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Cuban architecture

Topes de Collantes

Topes de Collantes1 Topes de Collantes Topes de Collantes is a nature reserve park in the Escambray Mountains range in Cuba.Topes de Collantes, literally Collantes’ Highs, almost 800 meters above sea level, along with Potrerillo peak, 931 meters and tallest San Juan peak, 1,140 meters  are located in the Escambray range. These mountains are shared by the three central provinces of the island; Villa Clara Province to the north, Cienfuegos Province and Sancti Spiritus Province to the east and west respectively.

Nature is the big attraction here. Caves, rivers, falls, grottos, canyons, natural pools with crystal clear water, mountain hills surrounded by Mariposa (Butterfly lily, Hedychium coronarium) Cuba’s national flower announcing their presence with a soft unique flagrance from June to early September. More than 40 indigenous species of orchids and 100 species of ferns, of which 7 are 6 meters tall palm-like tree ferns, wild plantain and banana trees, jasmine, begonias, several representatives of the ginger family and around 40 species of coffee are growing under the shade of giant 40 meter tall pines, eucalyptus, West Indian Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) and magnolias making the wonder of this tropical rainforest.

Important animal species live here as well. They include the Cartacuba (Todus multicolor), Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis bairdii), unique hummingbirds, and the Tocororo (Priotelus temnurus), which is Cuba’s national bird.

Places to go:

  • Caburni Falls:  at about 3 kilometers (2 mi) is the most popular hike through coffee plantations, traditional farmers houses, and cliffs to end in Caburni river which falls from a 62 meters rock wall into a series of ponds.
  • La Batata: 3 kilometers from the city, offers scenic views as well, ending in an underground river-cave system with several levels of natural ponds.
  • Hacienda Codina: a ranch with several attractions: medicinal mud baths, medicinal and ornamental gardens, the orchid’s collection has more than 40 local species including bamboo; Altar’s cave from where a secret passage ends in a natural lookout facing south of the mountain system and the Valley of the sugar mills, Trinidad and Ancon can be seen.
  • Ecology walk, 1 kilometers local path connecting the Kurhotel with hotel “Los helechos” filled with mariposa shrubs and arborescent ferns under the canopy of pines and eucalyptus.
  • La represa Park: a 1 square kilometer park developed around the original house built for Batista’s wife Martha. Placed on the banks of River Vega Grande, there is an arboretum with more than 300 exotic species. The highest and oldest mahogany ever found in Cuba lives in this place.
  • Snak Bar “El mirador”, literally The Lookout, it in the way down to Trinidad, between the Valley and the range in the back, but still 600 meters above sea level offers views of the city and peninsula below.

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