Caribbean Cascades: Salto Vega Grande, Cuba

Admire the view or take the plunge into the cool waters of this natural attraction


To the west of the scenic town of Trinidad, the green slopes of Cuba’s Escambray Mountains rise to heights of 3,000 feet. Here, jungle rivers flow through steep canyons and plunge over waterfalls to fill cool, inviting swimming holes. Much of this rugged and verdant landscape is protected within the boundaries of the Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes.

This nature reserve is fast becoming a favorite with hikers and eco tourists, who can explore miles of pathways that wind through groves of ferns, bamboo and eucalyptus, and lead up to wooded slopes riddled with grottoes and caves. Some, such as the route to the popular Salto del Caburni falls, can be demanding, and will require sturdy walking shoes and several hours to complete.

By contrast, the footpath from the roadside to a view of the Vega Grande falls is short and relatively easy. After taking in the panoramic vistas, many visitors continue on to the base of the falls, where a sparkling freshwater pool awaits.