- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
The “Dominican Alps” are home to the highest peak in the Caribbean. While Pico Duarte is not the Matterhorn of Switzerland, it does stand tall at 3,087 meters. Surprisingly, while the Matterhorn weighs in at 4,478 meters and was conquered for the first time in 1865, no attempts to climb Pico Duarte occurred until 1944.
Not so surprisingly, the peak used to be named Pico Trujillo, when the dictator predictably named it after himself during his tenure. But when he was assassinated, the peak was renamed for founding father Pablo Duarte.
This challenging climb has been made a little easier since the 1980s, when cutting of trails was begun in an effort to increase ecotourism. Currently, nearly 3,000 people hike Pico Duarte and the surrounding peaks every year.
Climbing Pico Duarte is no small feat. Preparing, both mentally and physically, for the (at minimum) two-day hike to its apex can be something of a task in itself. Before you throw on your boots and strap on your backpack, there are quite a few details to consider.
Generally, a trip up Pico Duarte requires a good deal of packing. First off, proper attire is key to enjoying your journey. A variety of clothing will help ensure your comfort through the temperamental climate. The temperature typically ranges 12–21°C (54–70°F) but can dip below freezing, especially in the winter months. Yearly rainfall is between 1,000 and 4,000 millimeters, so waterproof gear is invaluable.
Toiletries like sunscreen, toilet paper, and bug repellent will also help make your trip more comfortable and safer. Hiking boots are a must! (Keep in mind, even the top-of-the-line hiking boots will be of little use to you if they are not thoroughly broken in.)
Some of the route can be tough going, ranging from dry, rocky terrain to muddy paths to slippery stone, so protect your feet, ankles, and joints as much as possible. A walking stick might also come in handy and make navigating the uneven topography a little easier. Simpler shoes, like sneakers or sandals, are good to wear once you’ve reached the campsite.
If the idea of sharing a cabin with a bunch of strangers is not appealing, some camping items you may need are sleeping bags, flashlights, cookware, and tents.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition