Ecotourism in Dominican Republic

According to TOP-MEDICAL-SCHOOLS, the largest protected area of the country – Jaragua National Park (Jaragua national park) – is located on the southern tip of the Pedernales Peninsula and on the water area adjacent to the coast in the southwestern part of the Dominican Republic. The park covers an area of 1374 sq. km. Dry deciduous forests, shrub communities and mangroves stretch here. More than 100 species of birds, various reptiles, a dozen species of bats live in the park, and manatees and dolphins are found in coastal waters. In the eastern part of the park is Lake Laguna Oviedo. (Laguna Oviedo), on the banks of which the largest flamingo colony in the country settles. In total, there are about 60 species of birds. The lake and its shores are also home to turtles and rare species of iguanas. The water in the lake has a bright green color due to chemical elements that come here from limestone rocks with groundwater flows. On the west coast of the park near the town of Pedernales, one of the most beautiful beaches in the region stretches – the deserted beach of Bahia de las Aguilas (Bay of Eagles). The park also includes two uninhabited islands – Beata island and Alto Velo island, which is the southernmost point of the Dominican Republic. On the island of Beata, caves with ancient drawings of the Taino Indians are interesting, and on the island of Alto Velo, the smallest lizard in the world lives – a miniature gecko, no more than 2 cm long.

Off the east coast of the Pedernales Peninsula, Laguna Rincon, or whatever it is, is interesting called – Cabral, where turtles and pink flamingos live.

To the north, near the border with Haiti, is the largest lake in the Antilles – Lake Enriquillo (Lago Enriquillo). The area of this salt lake is 265 sq. km. Isla Cabritos National Park was created on the largest island of the lake (Cabritos Island).(Isla Cabritos national park). Cabritos Island is a flat desert island that divides Lake Enriquillo into two parts. The island is home to cacti and thousands of reptiles, including American crocodiles, rare rhinoceros iguanas and Ricord’s cycluras, and thousands of birds, including red flamingos, herons and ibises. Lake Enriquillo is one of the few salt lakes on the planet where crocodiles live.

In the central part of the country in the mountains of Cordillera Central near the cities of Jarabacoa (Jarabacoa) and Constanza (Constanza) there are two national parks – Jose Armando Bermudez national park and Jose del Carmen Ramirez(Jose del Carmen Ramirez national park). Jarabacoa and Constança are the centers of ecotourism and hiking in the country. From here, the most popular hiking trails along the Cordillera Central and to the highest peak of the Caribbean – Duarte(3187 m) originate. Climbing the mountain takes about 4 days. In addition to hiking, tourists are offered horse rides through the forests of the parks. In addition, near Constanza there is a protected mountain valley Nuebo (Valle Nuevo) – the geographical center of the country, where pine forests and Dominican magnolias grow, and the Ebano Verde reserve with ebony trees unique to this region.

On the northwest coast of the Dominican Republic behind the mountains of Cordillera Central near the border with Haiti on an area of 550 square meters. km stretches Montecristi National Park (Montecristi national park). It covers coastal waters with coral reefs and islands and the delta of the longest river in the country – Yaque del Norte – with mangroves. The park is inhabited by 10 species of reptiles, including crocodiles and turtles, and about 160 species of birds (herons, pelicans, etc.). The hallmark of the park is the 237-meter El Morro mountain, towering above the sea. The islands of the park are also popular: the island of Isla Cabrita with a lighthouse and a beautiful beach, and 7 islands of Cayo Siete Hermanos surrounded by reefs, on the beaches of which turtles come from November to February to lay their eggs.

Also on the north coast is the Loma Isabel de Torres mountain reserve. (805 m), to the top of which a funicular goes from the city of Puerto Plata. At the top of the mountain there is a botanical garden with about 600 species of tropical plants, and there is a statue of Christ the Redeemer, which is a copy of the monument in Rio de Janeiro. To the east, in the vicinity of the Cabarete resort , the El Choco national park is interesting, covering an area of ​​77 square meters. km, which includes part of the coast and the Coastal Mountains extending south. There are about 900 plant species, 12 bat species and 40 bird species in the park. On the territory of the park there are underground caves, where ancient drawings and inscriptions of the Taino Indians have been preserved.

