Carretera Nacional N°20 is a spectacular coastal road located in the south-eastern area of Cuba, with a length of 216km. The road links Santiago de Cuba and Niquero through the Turquino National Park. The road was asphalted, but portions of the road have been destroyed due to inclement weather, typhoons and hurricanes, and turned into gravel and sand.
Cuba's Carretera Nacional N20 is narrow, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle, and in many places bordered on one side by cliffs and on the other side by athe sea unprotected by guardrails. Portions of the road may be temporarily closed due to inclement weather that can cause local flash floods that cover the road with sea water.
The road begins in Santigo de Cuba, the second largest city of the country and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, After some kms, the road comes into de Turquino National Park (sometimes called Sierra Maestra National Park), a National Park in southeast Cuba, protecting Cuba's highest mountains rising to 1994 m above sea level, important during the Cuban revolution as the first guerilla stronghold, the original guerilla camp now being a historical site and museum. The national park has within its area a showcase ecological village, and several field stations, including the highest building in the island. The road ends in Niquero, a municipality and town in the Granma Province located in the coastal region of the province, bordering the Gulf of Guacanayabo.
The road hugs the spectacular Caribbean Sea coast along the sierra Maestra mountains. It’s in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. Any barriers along the edge afford little more than token protection; large stretches should be taken at a snail's pace and a lookout kept for vehicles coming from the opposite direction!
The experience of using this road is very impressive. The road is in poor condition, in some sections there is only dirt, but restoration is on his way. Ride it if you dare. Exercise extreme caution when passing on-coming traffic, over-taking and around corners.
Pic: Roger Deuber