El Balcón de Iberia
Alejandro de Humboldt National Park
Rating: Intermediate to Difficult, guides required.
Length: 4.3miles (7km)
Features: Stunning, 25m-high waterfalls.
Time: 5 hours
Alejandro de Humboldt National Park is recognised by UNESCO as "one of the tropical island sites with the greatest biological diversity in the world”. Within the park are multiple day hikes, but the longest, and arguably the most beautiful, is El Balcón de Iberia.
The hike is around 5-7 km (depending on your starting point) and should take around five hours to complete. Located 740 metres above sea level, the hiking trail is home to some of the most unique flora and fauna in Cuba.
The beginning of the trail features edible fruit trees like mango, oranges and coconuts, and is home to the world’s smallest frog, the Eleutherodactylus Iberia, named after the mountain itself. You might even spot the national bird of Cuba, the Tocororo, amongst the flocks of parrots and nightingales. Local to the region, the red, white and blue plumage of the Tocororo matches the colours of the Republic’s flag.
After the hike, your guide will take you to the majestic El Majá Waterfall, a 25m waterfall on the Santa Maria River. Here you can swim and rest in the shade of the rainforest canopy and congratulate yourself on your excellent life choices.
If a day hike isn’t long enough, the Sendero El Balcón de Iberia trail now features a series of overnight huts. This multi-day hike is new to Cuba and still relatively unexplored, but is available through several tour companies.