Visiting El Nicho waterfalls was something that was a “must do” during my Cuba vacation. Trust me, it did not disappoint. 🙂
I first saw the El Nicho waterfalls on Pinterest and was mesmerized by the gorgeous cascading affect of the falls. After drooling over the photos for hours, you can imagine that visiting the El Nicho waterfalls became very high on my Cuba “to do” list.
I’ve put this guide together for you so you’ll find everything you need to know to plan your visit to El Nicho waterfalls. 🙂 Enjoy!
Visiting El Nicho Waterfalls: Everything You Need to Know!
About El Nicho Waterfalls
The El Nicho waterfalls are located about a 3-hours drive east of Havana, Cuba in the province of Cienfuegos. They’re actually hidden within the lush mountains of Cuba’s Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve Park and make an excellent day trip if you’re already in Cienfuegos or Trinidad.
El Nicho falls used to solely be a popular hangout for local Cubans, however once these gorgeous waterfalls begun to gain worldwide attention, now everyone wants to go! And it’s no secret as to why.
The El Nicho waterfalls have are actually a series of waterfalls and pools that are famous for their beautiful cascading affect.
3 Tips for Visiting El Nicho Waterfalls
1. Best time to Visit El Nicho Waterfalls
El Nicho is open from 8am-5pm, and currently the price is 10 CUC for adults.
It’s best to visit the El Nicho waterfalls in the afternoon instead of the morning. You’ll find that due to the higher elevation and shading within the mountains, it is quite a bit cooler at El Nicho waterfalls than it is at the base of the mountain.
However, with that said, getting there first thing in the morning also has its advantages – like having the natural pools to yourself for a bit.
It’s a tough call.
I went in the afternoon and was fortunate to be one of only a few visitors that day.
2. Level of Difficulty
El Nicho is an easy hike and I would recommend it for all ages and fitness levels. Just note it might be a little bit slippery when it has been raining and the trail is muddy.
3. Food around El Nicho Waterfalls
If you get hungry, there is a tropical little restaurant at the entrance of the trail. Besides the restaurant, however, there are no other facilities at El Nicho.
Read more: 18 Tips You NEED to Know Before Visiting Cuba
Getting to El Nicho Waterfalls
The two best ways to reach El Nicho waterfalls is either from the French-spirited town of Cienfuegos or from the intact colonial town of Trinidad. Both are great options, as you can easily access the falls from either direction.
From Cienfuegos, the trip is roughly an hour drive one-way.
From Trinidad the trip is a little longer, averaging about an hour and 15 minute-drive one-way.
Having been to both cities I can personally vouch that they are both great destinations to spend some quality time in.
I chose to visit El Nicho as a day trip while staying in Cienfuegos. I hired a taxi for 70 CUC for the day to see both El Nicho and Trinidad (easy to do in one day).
As mentioned above, from Cienfuegos the drive took roughly 1 hour one-way to reach the falls. The road to El Nicho waterfalls is beautiful, but as you climb deeper into the Sierra del Escambray mountains the road is notorious for its windy turns.
If you are like me and carsickness is something you battle, it’s best to bring along some ginger pills. Here are my go-to ginger pills that work great.
If visiting during the wet season (August to October), traveling to El Nicho waterfalls can be more difficult due to poor road conditions.
About the El Nicho Waterfall Hike
If you are an outdoors lover and avid hiker, hiking El Nicho waterfalls will feel like less of a hike and more of a leisurely stroll. The 1.5km (less than a mile) one-way nature trail (locally called Reino de las Aguas) has four distinct levels consisting of two natural pools, a cascading waterfall, a cave, and a gorgeous lookout spot.
The First Level
Shortly after you begin your walk you will see the first cascade and natural pool.
The Second Level
A bit further along the trail you’ll see the beautiful cascade effect from the El Nicho falls. As you leave the second tier falls and continuing your hike, you’ll see a nice lookout spot of the falls off to the left.
The Third Level
After leaving the second level, you’ll have to climb a bit to get to the second natural pool. The path is clearly laid out and includes little bridges over some streams and built in steps to keep from sliding when there’s a lot of rainfall.
The second natural pool is the gem of El Nicho! This is where you’ll find people swimming. The water is clean and refreshing, but enter if you dare. No matter what time of year you visit it is extremely chilly.
However as you can see, a little cold water didn’t stop me. 😉
The Fourth Level
The fourth (and last) level is a beautiful lookout spot over the Sierra del Escambray, or the Escambray Mountains. I could have stayed all day! These lush mountain ranges just stole my heart.
I hope you enjoy your trip to El Nicho waterfalls! If you need some more inspiration for what to do in Cuba keep reading!
Going to Cuba? Check out these popular posts:
- The Ultimate Guide to Traveling Cuba as an American
- 18 Tips you NEED to Know Before Traveling to Cuba
- 12 Things You Must Do in Havana, Cuba
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