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If you like to hike in nature, Cuba is also the place for you: the island has many parks and nature reserves where you can venture to discover the native flora and fauna.
Of course, the geographical position of the island gives it a tropical climate that allows for a natural richness unparalleled in the Caribbean.
The Cuban archipelago can be considered a paradise on earth in terms of its vast biodiversity.
Thus it presents a great variety of landscapes and ecosystems. The flora includes about 11,000 species, including 6,700 types of higher plants with 51% endemism.
This means that 4% of the planet’s vegetation is represented in Cuba.
With regard to fauna,there are
- 88 species of mammals
- 406 species of birds
- 21 of which are endemic
- 120 species of reptiles
- 46 amphibians
- 1,400 species of molluscs
- 8,300 insects
- 1,400 arachnids.
None of the species is dangerous to humans.
As a result, hikers will be in direct contact with all this exuberant nature and will be able to explore in complete safety.
According to the criteria of our experts, the mountain sites in Cuba offer not only beautiful views but also a world to discover. Here is our Top 10 hiking spots:
Viñales Valley, Pinar del Río
In the heart of the Sierra de los Organos, Viñales is a very fertile valley dedicated to the cultivation of tobacco and dotted with “mogotes” (limestone cliffs).
Considered as the most spectacular landscape in Cuba, the valley has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the category of natural landscapes.
It is a wonderful destination for hiking, caving, biking and horseback riding.
Mil Cumbres, Pinar del Río
A protected area that hosts a great diversity of plant species, such as the cork palm (Microcycas calocoma), considered a living fossil, and the only rainforest formation in western Cuba.
It is an excellent place for bird watching.
There is also the highest peak of Pinar del Río, Pan de Guajaibón, with 700 m of altitude.
Sierra de Banao, in Sanctis Spiritus
With a surface area of 6,091 ha and heights of over 500 m, the region stands out for its high degree of conservation and its landscapes that are home to a fascinating biodiversity, where some species exclusive to Sierra de Banao can be found.
History has also left its mark on the different periods of the revolutionary struggle, such as the Caballete de Casa camp used by Che Guevara’s troops in 1958.
Topes de Collantes (Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus)
The Escambray massif seems to be specially designed by nature for hiking.
The mountains reach an altitude of almost 1,000 metres, the climate is cool and several rivers allow for pleasant stops along the way.
The Topes de Collantes park offers several excursions and hikes with the possibility of swimming.
The endemic flora and fauna of the region will not disappoint you, in a landscape populated by the main local culture: coffee.
Lake Hanabanilla in Villa Clara
The Hanabanilla is an artificial lake surrounded by mountains and of extraordinary beauty.
Its name means in Arawak language “little golden basket”, due to its natural wealth.
The excellent state of conservation makes it ideal for fishing and hiking.
Desembarco del Granma Park
It was in this region that Fidel, with 81 expeditionaries, disembarked from the yacht Granma and headed for the Sierra to lead the revolution that culminated in the triumph of 1959.
In addition to its historical context, this park is the largest and most preserved exponent of the system of marine terraces on limestone rocks. It also contains dozens of important archaeological sites.
Turquino Park (Granma) and Humboldt Park (Guantánamo)
Pico Turquino is the highest point in Cuba at 1,974 meters above sea level.
Located in the center of the Sierra Maestra, it is in the homonymous national park.
Its summit has been the object of a kind of pilgrimage since the father of the revolutionary fighter Celia Sánchez had a bust of the national hero José Martí erected there in 1953.
The Alejandro de Humboldt Park is a national park located 40 km from Baracoa on the road to Moa.
It was named after the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt who visited the island in 1800 and 1801.
The park contains much of the virgin forest of the country.
It has been classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its great wealth of flora and fauna and its excellent state of conservation.
At Taco Bay, it is possible to take a boat trip to observe manatees in the mangroves.
La Gran Piedra in Santiago de Cuba
The Gran Piedra is part of the Sierra Maestra mountain range.
It is considered the third largest rock in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records with 70,000 tons and 1,225 meters in height.
On a clear day you can enjoy an exceptional panorama.
Pleasant because of its microclimate, there are coffee plantations bequeathed by French immigrants from Haiti in the 18th century, including the “Cafetal la Isabelica” classified by Unesco.
El Yunque, in Baracoa, Guantánamo.
This mountain, 560 m high, is the symbol of the oldest city in Cuba.
Christopher Columbus described this elevation in his Navigation Diary, upon his arrival in Baracoa on November 24, 1492.
Since then, it has become a natural lighthouse for all navigators crossing the Old Bahamas Canal.