Pico Duarte is located in the Central Cordillera of the Dominican Republic, about 180 kilometers northwest of the capital Santo Domingo. The nearest, larger village is Jarabacoa. This is also the starting point for the most popular ascent route to the highest peak of the Caribbean islands. Pico Duarte lies between the two national parks Armando Bermúdez and José del Carmen Ramírez. The Central Cordillera is the largest and highest mountain range in the Dominican Republic, stretching from San Cristobal and Baní in the south to the northwest of the country on the border with Haiti.
Getting to Pico Duarte
There are several routes to Pico Duarte. The most popular one goes through Jarabacoa and on to the small village La Ciénaga de Manabao, from where most hikes start. The 23.1 km tour leads from the entrance of the National Park via Los Tablones, La Cotorra, La Laguna, El Cruce, Aguita Fria and Camp La Compartición to the summit of Pico Duarte. This tour usually takes two or three days. Another popular starting point is the village of Mata Grande, which is reached via San José de las Matas. From there, 45 kilometres have to be covered. The stations are Loma del Oro, Las Guácaras, the high valley Valle de Bao, the sister summit La Pelona and finally the summit of Pico Duarte. You can either go back the same way or go down to La Ciénaga on the main route to experience a varied tour. Depending on the exact variant, you will be on the road here for four to five days, but you will experience the most beautiful scenic of all tours.
Pico Duarte Ascent
The ascent of Pico Duarte is a special experience. Who would expect here, in the middle of the Caribbean, a mountain that rises over 3,000 meters into the blue sky. Unlike in the native European mountains, there is no tree line here, which means that vegetation can be found up to the summit cross. The evenings around the campfire with a hot chocolate are also an unforgettable experience.
However, you are recommended to wear warm clothes on the way to Pico Duarte. In the evenings and at night it can get very cold in the higher altitudes. A warm fleece sweater or a jacket is recommended, as the temperatures occasionally drop to just over 0°C. From December to February it is slightly colder than the rest of the year. In the summer months, during the rainy season, short but heavy rainfall can occur.
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