Pan de Guajaibón, the Roof of the Cuban West

Pan de Guajaibón, the Roof of the Cuban West


Alejandro Rodriguez Ruiz

Called the Roof of the West, the Bread of Guajaibón, the highest peak of that portion of the territory of this Caribbean island, has had a special charm for generations of Cubans and travelers visiting the country.

Declared an Outstanding Natural Element, the orographic formation, 699 meters above sea level and some 837 hectares of surface, is made up of almost vertical limestone walls with dome peaks. Belonging to the Sierra del Rosario, its name comes from the shape of a semi-round bread-like, although its altitude is modest, its natural landscape and historical values ​​are irresistible attractions.

Greenness predominates in these properties, in an exuberant and varied vegetation, mainly mogote and also mountain rainforest, the only one of its kind in the west of the country. The flora, of appreciable endemism, is home to a diverse fauna that includes, among other species, mollusks, vertebrates such as the conga and carabalí hutia rodents, and an abundant avifauna that includes parrots, jabado woodpecker, muleteer, royal thrush, tocororo, nightingale, Cartacuba, Zunzún ...

The Pan de Guajaibón is enriched by a score of caves of particular interest, in which human remains and objects of the aboriginal settlers who inhabited these lands have been found.

Among those who fell in love with its qualities are the writer Cirilo Villaverde (1812-1894), author of Cecilia Valdés, an emblematic novel of Cuban literature, who dedicated beautiful descriptions to it, and the geographer and speleologist Antonio Núñez Jiménez (1923-1998) , considered the fourth discoverer of Cuba, who climbed it in 1940, when the National Speleological Society was founded, and studied it exhaustively in the following years.

The territory was the scene of fighting during the war of independence, including that of Cacarajícara, commanded by major general of the Liberation Army, Antonio Maceo, who camped in the so-called Lechuza cave and to whom a bust is paid homage brought to the top in 2006 by a youth expedition.

The possibilities of hiking, bird watching, image capture, and in general knowledge of remarkable natural and historical-cultural values, invite you to visit Pan de Guajaibón, for many one of the 10 best mountainous landscapes of the Cuban archipelago.