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Trekking in Cuba, Pico Turquino

This is an iconic trek in Cuba which takes you to the top of the highest peak in Cuba, Pico Turquino (1,972m).  It also includes a visit to La Comandancia de la Platica, the hidden HQ of Fidel and his men in the Sierra Maestra mountains.  Our Pico Turquino trekking itinerary is based in the Turquino national park in the Sierra Maestra mountain range surrounded by a range of tropical flora and fauna and a wide variety of birdlife.  The itinerary must be included in a programme of at least one week and is not a stand alone trek.   

This 3 day/2 night itinerary is located 3 hours west of Santiago de Cuba and is available all year round subject to availability and weather conditions.

  • 3 days/2 nights
  • All year round, but best from Nov-April
  • 1 person: £795
    2 persons: £595 pp

    3+ persons: £495 pp

Please keep reading for full details.

” We had a really great time. Although the trek was difficult, it was unreal. Our English speaking guide was great, we got on so well with him. Our park guide was something else entirely. I can’t even begin to describe how great this guy is. He has climbed it 100 times in the past 10 years and it’s not easy! He loves his job and you can tell – he just makes you feel so welcome and tries so hard to point out things (like coriander, picked us some limes, pointing at birds etc). Staying in La Platica was amazing – what a village! We had freshly ground coffee with a woman who lives there, some men from the village played music for us – it was just such a good vibe. Though the climb was tough we had such a great time that it made it so worthwhile!”

MH, Belfast (Aug 2016)

This is a fully guided trek on the Pico Turquino route in the Sierra Maestra mountains walking up the highest peak in Cuba, Pico Turquino.  The trekking is graded moderate but can be strenuous in parts, with some steep inclines. This trip is available at any time of the year, but is recommended from late October to April to avoid the hottest and most humid months from May to mid October.

Please note that you have to carry your own kit on the Pico Turquino trek.  It’s best to pack only what you can easily carry and we recommend that you take no more than a 20l rucksack.  A full kit list  and trekking notes will be sent with your booking confirmation.

This is a challenging trekking route for the physically fit, with some steep sections.  You may be walking with other people if they have booked the same dates.  If you prefer to have less strenuous walking, we recommend that you opt for another 2 night /3 day round trip option from Santiago de Cuba which includes a full day of hiking to visit La Comandancia with accommodation in nearby Bayamo or possibly one of the 3* hotels near the national park gates.

We can combine this trek with hiking and walking in Topes de Collantes near Trinidad and the Alexander Humboldt national park in Baracoa, as the Pico Turquino trek is not able to be booked as a stand alone activity.

  • Day 1

    Depart Santiago 0530 for Santo Domingo with picnic breakfast for the journey.   3 hours drive in total, transport by private taxi/minibus with guide. Arrive Santo Domingo and transfer to jeep for the steep climb up to the trail head.  Hike to La Comandancia de la Platica, the secret mountain headquarters where Fidel and his men organised the revolution.  Lunch provided. Hike back along the same trail and continue to La Platica community where you will have accommodation in the rustic refuge tonight. Dinner provided.

  • Day 2

    Early morning departure after breakfast, 4-5 hours walk accompanied by specialist park guide to the Aguada de Joaquin refuge via luscious virgin forest with some steep sections.  Dinner and overnight stay in refuge. Picnic lunch en route.

  • Day 3

    Early morning start to climb Pico Turquino and then descend to Las Cuevas on the coast (5-6 hours). Picnic lunch en route.  End of trek and private transfer to Santiago de Cuba (3 hours)

Price includes:

  • 2 nights in basic mountain refuge dormitories
  • all meals on trek  (breakfast, dinner and picnic lunches)
  • air-conditioned transport from Santiago de Cuba – Santo Domingo and Las Cuevas – Santiago de Cuba (3.5 hours each way)
  • qualified national park guide(s)
  • national park entry fees
  • English speaking guide to accompany the round trip from Santiago de Cuba

Please note that the price does not include:

  • International flights
  • Cuban tourist card (the required visa)*
  • Airport transfers*
  • Tips

*These can be arranged by us on request

1 person: £795  2 persons: £595

3+ persons: £495 pp

“We loved the visit to La Comandancia – very special place.  The food on the trek was really good, much better than we expected, and our guide kept producing sandwiches and water for us from his bag! He was so informative, a really genuine guy and good company…. The views were amazing”.   A.O and J.C, Wales (March 2015)

“We felt as if we were able to experience certain places that we would have had difficulty finding or being aware of on our own. [While trekking] the scenery was outstanding and [the guide’s] background information was very informative. Santo Domingo was idyllic and the opportunity to visit la Comandancia was a prized part of our holiday”.

DS, Edinburgh (Mar 2014)

“The Pico Turquino trek was a great experience and we’re proud to think we have been to the top of Cuba’s highest peak.” RR – tailormade trip, Feb 2012