Best hiking routes to discover in Cuba

 
Thu 02 Feb 2017
 

best hiking routes in cuba

Do you love eco tourism and adventures? Then we invite you to check the best hiking routes to discover in Cuba. In BandCuba, Bed and Breakfast in Cuba, we know the natural wonders of the country and its advantage to practice this activity. From Pinar del Río to Sierra de Jatibonito, you will discover almost virgin landscapes, full of vegetation, waterfalls, hills and more.

Get to know Cuba and its natural landscapes

The traditional traveler follows the routes marked by the tour guides. You can enjoy the famous Cueva del Indio and Santo Tomas, visit Old Havana, the Malecon and other wonderful places in the capital. But there are adventurous tourists, nature lovers and explorers who prefer activities such as hiking.

Hiking is an outdoor activity that allows the tourist to discover natural landscapes such as hills, mountains, beaches, rivers and wildlife through a tour of the mountains and trails of Cuba. In recent years the interest in this practice has grown and there are more people interested in joining the adventure of exploration.

Cuba has so much landscapes destined to the trekking, many of them still do not enjoy worldwide popularity. That is why in this guide we propose to show you the best natural routes to know the country from another vision.

It is important that when plan on doing ecotourism you have a good physical condition. You should have an hydration method planned, comfortable clothes, resistant shoes and a cap to protect you from the sun. Also it´s important to use sunscreen. It is advisable to carry a lightweight bag to prevent excessive tiredness and some support for the most demanding roads.

Top 7: Best hiking routes to discover in Cuba

In Cuba the best preserved natural landscapes in the world meet. This quality attracts ecotourism and researchers of wild flora and fauna. Regions like Pinar del Río and Sierra Maestra captivate every lover of exploration.

Cuba has 14 national parks, 6 reserves of the biosphere and 30 areas reserved for ecology. 22% of its territory is protected by national and international organizations. Through them we will know the most demanded hiking routes, in our selection we find 7 that you will love.

1. Valle de Viñales - Pinar del Río

The best known hiking route in Cuba is Valle de Viñales, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO at the end of 1999. One of its main attractions are the caves, including the Cueva del Indio and Santo Tomás, José Miguel and El Silencio. There are small routes to Los Acuáticos, a road that extends for approximately 1,8 miles.

Among its most famous features are its spectacular "mogotes" (flat mountains), red ground, native vegetation, fauna and waterfalls. Some hiking trails also include a visit to the famous Premium Tobacco crops. To start your natural discovery of the Cuban landscapes, Valle de Viñales is an incredible option.

2. El Nicho Waterfalls in Province of Cienfuego (Topes de Collantes)

A spectacular spot for lovers of waterfalls and natural ponds. El Nicho is located in Province of Cienfuegos, crossing the Sierra del Escambray in an area known as Topes de Collantes. In your exploration of this place you will encounter exotic flamingos, sea birds, orchids and curious villages.

There are a lot of fantasy stories in this region so during the tour there will be no room for boredom. You can find numerous offers to visit this paradisiac place and stay in Cienfuegos. From costly all-inclusive tours to experiences with low budget venues. This is one of the most recommended tours by the regional hiking guides.

  • If you travel by taxi, it costs up to 50 CUC (50 $) both ways.
  • The entrance to the area costs 10 CUC.

3. Topes de Collantes (Full Tour)

The area of Topes de Collantes in Sierra Escambray includes more destinations to explore than El Nicho. You can go for the Caburni Falls and Thermal Potato Cave. Along are parks Codina, Guanayara and Caburní, representing miles of vegetation and slopes to go.

The hiking trails in Topes de Collantes have some difficulties due to steep paths and obstacles to reach some areas. This is part of the adventure, but it is important that you are willing to walk for hours and bring hydration and snakcs. The guides are trained to attend an emergency.

Beacause of the costs of the entrance to the parks and the difficulty of the roads this route is one of the most expensive on the list, but wonderful and incomparable.

4. Sierra de Jatibonic en Sancti Spíritus

This hiking tour is proposed by Lonely Planet's independent travelers website. It is a little explored and protected area that can be visited by entering from the city of Mayajigua. It has massives landscapes, hills, vegetation and it´s very quite for those who like to enjoy the road and photography.

The most emblematic places to visit are the Cueva Valdés and La Solapa de Genaro. The latter is a trail of rivers, valleys and waterfalls. In this place there is a natural pool called "Malafo" where you can enjoy a refreshing bath. This is a perfect way to interact with locals and get to know the flora and fauna of the region.

5. The mountains of Sierra Maestra - Towards the Pico Turquino

Pico de Turquino is the highest in the country and reaching it is an experience for adventurous mountain fans. The beauty of nature and the biodiversity of the species will captivate you. Sierra Maestra is located 560 miles east of Havana.

To visit the Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra you must plan on your trip to Cuba to enjoy this route that can be extended for 2 or 3 days. It´s imprtant to consider expenses like accommodation, food, entrance to protected areas and everything that implies this kind of trip. The cheapest prices to this hiking route do are not less than 70 $ without including the costs of transfer to places of exit like Alta of Naranjo and the Commander of the silver.

6. Playa Varadero in Provincia Matanzas

The varadero´s beach is one of the most famous in Cuba and there are also hiking trails. The best known places to visit are the El Patriarca trail and Cueva de Musulmanes. This tour is quiet and can be done with the family, plus the cost per entrance to the path is only 5 $ per person.

Take your camera and comfortable clothes to move you smoothly on the trails and keep track of the beautiful landscapes.

7. Cordillera de la Gran Piedra

Located 16 miles from Santiago de Cuba is the Cordillera de la Gran Piedra, a natural and quiet area declared a World Biosphere Reserve. At the top of the route is the main attraction, a large rock of about 75 thousand tons. An exciting ride for photographers, explorers and curious.

Low Cost Hiking Tips

Taking a complete tour of all these destinations represents an important expense in accommodation and especially in transportation. Going by yourself only generates more expenses and it´s a waste of time if you do not deal with locals, that can help you. Most of these routes are not in the same province.

That's why we have a number of thrifty tips to take advantage of your hiking trip.

  • Try to stay in "casas particulares" during the tours. Forget the 3, 4 or 5 star hotels for a moment if you have little budget. Agree the price with the locals through our services in BandCuba.
  • Ask or purchase local products, these are cheaper and fresh.
  • During long treks like the Sierra Maestra you can camp or stay in pleasant houses. A unique experience and low cost!
  • Plan transportation in advance and business with drivers to get a better price.
  • If you spend several days in Cuba you can do an ecotour together for the most popular trails. These already include a unique cost for transportation, stay and in some cases for food.
  • If you organize with local guides and other tourists you can reduce costs by up to 20%.

If you stay in a family residence, members sometimes offer rides at competitive prices for little explored hiking trails.

Other ways to do ecotourism

The forms of ecotourism are not only limited to hiking, there are also other activities to explore in Cuba. Two of the most popular are horseback riding and cycling. The latter is a way of transport wide spead on the island and its cost of rent is reduced, you can use it all day for only 10 CUC and per hour it´s only 1 CUC.

Another way of adventure is on horseback, in Pinar del Rio and in Topes de Collantes it is common to offer them at affordable prices. As with bicycles many renters offer tourists rides of this type. It is not required to be an expert to enjoy this experience. Sometimes the prices are reduced according to the number of people

Ready to enjoy the best hiking routes to discover in Cuba? Share your experiences with these routes in the comments and do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for a stay at unbeatable prices.

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