True adventure lovers will find that the Duarte Peak, situated 3,087 meters above sea level, will be the perfect destination for mountain climbing in the tropics. The Peak, the highest in the Caribbean, offers hikers the most beautiful mountain trails in the entire Caribbean region. Several Dominican agencies offer a variety of tours, depending on the needs of the visiting tourists.
This peak is part of the east-west mountain range that runs through the very heart of the Dominican Republic.
The low to moderate temperatures, dense forests, the unique landscape, the impressive variety of native flora and fauna, crystal-clear streams and rivers, and stubborn mules that take the visitors through the roughest terrain, are some of the things visitors will see on their way to the peak.
The peak is accessible year round, except during bad weather or the dry season. However, most excursions take place during December through April, when the temperatures can drop to the freezing point and when most days are bright and sunny.
The summer months are not necessarily the best time at the peak, because of regular thunderstorms.
The peak is situated within the José Armando Bermudez National Park.
Most tours will begin their climb up to the peak at the village of “La Cienega,” in the central-mountain town of Jarabacoa. Tours offer facilities for those who want to walk up to the peak, or for those who want to ride up to the peak in mules. Tour companies provide a list of the clothing, food and medicines suggested for a safe and comfortable stay once the hikers reach their destination.
There are 25 kilometers from “La Cienaga” to the Peak of winding mountain trails. Most tours take three days, depending on the physical conditions of the hikers and the weather.
In Jarabacoa, the ecotourism capital of the country, various companies organize guided tours. “Rancho Baiguate,” one of the region’s most respected tour agencies, organizes three, four and five day tours which include breakfast, lunch, dinner and lodging. For information: www.ranchobaiguate.com/spanish/tours/pico_duarte.htm.
The “Rancho Jarabacoa” agency offers visitors two to four day guided bilingual tours. The package includes guides, meals, lodging and transportation. More information available: www.ranchojarabacoa.com.
The “Explora Dominicana” agency also organizes tours which include transportation from Santo Domingo, lodging, guides, meals, snacks and refreshments. Prices range from US$350 to US$525 per person for groups of up to seven hikers. Please consult: www.exploradominicana.com.
The “Colores Tours & Travel” offer complete packages that include round trip transportation, entry permits to nearby national parks, lodging in camp sites, experienced guide tours, travel insurance and all meals, refreshments and snacks.
“El Medio Tours” offers year-round individual or group excursions. For more information: Tel.: (809)-472-4422; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.desdeelmedio.com.do.