can book a tour via your casa or find a taxi driver around Viazul bus station. Make sure to negotiate the price beforehand. The total price should be between 30 and 50 CUC and the ride takes about 30 minutes. It’s best to team up with several people, which will enable you to get better deals.
Although we had agreed with a taxi driver to meet at the bus station, he didn’t show up the next morning. I felt annoyed by being bailed out on, but given the abundancy of taxi drivers, we quickly set up a plan B. We teamed up with two German girls who accidentally passed along and shared the total sum of 50 CUC for the return trip. Although our driver picked up two more people for the return trip, he refused to lower our individual prices.
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