One of the country’s main attractions is the Marine Animal Sanctuary. (Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic). It occupies the waters of Silver Bank (Silver Bank), stretching off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic), and Samana Bay. Tourists come here to watch humpback whales. Between mid-January and mid-March, about 80% of all ocean-dwelling humpback whales swim to the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic to mate each year. Most whale watching excursions are arranged from the main city of the Samana Peninsula – Santa Barbara de Samana (Santa Barbara de Samana). In addition, excursion boats depart from Santa Barbara de Samana to the southwestern shore of Samana Bay, where, on an area of 826 sq. km stretched Los Haitises National Park. The park is designed to protect dense tropical rain forests, where giant trees and orchids grow, and vast mangrove swamps, where two rare species of mammals – the hutia and the sand tooth – and a wide variety of birds live. There are practically no roads and hiking trails, the best way to see the park is by boat. Another attraction of the park is a system of caves formed as a result of water erosion. On the walls of the caves you can see the ancient drawings of the indigenous people of the country – the Taino Indians. The visitor center of Los Haites National Park is located in the town of Sabana de la Mar, which is located on the south coast of Samana Bay.

On the east coast of the country, in the vicinity of the resort of Punta Cana, two lagoons are of interest – Laguna Limon and Laguna Redonda, which are lined with mangrove forests (great places for bird watching; and Eyes Ecological park, where on an area of 8 square kilometers are about 500 species of exotic plants, 160 species of insects and 80 species of birds. In the southeastern part of the Dominican Republic, near the resort of Bayahibe, on a small peninsula covered with dry forests, is the Del Este National Park (Del Este national park). It is home to about 100 species of birds, lizards, snakes, rare horned iguanas and two species of mammals – flint teeth and hutia. In the park, in addition to nature, cave complexes are interesting, which in ancient times were used by the Taino Indians as ceremonial places. On the walls of the caves, petroglyphs have been preserved that tell about the history of the relationship between the Indians and the Spanish conquistadors, and some of the drawings depict Christopher Columbus. You can explore the caves by going on a hiking tripalong the paths of the park. In addition to the peninsula, the park also includes the Saona island located near the coast with an area of 110 square meters. km. It is the largest island belonging to the Dominican Republic.. Along the shores of Saona Island, white sand beaches are considered among the most beautiful in the region. Several species of sea turtles live in the coastal waters of Saona Island, which come to the local shores to lay eggs, bottlenose dolphins, West Indian manatees, and in winter you can see humpback whales off the coast.

2 km from the coast of the resort town of La Romana (La Romana) is the island of Catalina (Catalina island). The island has an area of ​​6 sq. km. and is protected by the eponymous nature reserve. Forests stretch in the center of the island, and sandy beaches along the coast. Tourists come here to relax on the quiet beaches. In addition, the island is surrounded by colorful coral reefs.

There are two national parks worth visiting in the metropolitan area. Los Tres Ojos National Park is located in Santo Domingo itself. It was created to protect three limestone caves. Initially, it was a single cave, however, as a result of earthquakes, the roof of the cave collapsed and it was divided into three parts. Paths are laid between the caves, which are made in the form of stone steps. At the bottom of each cave there is a lake, and the water in the lakes has a different color due to the diverse chemical composition. Each lake has viewing platforms. In addition to hiking near the caves, tourists are offered boat tours on the lakes. Submarino La Caleta National Park is located 22 km east of the capital.(Submarino La Caleta national park). This is the smallest national park in the country, its area is 10 square meters. km. The main attraction of the park is the coral reef, where, despite the destruction caused by the hurricane in 2004, you can see a variety of tropical fish and other marine life. This is a great place for beginner divers to learn as the waters are calm.

Ecotourism in Dominican Republic