It doesn't take long to understand why El Yunque literally translates to "The Anvil." Situated between the Duaba and Toa Rivers, this distinctive limestone tabletop mountain has been impressing travelers from Christopher Columbus onward with its unique shape, emerging from the lush Cuchillas del Toa Biosphere Preserve like its own secluded island. And at a height of 575 m, the views from the top are nothing to scoff at either, stretching for miles over Baracoa, eastern Cuba and the warm waters of the Bahia de Miel.
If hiking El Yunque is on the agenda you're in luck, since this is the most well known adventure in the region. For starters, you'll want to give yourself between 4-5 hours starting from the camp trail-head of the same name. The path is strenuous at parts but definitely manageable for experienced/capable hikers of just about any skill level: a 7 km round-trip trek replete with everything from orchids and Royal Palm Trees to incredible bird and butterfly species (watch out for sunning snakes). Since you'll be crossing the Rio Duaba anyway, it can also easily be paired up with a quick/refreshing dip in the river's eponymous waterfall. Pack light, bring plenty of water, and make sure you leave yourself enough time to savor one of the country's more spectacular vistas once you get to the top.