At 1,974 m, Pico Turquino constitutes not only the most prominent summit of the Sierra Maestras but the highest point on the entire island of Cuba. This alone would make it worthy of an adventurous visit, but toss in the fact that it's also temptingly close to Comandancia de la Plata (mountain headquarters of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and other famed Cuban revolutionaries) and you've got yourself an excursion that's pretty difficult to pass up.
Due to the country's often under-repaired infrastructure and the surrounding park's remote wilderness, prepare to invest between 2-3 days of your time here. You'll also need to decide how you want to tackle the peak: the strenuous 2-day, 1-night trek starting from Las Cuevas (south of Pico Turqino along the coast road), or the more gradual 3-day, 2-night trek starting from Alto Naranjo/Villa Santo Domingo (north of Pico Turquino, and typical starting point for tours including the Comandancia). Whichever you choose, a guide is required, and though they can sometimes be tricky to book ahead of time online you'll have no trouble finding an outfit either through Villa Santo Domingo or, more easily, in the nearby town of Santiago de Cuba.
Once the logistics have been worked out, prepare yourself for a rugged, beautiful experience replete with lush Cuban vegetation, unique wildlife, a bust of national hero José Martí at the summit, and the best views available in the country. Though you can conceivably make the hike year-round, your best bets are between the months of December and April, when you can be almost assured of dry weather and moderate temperatures. Other than that, make sure to pack lots of water and enjoy the scenery from the top of Cuba.
Location:Santiago de Cuba, Cuba