Caving

The Dominican Republic’s first inhabitants left behind signs of their presence in numerous underground caverns found across the country, where they once took refuge or performed rituals. Today, hiking into these mysterious chambers, marked with petroglyphs and pictographs, is a thrilling experience. From easy entry to Indiana Jones-style expeditions, there’s a cave to suit everyone. Southeast, Cotubanamá National Park reveals caves punctuated with emerald freshwater lagoons. Just outside of Santo Domingo, Los Tres Ojos National Park is an easy walk into one of the largest underground caverns in the country, linked by a series of lagoons. Near La Romana, Cueva de Las Maravillas reveals hundreds of pictographs. Scape Park, in Cap Cana, takes you into the tunnels of Iguabonita Cave, with its impressive limestone formations. Los Haitises National Park is home to caves that are reached by boat, and boast a high number of pictographs. The most challenging and adventurous of all is Cueva Fun Fun, as the name suggests, not least because you’ll have no option but to rappel into its entrance. The least visited, yet most impressive caves are in the southwest, including El Pomier, and Las Caritas de los Indios.

There’s a cave to match every age and fitness level.

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CAVING IN
Dominican Republic 

Ancient Taino caves, tucked deep inside the DR’s rainforests and parks, offer the most adrenaline-filled spelunking adventures.

 
 
Part of the Cotubanamá National Park, Cueva de Berna ranks among the largest and most important Taino caves in DR for its high number of petroglyphs.
Boca de Yuma, Punta Cana
Tucked in the lush forests below the Bahoruco mountain range, a thirty-minute hike through a lush rainforest leads to this huge cavern and its emerald-colored pools.
Barahona
Tucked along the scraggly Atlantic coastline of Río San Juan, swim in the calm natural pool surrounding the cave or view its rock composition from ceiling to floor while you float on crystal clear turquoise waters.
Puerto Plata
This cave houses hundreds of well-preserved Taino pictographs and petroglyphs dating back thousands of years, and impressive samples of stalactites and stalagmites.
Bayahíbe, Juan Dolio, La Romana
Cueva del Chicho is one of the most outstanding underground caves; its aquamarine, sparkling fresh waters draw many hikers and it also holds numerous petroglyphs.
Bayahíbe, La Romana
The Caves of Peñón reveal the richest underwater marine life in Bayahíbe. The sea flows through this series of dramatic, rugged caverns lined along the western edge of Cotubanamá National Park.
Bayahíbe, La Romana
One of the most accessible caves, located inside the Cotubanamá National Park—there are over 400 of them— Cueva del Puente reveals a three-level chamber with stalactites, stalagmites, Taino pictographs, and numerous bats.
Bayahíbe, La Romana
Aptly translating as the “double fun” cave, adrenaline pumps are promised on this hiking and caving expedition to Cueva Fun Fun. You’ll rappel into an enormous chamber filled with stalactites, stalagmites, water in parts, and bats.
Hato Mayor, La Romana, Punta Cana
Tucked inside the forest of El Choco National Park, Cabarete’s caves reveal an underground network dating back millions of years. Cueva de Cristal rests underground with a fresh water pool, while other caves above ground are filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
Puerto Plata
El Choco National Park offers a world of nature for hikes, mountain biking, swimming in fresh water lagoons, and cave exploration. Stretching 78 square kilometers (30 square miles), a handful of hiking trails take you through thick tropical forest along cacao and coffee trees, and into caves dating back millions of years.
Puerto Plata

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“You'll be hard-pressed to find a Caribbean island with as much action as the Dominican Republic, due in large part to the country's expansive list of must-visit beaches and jungles. On the Samaná peninsula, the aptly named Playa Bonita has crystal-clear waters ideal for snorkelling and diving – and plenty of palm trees for your classic tropical 'gram. If you prefer green to blue, head to Los Haitises National Park on the island's north-east coast. With its unique limestone rock formations and mangrove forests, the park is easily one of the most beautiful places in the Dominican Republic – and perhaps even the entire Caribbean.” @condenasttraveller
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