We could call it perfect day trip from Cienfuegos as a starting point. It is one of nature highlights in Cuba for sure. Two hours bumpy ride to Sierra del Escambray mountain range pays off as soon as you get to El Nicho waterfalls. Once you park the car or get dropped off you pay 9CUC per person for entrance to the park and for the very knowledgeable guide. Our guide spoke English, French and Spanish.
Reino de las Aguas is nature trail that takes you to El Nicho waterfalls, two natural pools, caves and much more. You can really see Cuban biodiversity here. Tocororo, Cuban national bird is very common here so you are gonna spot it on your way for sure. You have time to take a dip at both of the pools, have to warn you that water is very cold, but refreshing in hot day. El Nicho waterfalls are very picturesque, so you should take some time here to get nice photos. Also at the end of the trail you have nice view over the forests and you can even see the dam. Across the parking lot there is even more waterfalls, rapids and pools where you can hang out the whole day. Perfect place for a little picnic and sunbathing.
Our next stop was Guanaroca Lagoon. While driving on bumpy road you can see tons and tons of mango, banana and citrus trees. Guanaroca Lagoon is formed by Arimao river just before it flows into the Bay of Cienfuegos. It is protected area with diverse flora and fauna. You can find around 170 different species of birds here. Mangrove swamps offer shelter to many animals, you can admire colony of few hundred pink flamingos, pelicans, tocororos and many more. Your tour is with a boat, you can either row by yourself or ask locals there to row and you tip them at the end. Be fair with the tip since it is pretty hard work. It is well worth the money.
That was it for our day trip because we had to catch bus to Trinidad, but you can continue your day and go to the beach Playa Rancho Luna, Jagua castle, Martin Infierno Cave or Delfinario de Cienfuegos. Since you need to take a taxi, rent a car or hire a driver to see these places, your best option and probably the cheapest is to talk with your casa owner and they can maybe arrange it. Our casa owner organized driver and car for us, he drove us to El Nicho Waterfalls, Guanaroca Lagoon and we were supposed to go to Playa Rancho Luna, but we had to catch a bus so we left that one out. Price for driver and car was 55CUC, we payed 18CUC for El Nicho Waterfalls and 22CUC for Guanaroca Lagoon. So all together 95CUC for two people. Not the cheapest day trip, but well worth for sure!
Next stop is Trinidad! More photos on Facebook page here!