A surprising nature hike in Cuba

A touristy place like Varadero, Cuba, didn’t seem like a likely place to have some kinda of crazy hiking adventure.  The miles of white sand beaches and resort after resort seemed to indicate most people where not here to get dirty and bitten by bugs.   It seemed doomed to be a relaxing weekend of suntanning […]

Written By Clayton Kessler

On February 8, 2010
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A touristy place like Varadero, Cuba, didn’t seem like a likely place to have some kinda of crazy hiking adventure.  The miles of white sand beaches and resort after resort seemed to indicate most people where not here to get dirty and bitten by bugs.   It seemed doomed to be a relaxing weekend of suntanning and endless rum based drinks.

That was before we found the crazy mangrove wilderness area.  It was 3 pesos to get in, and needless to say, not a popular destination.  We saw only 1 or 2 other groups.  For 3 pesos we got a poorly translated photocopied map and a push in the right direction.  For the next 4 km we self guided ourselves through some of the craziest plants i’ve ever seen.  We explored huge caves carved in sandstone and ate lunch with bats.  We saw lizards and snakes (none poisonous in cuba) and 300 years old cacti wrapped in 250 year old figs vines.  The caves were my favourite part, but the whole hike was awesome.

This trail was a sweet find.  I think that other resort areas around the world probably have something similar, its just a matter of getting off the beach chair and finding it.  Turns out, this trail was only 1.5 km from our hotel.  It was good to try something cool like this, and the rum tasted better for the rest of the day.

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