The lone high ground in an area of unremittingly flat farmland that stretches all the way to the coast, the Loma de Cunagua is 364m high and can be seen for miles around. Just past the foot of the hill, about 1km along a dirt track from the Circuito Norte (the main road), is a gate where, before you are permitted to pass, you will need to pick up a guide from the lodge here and negotiate a price to be taken into this protected area and up to the top; there’s not much point in turning up after midday as there are rarely any guides around after that time. Note also that taxis are not allowed past the lodge, so you’ll have to walk from this point on unless you have your own car.
From the gate, a gravelly road weaves its way up through the dense tangle of spindly trees clinging precariously to the steep slopes. A favourite with birdwatchers, the hill’s forests, crisscrossed by a network of trails, are home to dazzlingly coloured parrots, as well as the tojosa (a small endemic dove), the zunzún (Cuban emerald hummingbird) and the tocororo, which was chosen as the country’s national bird because of its startling red, white and blue plumage, the same colour scheme as the Cuban flag. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of an enormous Cuban tree rat, known locally as jutia. Take the dirt track up to the summit, which offers panoramic views over the surrounding countryside and out to sea, and a restaurant.