Pico Duarte: Cordillera Central / Massif du Nord (Hispaniola)

Pico Duarte: Cordillera Central / Massif du Nord (Hispaniola)

Wed, 06/09/2021 - 12:36

Pico Duarte is the highest peak on Hispaniola. A series of mountain chains, known in the Dominican Republic as the Cordillera Central, spans the central part of the island, from the coast of the Dominican Republic into Haiti, where it is known as the Massif du Nord.

Pico Duarte

Pico Duarte (Duarte Peak) is the highest peak in the Dominican Republic, the island of Hispaniola and possibly in all of the Caribbean. It is just 85 km (53 mi) from the lowest point in the Cordillera Central range: Lake Enriquillo, which is also the island's largest lake.

At approximately 3,100 m (10,170 ft) above sea level, it gives the island of Hispaniola the 16th-highest elevation of any island in the world. It is only slightly taller than La Pelona, its twin which stands at 3,084 m (10,118 ft).

The mountain's elevation has been the subject of debate for decades. Until the mid-1990's it was held to be 3,175 m (10,417 ft) high. In 2003, it was measured by a researcher using GPS technology and it was found to be 3,098 m (10,164 ft) tall. The official elevation as recorded by Dominican government agencies is 3,087 m (10,128 ft).

Topographical map of Dominican Republic

Topographical map of Dominican Republic showing Cordillera Central from southern coast into northwestern Haiti

Cordillera Central / Massif du Nord

The Central Range, a series of parallel mountain chains, known in the Dominican Republic as the Cordillera Central, spans the central part of the island of Hispaniola, extending from the southern coast of the Dominican Republic into northwestern Haiti, where it is known as the Massif du Nord (Northern Massif).

The Cordillera Central extends from the plains between San Cristóbal and Baní to the northwestern peninsula of Haiti.The highest elevations of the range are found in the Pico Duarte and Valle Nuevo massifs.

In Haitian territory, the range's general altitude varies from 600 - 1,200 m (1,970 - 3,970 ft) in elevation. In Dominican territory, its crest line averages approximately 1,800 m (6,000 ft) asl.

José Armando Bermúdez National Park is located in the range, protecting a diversity of flora and fauna species. The pale magnolia tree (Magnolia pallescens), an endangered species endemic to the Dominican Republic, grows in the park.