Cuba has the highest combined animal and plant diversity, and the highest degree of endemism, in the West Indies. In 1998 we undertook the first major biodiversity survey of the Sierra del Cristal National Park, in the Holguín province in eastern Cuba, to address the need for baseline data on the wildlife of the forest habitats of this biologically important mountain range. This area was chosen because it is known to be a major stronghold of the endemic Cuban solenodon Solenodon cubanus (Insectivora, Solenodontidae). The project initiated and supported field activities of two Cuban institutions involved in nature conservation. The study focused on indicator taxonomic groups. We recorded a total of 220 species of plants, 53 spiders, 28 molluscs, 10 amphibians, 19 reptiles, 51 birds, and three species of mammal. The highest number of species were recorded in montane forest. Thirty-five percent of the taxa recorded are endemic to the area or to Cuba. Information gathered during the study will form the basis for developing long-term management plans for habitats and resident species, in conjunction with the authorities responsible for environmental conservation.