spacer
spacer
spacer spacer
spacer
spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer
National Parks

Los Haitises National Park
Jaragua National Park
National Park Isla Cabritos
Armando Bermudez National Park
Jose Del Carmen Ramirez National Park
Sierra del Bahoruco National Park
Parque Nacional del Este
Monte Cristi National Park
Parque Historico La Isabela
Isabel de Torres National Park
La Caleta Submarine National Park

Los Haitises National Park
Across the bay at Samana, Los Haitises is known for its delicate and ecologically diverse mangrove coast, the largest in the Dominican Republic. Throughout the 83-square mile park, rock formations, pictographs and petroglyphs can be discovered in its three cave systems. The average temperature is 77 F with a humid climate and frequent rainfall in the two major life zones of wet forest and subtropical rainforest. Hispaniola parrots, owls and gannets can be spotted along with solenodonte and hutia.

Tours are available out of El Portillo for approximately $65 and include lunch.

Jaragua National Park
This is the largest of the national parks with over 560 square miles of protected area. Jaragua has one of the largest bird populations in the Dominican Republic with over 130 species, 10 of which are endemic and half aquatic. It's here at Oviedo Lagoon that the largest population of pink flamingos find sanctuary.

Parts of the park receive little rainfall and are desert-like with a dry, thorn-forest and high population of cacti. A large number of caverns are speckled throughout the park where pre-Columbian pictographs and petroglphys are preserved. Eleven species of bats also find protection in the dark caves. One animal to note is the endemic Jaragua gecko, a tiny reptile measuring only 1.6 centimeters long, which was discovered in 1998.

The main park office is east of the town of Oviedo. There are no tourist facilities and no guided tours.

National Park Isla Cabritos
Although it is the largest of the three islands found in Lake Enriguillo, Isla Cabritos means "little goats island." The park is seven and one-half miles long and is situated at the center of the large salt-water lake. The other two islands, Barbarita and Islita, are rarely visited.

The most significant animal inhabitants to be found here is one of the world's largest American crocodile populations. While the prehistoric reptiles can be seen from the lake's shores, the best way to see them up close is by boat. Visitors to the park must pay an entrance and boat fee, which is approximately $60 regardless of the number of people aboard. Tourists may want to share the cost of the boat with other visitors.

Once aboard, the ride takes about 30 minutes to reach the island. The visitor's center on the island has information about the region's history and geology. No unguided visits to the island are allowed. The entrance to the park is a little over one mile east of the town of La Descubierta.

Insider's Tip: The best time to view American crocodile is early morning or late afternoon when they come out of the water to warm up in the sun. During the day, they escape the heat by retreating to the waters.

Armando Bermudez National Park
Established in 1956, this was the first national park in the Dominican Republic. It is still considered the most popular due to the 10,128-foot-tall Pico Duarte. Located within the northern Cordillera Centraland, the 306 square mile park shares Pico Duarte with Jose del Carmen Ramirez National Park.

Cooler than other areas of the country, the average temperature ranges from 54 F to 70 F. In December and January the temperature can drop to 32 F in the early morning. Climbing Pico Duarte is an objective for many who make the pilgrimage and requires a multi-day trek with camping along the trails.

Twelve of the country's rivers flow through Armando Bermudez and Jose del Carmen National Parks thus qualifying the areas as subtropical rainforest. The park's wild boar, solenodonte and hutia may be spotted drinking from the cool streams.

Jose Del Carmen Ramirez National Park
Occupying 306 square miles, this park is known for its prevailing low temperatures ranging from 53 F to 65 F. Freezes and frosts occur in the Valle del Telero area where temperatures of 39 F to below zero have been recorded.

Many pre-Columbian pictographs and petroglphys can be found carved in rock in the Tetero Valley. This is also an area where white-necked crow and loggerhead flycatcher bird species can be seen roosting in the branches of local pine and wide-leaf conifers.

The main park office is in the town of Sabaneta near San Juan de la Maguana. Another point of access is from Los Frios.

