Leaving Trinidad for the day, we drive out towards the Topes de Collantes nature reserve in the Escambray Mountains range. Here, the vegetation is lush and the bird life abundant thanks to the rainfall which this side of the mountains receives.
The first port of call for the day is the 'El Mirador' lookout point, which affords fabulous views over the entire region. The landscape is characterised by gently rolling hills covered in shadowy forest, pockets of small settlements, isolated lakes and lagoons and the distant deep blue expanse of the Caribbean Sea.
Continuing on, we make a short stop for a freshly brewed cup of coffee from beans grown on the mountainsides, boiled over a small fire and prepared for you by the local landowners. Rarely will you have enjoyed a cup quite so fresh and tasty or in such exotic surrounds. You'll find banana trees, small coffee bean plants and mango trees and you might also spot the odd lizard or hummingbird.
We then reach Parque Guanayara, where we begin a relatively easy hike into the idyllic tropical forest. Along the way, look out for hummingbirds, parrots, trocororos (Cuban trogons) and more and pass by a small cave and many delightful examples of Cuban flora. There are two main highlights here, the first of which is the astonishing sight of the 'Salto El Rocio' - a thunderous waterfall which crashes over a cliff-face into a small crystal-clear pool below. It is a truly spectacular sight which will have you staring up in amazement and filling your camera memory card. Better yet, you'll pass it on the way back from the final destination of your hike.
Having walked in the hot sun for a couple of hours, you'll be ready for a refreshing swim in an inviting natural pool fed by a small cascade. There are small facilities to enable you to change and dry off in privacy and you'll head back feeling invigorated and full of appreciation for Cuba's natural beauty.