Traipsing Through the Jungle in Río San Juan

Like everywhere we went in Cuba, transportation to Rio San Juan was a challenge. We flagged down an off-duty driver, who had a friend, who had a family member, who was able to give us a ride in the back of a tractor taxi past farms and jungle to the river. Our plan was to catch a ride there and hike back.

We went to the rain forest and it rained. Go figure. The rain had the effect of clearing out the locals for the most part and the river was still beautiful so we waited it out.

The bamboo forest surrounding the swimming holes was out of this world. It completely dwarfed Josh in this photo:

After some time spent enjoying the river and forest, it was time to start our hike back to the casa.

The trail back was gentle and well-traveled from locals heading between towns on horseback.


First, it brought us through a small village. About 13 people lived here, mostly children, and it didn’t appear to have electricity or running water. They were wary of us and I waited until we got respectfully far away to snap a photo.


Then, we headed deeper into the jungle again. Nicole was fortunate to catch an anole (lizard) and realize a decade old dream.


We managed to find the ruins of a French-Haitian coffee plantation from the 1800s.


These were the craziest vines I (Nicole) have ever seen. And that’s saying a lot from someone who has been to rain forests all over Latin America, including the Amazon.


This suspension bridge felt less than safe, but we had to check it out.


The trail eventually spit us out on the road that would take us home. Fun fact about these horses: we would later observe them being herded on down the road by a man on a moped.


Home sweet casa!