If you want to go hiking around Topes de Collantes, the best way to do so is to book an organized excursion in Trinidad. If you arrive independently you won’t be permitted access to all areas of this protected park, but at the park’s information centre you can get advice on the trails you can visit without a guide.
Typically, trails here are well marked and shady, cutting through dense woodlands, smothered in every kind of vegetation – from needle-straight conifers to bushy fern and grassy matted floors – opening out here and there for breathtaking views of the landscape.
As well as being the location of all the local hotels, Parque Altiplano also contains the area’s most popular target for hikers, the fantastically situated 62m-high Caburní waterfall, surrounded by pines and eucalyptus trees at the end of a 2.5-km trek down steep inclines and through dense forest. Independent access is at the northernmost point of Topes de Collantes. There are several other relatively easy trails within this park, including the Vegas Grandes, which also finishes at a waterfall.
Fifteen kilometres north of the hotels, Parque Guanayara is host to one of the area’s most scenic hiking routes. The gentler hike here follows the Guanayara River for a couple of kilometres up to the Salto El Rocío, a beautiful waterfall, and the Poza del Venado, a natural pool; along the way it incorporates some memorable views of Pico San Juan.
The focal point of Parque Codina is Hacienda Codina, an old Spanish coffee-growing ranch where you can eat and drink. From the ranch there are easily manageable walks, some no more than 1km, into the forest. Several trails lead to La Batata, a subterranean river at the foot of a lush green valley where you can bathe in the cool waters of the cave. You access this area independently from the southwestern corner of Topes de Collantes.
Parque El Cubano
Just 5km from Trinidad, Parque El Cubano is the most popular location for horseriding. The route here, which can also be followed on foot, takes in a campesino house and the remains of a colonial sugar ranch, as well as rivers, brooks and waterfalls.