Pico Duarte, Jarabacoa. Located in the Armando Bermudez National Park in the Cordillera Central is the highest point of the West Indies at 3087 m. If you love adventure, travel and mountaineering, undoubtedly you will want to reach the highest summit in the Caribbean.
This gem of nature is surrounded by native vegetation, and in large part populated by pine forests. There are several routes, La Ciénaga in Jarabacoa, Mata Grande in San Jose de las Matas, Constanza, Sabaneta in San Juan and Las Lagunas.
This is the most popular route, as it’s the shortest a distance of 23 km. The trail passes through two of the largest protected areas of the country, Armando Bermudez National Park and José del Carmen Ramirez. From 1100 m to 3087 m, you can complete the Cienaga route to Pico Duarte in two days.
First day – from La Ciénaga to the shared housing
Second day – from the shared housing to Pico Duarte.
Another option is to arrive early at La Ciénaga and sleep in the hut called Los Tablones. It is possible to climb from Los Tablones to Pico Duarte in a single day. The time can be reduced if you decide to travel by mules that can be rented from the local people; this is highly recommended for carrying the luggage. It is advisable to make the trip with a guide, who you can hire in La Cienaga, or through the excursions organized by the various agencies in Jarabacoa that are dedicated exclusively to this activity. It is also advisable to arrive a day before the walk to make the arrangements with guides and mules and to leave early in the morning.
What do you need to take for the walk?
Adequate clothing and equipment. Although we are in the Caribbean, you must be well protected from the cold to climb this mountain, as the temperatures are very low, and can drop below freezing. Rain is often also a part of this wonderful adventure. At night it is suggested that each hiker have a sleeping bag and thermal insulation for the floor. It is not always necessary to carry a tent, as there are huts conveniently distributed over almost the entire road network, unless you plan to sleep outdoors.
Food. You can almost always find wood to build a fire to cook with, but carrying a small gas stove is not a bad idea, as you can more easily cook, even if it rains, which it frequently does. Each person should also bring a water bottle. As for food, it is advisable to take things that are light and occupy little space, especially if you are thinking about not using mules. You can calculate the amount of food based on the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Always calculate a reserve of one or two days, just in case. Important: Remember your rations for the guide!
On reaching the summit, be sure to take a picture with the Cross, the bust of Duarte and the Dominican flag.