The Great Stone, treasure of the Cuban east
By Colette Laforet
La Gran Piedra (The Great Stone) is a gigantic stone mass, located on the Siboney Highway, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.
Witness of the volcanism of the Paleogene, like all the geology of the Sierra Maestra, the enormous volcanic gap rock is 51 meters long and 25 to 30 meters wide and weighs about 63,000 tons.
Located on the top of a mountain 1225 meters above sea level, it is a singular attraction as it becomes a natural viewpoint from where the Sierra Maestra can be observed.
The mole is famous not only between the borders of the island, but also in the insular Caribbean region, as it is precisely the largest in that area. The legend of its origin even attributes its formation to the impact of a meteorite that fell millions of years ago in the aforementioned territory, although the most true is the one that considers its birth due to the explosion of an underwater volcano.
For leisure, there is the Hotel Gran Piedra where accommodation is available, divided into 17 cabins and five bungalows, where lovers of nature tourism enjoy hiking, mountaineering, cycle tourism and the contemplation of flora and fauna, among other options.
The flora is exclusive, as it includes 222 varieties of ferns, and 352 of orchids, eucalyptus, pines, cypresses, and a diversity of fruit trees. The fauna, for its part, is one of the strongest attractions.
Woodpeckers, king thrushes, cartacubas, hawks, torcazas, mayitos fly around the mole, captained by the national bird of Cuba, the tocororo.
Due to its relevance to Cuban geography and the characteristics of its relief, the Great Stone was declared a National Monument on December 30, 1991.