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We spent three days in the Sierra Maestra cordillera, combining a two-day trek to Cuba’s highest mountain with a one-day visit to Comandancia de la Plata; Fidel’s hidden rebel headquarters during the Revolution. Below is a detailed overview of our day-to-day planning.
Day 1: From Santo Domingo to Aguadas de Joaquin
- 5am: Pick-up in Santiago de Cuba
- 8am: Register at the reception of Villa Santo Domingo
- 9:30: Picking up our guide in the tourist center and drive up to Alto de Naranjo
- 10am: Start of the hike from Alto de Naranjo at an altitude of 950 meters
- 4pm: Arrival at camp Aguadas de Joaquín at an altitude of 1 350 meters
- 4:15pm: Lunch
- 8pm: Dinner
Total distance: 8km
Total elevation: 400meters, although you’ll climb a lot more because of the continuous alternation of ascents and descents
Day 2: Climbing to the top of Pico Turquino
- 4am: Start hiking
- 7am: Arrival on top of Pico Turquino at an altitude of 1 974 meters
- 9am: Back at Aguadas de Joaquín for breakfast
- 10am: Start of the hike down
- 1pm: Arrival at La Plática & lunch
- 6:30pm: Dinner
Total distance: 5km
Total elevation: 600meters, without counting the extra vertical meters as a consequence of the rugged trail.
Day 3: Visit to Comandancia de la Plata
- 7:30am: Breakfast at La Plática
- 8:15am: Start of the hike
- 10:30am: Arrival at Comandancia de la Plata
- 12am: Back at Alto de Naranja
- 1pm: Lunch in Casa Sierra Maestra
- 2pm: Transport to Bayamo
- 4pm: Arrival in Bayamo
Total distance: 3km
Total elevation: I can’t find the exact altitude of Comandancia de la Plata, but it won’t be much higher than Alto de Naranja.
Note: Wondering what to pack for the hike? Check out this packing list for Pico Turquino.
Level of difficulty
At an altitude of 1.974 meters, Pico Turquino isn’t extremely high. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t underestimate the trek which is basically an endless series of steeps ascents followed by equally steep descents that lead you to a lower altitude than where you had started. Make sure you’re physically fit to take on this hike. You can consider hiking up El Yunque in Baracoa as a starter.
Our Sierra Maestra trek with Cuban Adventures
We booked our Sierra Maestra trek via Cuban Adventures who’ve arranged everything for us. They picked us up in Santiago de Cuba, set us up with a guide, provided all our meals and dropped us in Bayamo afterwards. We didn’t have to worry about a thing. Although it is possible to arrange the trek by yourself, it would not only be time-consuming, it would also involve a lot of hassle. The organized tour comes with a price tag, but it guarantees that a reliable team of experts will help you arrange your trip. When I was planning our one-month trip through Cuba, I didn’t know what to expect from Sierra Maestra, as the info online was way too vague. John from Cuban Adventures helped me a lot in planning our trip as efficient as possible by offering a customized trip.
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