September 2011
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Travel – Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes in Cuba

Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes is in Cuba, in the Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, and Sancti Spiritus provinces. During the long fights first by Castro’s men, and then by rebels against him, the men hid in the Escambray mountains. The mountains are Limestone Mountains called mogotes. The national park has “mogotes” and waterfalls and cave. Pico de San Juan, at 1150 meters (3773 feet) is known to be the highest mountain of the place which one can’t hike.

Attractions of Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes:
• Parque Altiplano: The main hotels are located here. There are places such as the Museo de Arte Cubano Contemparano (“Museum of Contemporary Cuban Art”); the Casa de Café and the “Mi Retiro” restaurant located here which are popular. The De Gigantes (“Giants Garden”) and a short hike to Salto Vega Grande (“Vega Grande Falls’) are small hiking trails.
• Salto de Caburní (“Caburní Falls”): These falls are a hike of 7 kilometers on a roundtrip basis and starts to the east of the Kurhotel. One can also swim in the large pool that is below the falls. It is a waterfall that is about 35-meters high.
• Sendero La Batata: This is another hiking trail that is about six kilometers long. It is a hike to a cave which also has an underground creek. One can also swim in the cave. The hike trails begins at the Casa de Café.
• Parque Codina: This serves as the starting point for hiking trails to caves, waterfalls and other viewpoints along with bird watching and camping and it is near the Parque Altiplano.
• Parque Guanayara: This hiking trail is to the Cascada El Rocío waterfall, swimming, hiking trails, camping.
• Parque El Nicho: These are series of waterfalls with clear blue waters. This is a drive about two hours. One can even go for horse back riding.
• Parque El Cubano: This is the part closest to Trinidad, and this site includes waterfall, swimming, camping, bird watching, horseback riding, and a restaurant and a trail from the Mirador de Caribe to Topos de Collantes.
• Embalse Hanabanilla: This is to the north of the national park and is a large reservoir which is near to the town of Manicaragua. There are offers for hiking, horseback riding, boating, and fishing.
• Mirador de Venus: This is a mountain top and one can on a hike to the top which is about two hours from El Salto.

Best time to visit / climate:

The best time to visit Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes is between December and April. One can avoid the horrendous storms and hurricanes and avoid the sticky heat of the Cuban summer which can be unbearable for some.

Location on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

How to get there:
The road to Topos de Collantes is fifteen kilometers and has a steep incline.
By plane: One can reach Cuba from Canada, Mexico and Europe by arriving at Jose Marti International Airport (located outside Havana). Cubana de Aviacion is the major carrier in Cuba and connects to Mexico, South and Central America, Canada and Europe. One can either take a taxi to Havana centre or take a bus service.
By boat: There are no regular boats or ferries to Cuba but private vessels may enter the marina Hemingway in Havana or marina Aqua in Varadero.

Get around
By bike: One can use a bike to go around but one has to get one’s own bike for that.

By plane: Cubana de Aviacion or Aero Caribbean covers larger distances and operate on routes:

Cubana de Aviación
Havana – Camaguey – Havana, Yakovlev Yak-42D
Havana – Santiago – Havana, Yakovlev Yak-42D

Aero Caribbean
Havana – Camaguey – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Guantanamo – Havana, ATR 42-300/320

Aero Caribbean
Havana – Baracoa – Havana, ATR 72-212
Havana – Bayamo – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Cayo Coco – Cienfuegos – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Cayo Largo del Sur – Varadero – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Cienfuegos – Cayo Coco – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Las Tunas – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Manzanillo – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Moa – Holguin – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Nueva Gerona – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Santiago – Havana, ATR 42-300/320
Havana – Varadero – Cayo Largo del Sur – Havana, ATR 42-300/320

Global Air (Mexico)
Havana – Cayo Coco – Holguin – Havana, Boeing 737-200
Havana – Holguin – Cayo Coco – Havana, Boeing 737-200
Havana – Santiago – Havana, Boeing 737-200

By train: The main line runs between Havana and Santiago de Cuba. It stops at Santa Clara and Camagüey. Cienfuegos, Manzanillo, Morón, Sancti Spiritus, and Pinar del Rio are the other cities that can be reached by train. Tren Frances operates between Havana and Santiago de Cuba alternately.

By bus: Viazul is the bus service in Cuba for public transport to tour the island. Astro is another bus line for touring in Cuba.

By boat: Cienfuegos or Trinidad incorporates the Canarreos Archipelago and the Juventud Islands or Jardines de la Reina Archipelago. Windward Islands is the bases for boat rides.

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers):
Tripadvisor Hotels

Blogs / Sites about Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes:

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Images and photos of Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes:

Google Search

Videos of Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes from Youtube:

Cuba: Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes

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