Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Hiking Marea del Portillo

We enjoyed hiking Marea del Portillo. Hiking took us places we could not go on bikes. It also provided a welcome change of pace.

The first day, we set off down the beach towards Marea. We followed a path along the shore, scrambling over and under low hanging branches along the way. It took a couple hours to make our way into town and back returning on the main road. It was fun exploring on foot. 

The second day, my husband joined a volleyball game on the beach. He had fond memories from trips to Mexico years ago and had been looking forward to playing. Within the first five minutes, he made a great shot, but landed badly with his big toe bent under his foot. That was the end of beach volleyball. It was almost the end of ALL activity.

His toe was bruised and swollen. It hurt to flex while walking. Even with a large band-aid providing support, he spent a couple weeks limping. It still fatigues easily and aches. Fortunately, biking was fine because bicycle shoes kept his toe immobile while pedaling.

His toe healed enough to resume more normal walking within a couple weeks. We joined some friends to help carry their donations to a family living on a farm not too far away. We set off following the lane behind our hotel. This lane provided a shady shortcut to the bridge on the main road cutting half a km off our route through the main entrance.
At the bridge, we crossed over following another side road to the West. On this road, we passed a water pumping station and fields of crops before stopping at this little house.
It was a simple farm house for a family of four. This man was very friendly and happy to receive donations. He made coffee for us. His wife usually made the coffee, but she was in Pilon visiting the doctor.
One of the advertised hotel excursions involved riding a horse to a nearby reservoir and waterfall. Our friends told us the reservoir was located further down the road from the farmhouse we had visited. 

Following their directions, my husband found the reservoir on his bike, but not the waterfall. We decided to explore the area more thoroughly another day on foot. His toe was feeling much better by then.  


One afternoon, we set out towards the reservoir each carrying one bottle of water. We followed the shortcut to the main road taking the road on the other side of the bridge. At the end of this road, we turned right crossing an open space passing fenced gardens and houses.  
As we got closer, we could see the huge earthen dam from the reservoir.
My husband suggested we follow the path up the mountain to the far side of the dam. It looked like this might be the horse trail leading to the waterfall.
We passed bee hives at the base of the trail. There was a man selling honey nearby. Cuban honey is delicious. We should have bought some.
This trail was relatively steep and challenging with loose dirt and stones. Sandals were not the best choice. We were soon short of breath and sweating buckets as we climbed high above the dam.
Eventually we came to a rickety stick bridge - very cool.
After hiking for 1.5 hours, we had reached the far side of the reservoir without finding the waterfall. The view was gorgeous. As it was getting late, we turned back. The waterfall would have to wait for another day.
The hike down was challenging in a different way. We slid in our sandals on loose rocks and dirt barely managing to stay upright.
Back on firm ground, I pet a puppy while his owner bathed a horse.
Another Cuban traffic jam on our way back to the hotel. 

Hiking in Cuba is almost as much fun as biking. This three-hour 'epic' hike was exhausting. We drank all our water, our feet were killing and our legs were tired. We had a great time even if we didn't find the waterfall.


We talked to a few people who had visited the waterfall before discovering our mistake. It was to the left of the reservoir up this path and much closer than we thought.
My husband had actually seen and dismissed this waterfall when he rode his bike to the dam. He was expecting something bigger. Still, the waterfall was pretty and worth seeing.
A fresh water pond forms at the top of the waterfall.
 On our way back, we admired dogs finding a comfy place to sleep.
 It was late in the day with children playing happily outside.
This horse and cart was parked outside the house where coffee was prepared for us.
It took about 1.5 hours to walk to the waterfall and back. Alternatively, you could ride a horse and rest your feet.

I love that there are so many interesting things to see on hikes in Cuba.


On one of the cooler days, we hiked over the hill behind the Farallon to the wild beach. Another guest showed us the way following the path beside the tennis courts. It is a steep path with lots of thorn bushes to catch at my wrap, but not too challenging or too far. 

It took about 30 minutes of steady walking hiking to reach the wild beach. The path came out at this log. To find our way back, we marked the spot before exploring from one end of the beach to the other. 
These days I prefer taking only photos of collected beach treasures.
There is a nice view from the top of the hill.
Back at the Farallon, we examined the stone wall behind the hotel. It's a great place to find iguanas soaking up the sun.

We heard you can walk around the point at low tide without having to climb over the hill. We also heard there is a great coral reef around the point. Perhaps, we'll take our snorkel gear next time

This was an easy hike. It took a couple hours to walk from the Marea to the Farallon then over the hill to the wild beach and back. 

Be the first to comment - click on No comments: below


  1. Loved the pictures and the narrative, you are great at this Beth.

  2. Great write up Beth, super pictures and brought back memories

  3. Thanks Karine. I hope you're recovering well. Maybe next year, you can go too.