Sierra del Bahoruco National Park
The arid southwestern portion of the Dominican Republic is considered an excellent example of climatic stability with a geological foundation of carbonated substratum. An area of interest to many scientists and botanists, the limestone sub-terrain is sedimentary rock that contains important species of algae. The park also contains the Bahia de Caldera National Monument which was established to protect the great Las Salinas sand dunes from erosion.

Orchid lovers will find Sierra del Bahoruco heavenly with 166 species, 32 of which are known to be endemic to this particular park. Nineteen endemic species of birds also flourish here including the rolita, pajaro bobo and the stolid flycatcher.

A very remote park with few surrounding tourist facilities, most visits require a four-wheel-drive vehicle to explore the crystallized limestone peaks.

Parque Nacional del Este
The principal highlights of this 178 square mile marine park are its more than 200 caves and Isla Saona where endangered West Indian manatee and bottlenose dolphins can be seen from time to time.

There are no rivers or streams in the park and the mainland is heavily wooded with subtropical humid forest to dry forest. This clustering of trees creates a safe habitat for 112 species of birds including the endemic ashy-faced owl and Hispaniolan lizard-cuckoo.

The majority of the park takes up the Dominican Republic's southeastern peninsula near Bayahibe whose coastline is well known for coral formations and internationally renowned dive sites. The southernmost tip is Calderas Bay where saltwater lagoons and mangrove swamps are found. Opposite of the bay is Isla Saona, a 15-mile-long island with two small settlements: Mano Juan and Punta Gorda with a total population of 300 people. To the west is the smaller, uninhabited Isla Catalina.

Permits can be arranged at the parks department in Bayahibe or from one of the tour operators. The two entrances to the park include the western entrance at Bayahibe and the eastern entrance just past the village of Boca del Yuma.

Monte Cristi National Park
Located at the extreme northwest of the Dominican Republic, the Monte Cristi National Park partially borders Haiti. One of the driest regions, it only receives two and three-sixths inches of rain per year. The most sought after area for explorers is the Cayos Siete Hermanos Keys, also known as Seven Brothers Keys, which is a desert. The other notable landmark is the 777-foot limestone mesa called El Morro. This enormous stone entity is the habitat for an endemic plant species called sabia montecristini as well as 10 species of reptiles including the American crocodile.

There are no marked trails but it is relatively easy to explore El Morro on foot. Access to the coastal areas will require a boat. The park office is a couple of miles out of Monte Cristi at the base of El Morro.

Parque Historico La Isabela
Consistently listed in the Dominican Republic's top ten most visited protected areas, La Isabela has important historical significance as the first European settlement in the New World.

The historical site is divided into three zones: two civilian and one military known as El Castillo. It is here that excavations have revealed the outlines of what experts believe were Columbus' house, the church where the first mass of the New World was held and an observation tower.

There is no easy way to reach this national park. The most direct route is to take a "gua-gua," a countryside public bus, from Puerto Plata to Imbert, then another to Luperon. From here, take a motorcoach to La Isabela. An easier route is an organized tour.

Isabel de Torres National Park
South of Puerto Plata, this nine square mile reserve is located on a hill that rises to 2,640 feet ASL. On top of the mountain, above the 15 subterranean rivers and brooks, is a statue of Christ (Cristo Redentor) with outstretched arms, similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro. The area is accessible by cable car from Puerto Plata.

The botanical garden, also located atop the mountain, houses a variety of tropical vegetation and many birds, including the Hispaniolan parrot, plain pigeon, limpkin and red-tailed hawk.

La Caleta Submarine National Park
Fourteen miles off the coast of Santo Domingo, "The Hickory" was purposely sunk in 1984 by the Group of Submarine Investigations (GIS) to create an artificial reef for marine life and to promote proliferation. A second wreck, "The George" was sunk near the Hickory and lies 100 feet below sea level.

Divers are able to explore the wrecks, while snorkelers can swim among the numerous coral reefs accessible from the park's beach. The land portion of the park contains an excavated Taino cemetery discovered on the beach in the 1970s. Recently, the park received funding from the United Nations Development Programme for its continued conservation efforts.

The underwater park can be reached from Boca Chica via speed boat in 17 minutes or 25 minutes by a slower boat from the public park on Las Americas highway.
SITE MAP | CONTACT US | MEDIA ROOM