Parque El Cubano

The town of Trinidad in Cuba has some interesting surroundings. After a quick look at the map in the Lonely Planet, the plan was set: ‘Parque El Cubano’ it is.

We wanted to go hiking, maybe see something exciting, so we packed our bags and set off. Down the street, then to the right, heading out of town towards Cienfuegos, then take the road off toward the park. On the main road the sign said 5 km to ‘Parque El Cubano’. We strolled on, stopping to take pictures, say hello to a horse, chat with people we passed and wave to the old American cars that passed, as the next hour passed by.

When we finally arrived at the park, we paid our 9 CUC to enter and found a suitable place to eat lunch before we took to our feet again. Around us there were explanations and illustrations of the slaves that were transported to Cuba and set to work on plantations in the area. We studied the boards before we found the trail ahead. Contemplating on the fact that an idyllic place like this can hold such dark history. There were trees and roots, big green leaves and birds chirping. It was hot and the clear river tempting. We just had to jump in, the signs said. However, we decided to wait a little longer and continued our hike. ‘On our way back’, we said.

We were happy we waited, as the end of the trail turned out to be the best swimming opportunity of all. A waterfall and behind it, a large cave with stalactites! We jumped in. When swimming towards the waterfall, a sort of cathedral of Cuban tropical forest emerged above us. We swam in behind the waterfall and looked up at the cave ceiling, glimpsing bats and listening to water dripping off the rocks. We heard the sound of the mountains. Then out into the sun again.

A Cuban guy smiled when we came out of the water. ‘Bueno’, we grinned. He laughed. He was a lifeguard, but when the clock struck 15, he picked up his backpack and left. His workday was over.

When we returned home to the casa, we had walked about 20 km in total. We felt it in our legs, for sure. It goes without saying; a cold beer on the roof terrace as the sun went down, was the perfect thing to do.

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