Dominican Republic, supernatural
With virtually unspoiled treasures such as Samaná Bay, Los Haitises National Park and Lake Enriquillo, the Dominican Republic is home to spectacular parks and reserves that have allowed it to maintain a rich biodiversity and unique landscapes.
1 Samaná Bay
Heavenly white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters with seagrass and coral, caves with pre-Columbian pictograms and endless natural attractions – such as the arrival of hundreds of humpback whales every year between January and March – make this region a protected refuge for nature.
2 Jaragua National Park
With such paradisiacal enclaves as Las Águilas Bay, Pedernales offers unbeatable scenery despite being one of the country’s most remote destinations. It includes marvels such as its coral reefs – home to the largest population of hawksbill turtles in the Caribbean – and Jaragua National Park, whose Laguna de Oviedo is home to flamingos and an extraordinary population of other birds.
3 Ebano Verde Scientific Reserve
Dedicated to the protection and conservation of flora, fauna and water resources, as well as environmental education and scientific research, northeast of Constanza, the 23sqkm Ebano Verde Scientific Reserve is the origin of the Camú, Jatubey, La Palma, El Arroyazo, Masipedro, La Sal and El Jayaco rivers. Its wildlife is so rich and diverse that the reserve has its own museum to share knowledge of its species – more than 600 flora and fauna, including 80 different types of orchid.
4 Lago Enriquillo and Isla Cabritos
The 350sqm of Lake Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic’s southwest are home to many species of reptiles, including the American crocodile (in danger of extinction), the rhinoceros iguana (an endemic species) and the Ricord’s ground iguana. Inside this large body of water is Isla Cabritos, which was turned into an ecotourism park in 1974 and is home to vibrant wetlands.
5 Los Haitises National Park
Different rivers converge in this lush rainforest in the country’s northwest, marked by caverns with a surprising historical heritage in the form of petroglyphs. In Los Haitises National Park, guests will find many birds, some of which are endangered – such as the stygian owl, the pelican and the fork-tailed flycatcher – along with boa constrictors, sea turtles and manatees. A large population of dolphins regularly swims among its beaches and cays. You can reach the park by boat from Samaná.
6 Estero Hondo
West of Puerto Plata province is the Estero Hondo Marine Mammal Sanctuary, the largest reserve of Antillean manatees in the Dominican Republic. Visitors may be surprised by the size of these wonderful herbivorous and endangered specimens, which can exceed four metres in length.
7 The Three Eyes National Park
This impressive national park was discovered in 1916 and is named after its three underground freshwater lakes – according to scientists, a single body of water was split up by tectonic fractures. A sanctuary and sacred place for the Taino forefathers, it offers a glorious landscape of stalactites and stalagmites. It is located southeast of the capital, Santo Domingo.
8 Sierra de Barohuco
Cuando se cumplen 40 años desde su declaración como parque nacional, la Sierra de Bahoruco continúa siendo un destino único prácticamente en la frontera del país con Haití, en el suroeste del país. Desde sus límites hasta el vecino Lago Enriquillo se disfruta de extraordinarias condiciones para el avistamiento de aves, una treintena de ellas endémicas, como la cúa, el chirri de Bahoruco, la cotorra y la cigua palmera, el ave nacional dominicana.