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Nancy & Gord's Cuban Vacation
Topes de Collantes

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Topes de Collantes
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The Topes de Collantes is a tiny village located in the Sierra Del Escambray, the second largest moutain range in the country. Known for its ecotourism, the area is beginning to rival places like Costa Rica, with natural waterfalls and crystal clear lakes with supposed healing powers...

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Overlooking the Caribbean from the mountains.

... the roads into the mountains are, by Canadian standards, suicidal!! There are no guardrails and very few posted signs, and the steep grade is too difficult for most locals to negotiate in their beat-up cars....

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Nancy having a breather.

Our daytrip into the mountains included a stoppage at a lookout point over the Caribbean Sea, with a souvenir stand selling beads, tapestry, lace, jewelry and the obligatory Che Guevara t-shirts... Nancy decided not to climb the lookout staircase - a harbinger of what was to come!

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Near the peak, we arrived at a hiking trail, where we were told we would be travelling by foot deep into the mountain rainforest. Luckily, we grabbed walking sticks along the way - they were needed to negotiate the mucky, track ridden "trail", where we dodged giant horse turds and who-knows-what.... Of course, I (Gord) was starting my bout with a stomach virus that lasted for the next 2 days...

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... After a 1 and a half hour hike, we arrived at a rustic cabin, where local farmers prepared lunch while we travelled down the death-defying trail towards the waterfall... Imagine descending the Niagara Escarpment on a muddy trail with mininal steps and handrails & you'll have an idea of how treacherous this ordeal was! I opted out, staying close to the "banyo".

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The Waterfall - beautiful but worth it?

After the waterfall, the farmers made us coffee and fresh guava... afterward we treked back to the bus (another hour & a half), revisiting horse & ox dung along the way... Ok, I'm not a nature guy... When we returned to the resort, we shook off the animation team who were trying to rope us into "crazy pool games" and dove into the hot tub instead... I can still taste that Cuba Libre!