How to Hike Pico Duarte?
The highest mountain in the Caribbean.
When you think about Dominican Republic you will probably think about beach, sand and a good drink, resting on a chair-long under the Punta Cana Sun but Dominican mountains have a totally different climate and weather compared to Punta Cana beaches.
Pico Duarte is the highest peak in the entire Caribbean and it´s a mountain you must hike if you are going to spend some days in the Dominican Republic, especially if you love outdoors activities.
So, how to hike the highest mountain in the Caribbean?
This is a question a lot of people ask to themselves when they decide to make a trip to the paradisiacal Dominican Republic because they have no clue of what to do, how it will be and if it´s safe enough to do it.
Located at the center of the Dominican Republic and inside the borders of the Armando Bermudez National Park, Pico Duarte stands at 3,101 meters (10,173 feet) above sea level. A very high landmark if you think that the entire Dominican Republic has only 48,671 square kilometers.
The shortest route to the SUMMIT is the one called “La Cienaga” which has 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Base Camp to the top or 46 kilometers (28 miles) round trip. This is the route that goes by Jarabacoa and Manabao in the dominican province of La Vega.
This is the most used route by hikers and adventurers that challenge themselves for the prize of being the highest person in the Caribbean.
La Cienaga is a small village located inside a big valley. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, La Cienaga is home to all of our guides and mules you will meet on this journey. It´s the perfect place to spend a night to acclimatize before heading towards the highest Dominican mountain.
Pico Duarte has 5 different routes:
- La Cienaga
- Oliver Puello
- Constanza – Valle del Tetero – Pico Duarte
Each of them has its own difficulty level and length.
All of our Pico Duarte hikes start in La Cienaga, which is about one hour away from Jarabacoa by car.
We spend one night in this village for some reasons:
- To know the local life
- Buy a beer in the colmado
- To meet its people and small streets
- To acclimatize for the next-day-hike
You will spend the first night in our tents surrounded by a beautiful river and by the amazing local flora. We will provide you with comfortable tents, sleeping bags and pads so you can spend the night the right way but if you want to sleep a little bit more comfortable we can offer you a nice and warm room we have near base camp.
La Cienaga base camp is a safe place and you can park your car there without any issue although there is always a ranger named German who is a very warm and kind human being.
This place has toilets and solar panels so you can recharge your electronic devices and a nice river if you want to swim.
The place is the last piece of civilization you will have before the first hike.
To get to La Cienaga we offer transportation in our SUV from any city or airport if you don´t have access to a car or if you don´t want to drive in the Dominican highways.
The next morning you wake up early to get your gear packed so the mules can carry it properly to La Comparticion high camp.
That morning our guides will offer you a tasty dominican coffee, hot chocolate, bread and some bananas. This is a proper light breakfast given the early hour. Remember to take your hiking snacks with you. Your next cooked meal will be at 5:00 PM.
The reason for this is that you are not allowed to cook in the middle of the trail. Just at the camps.
The hike begins!