El Nicho National Park

El Nicho is Cuban national park. It is a protected area with lots of natural pools, waterfalls, rainforest caves. The water is warm enough to take an exciting swim under the waterfalls. The park has a restaurant and a camping area. We visited El Nicho as a one day trip on our way from Cienfuegos to Trinidad.

The ride from Cienfuegos to Trinidad with the whole day stop in El Nicho costs around 90 CUC. The driver, who by profession was a mechanical engineer, acted also as our tour guide on the way through the province.

el nicho entrance ticket
The ticket costs around 7 CUC per person. There is 2 kilometers long circular hiking path.

El Nicho is a Cuban national park that is extremely family friendly. The children will explore the animals (in Cuba there are no dangerous animals) and the plants along the path. Then they will take a swim in one of the natural pools. And maybe also see the caves…

el nico park
There is a nice children-friendly path that follows the water to the many waterfalls in El Nicho park. The first thing our kids discovered right after entering the park was a harmless snake.
lizard reptile cuba
Many small lizards are easy to spot on the path around El Nicho park.

El Nicho waterfalls

waterfall el nico
Then finally, you arrive at the first big waterfall. The waterfalls are great to watch, and they produce a loud white-noise sound.
pools el nicho
On the top of the bigger waterfalls, there are the natural pools where the water gets accumulated.
swimming el nicho
Just bring your swimwear, because it is perfectly ok if you take a swim in the refreshingly fresh water. The park assigns lifeguards to each pool in the park.
landscape cuba el nicho
The path will take you further to see the landscape of Cuban southern rainforest.

El Nicho Caves

A really nice viewpoint, where a group of lifeguards awaits and invites you to see another highlight of the park. The elephant! For 8 CUC for the whole family, the lifeguard took us on a 10-minute hike through the closed area of the El Nicho park. Then we arrived at the caves:

elephant el nicho
The elephant in the El Nicho caves that is not on any official maps. The access to the caves is forbidden, the only way to get there is by lifeguard’s invite and extra 2 CUC per person.
el nicho caves
The caves were freely accessible to our surprise. Before we had visited Postojna cave and UNESCO protected Škocjan caves and all the cave stones and other cave formations had been always secured from the footpaths. But here the visitors can touch the caves freely.
caves el nicho
The natural staircase that took millions of years to build.
caves cuba
The stalagmite and stalactites are the most common limestone formation.
caves path el nicho
You return back to the path from the caves.
bamboo el nicho cuba
The great bamboo trees fence the way back.
plants cuba
The kids will go crazy about the interesting plants.
flowers park el nicho
Some more plants in the park.

The Royal Palm

el nico palm
The rainforest is full of different tree sorts like bamboo and palm trees.
cuba royal palm
In fact, Cuban national tree is the Royal Palm.

The restaurant

On your return from the hike, you can stop in the park’s restaurant. It is a good idea because that will be the only restaurant in the area. And you shall be hungry after the whole day trip to the park.

el nicho
A band playing in the restaurant. There were French, Russian and German tourist groups. But their agenda was to eat first and then go to the park. A friendly tip: come to the park in the morning when it is not crowded by the groups from Trinidad and Varadero.
restaurant food
I’ll have chicken with rice, please!

Transportation to El Nicho park

There are many ways how to reach El Nicho. Either from Cienfuegos or from Trinidad. And also from Varadero, there is an offer in their tourist brochure.  For a family travel, it will be the most comfortable solution to take a taxi. The price will not be so much higher than the bus, and a taxi will listen to your extra wishes and wait for your departure from the park. As for the bus or an agency organized group, you will have to accommodate to their timeline and agenda, but you might save a little on the budget (but not time).