National Parks + Protected Areas

The Dominican Republic’s diverse topography and varying climates combine to create the perfect environment for over 6,000 species of thriving flora and fauna, including a high number of endemic species. In Bayahíbe, Cotubanamá National Park stretches from land—where you can spot the national, endemic Bayahíbe Rose—to the marine jewels of Saona and Catalina islands offshore, teeming with marine life. The largest of all national parks, and part of the DR’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Jaragua National Park includes beach, lagoons, dry forests and cays. Nearby, the Sierra de Bahoruco is the only cloud forest in the Caribbean. Among the most visited parks in the country is also its most stunning: Los Haitises National Park, toured mainly by boat to view its towering rock mounts rising out of the water. In one of the most remote, pristine areas of the country, Valle Nuevo National Park astounds with its dense pine tree forests and frosty mornings.

Whether for hiking, bird watching, or on flora expeditions, the DR’s protected areas should feature on your vacation to do list.

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Dominican Republic

Explore one of the DR’s 29 national parks across land and sea, including a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Located a cool 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) high–the drive is an attraction in itself, and unique to the Caribbean region. At the top are several mountain trails near the observatory, which overlooks the geological depression dropping 700 meters (2,300 feet), nestled between the Sierra de Bahoruco mountains.
Catalina is popular for water sports, particularly diving and snorkeling. Portions of the beach welcome cruise ship excursions, but the entire stretch is open for the public to enjoy.
La Romana
Saona’s picture-perfect beaches attract more visitors than all of the DR’s national parks combined. A protected site and part of Cotubanamá National Park, the island is a dream tropical escape.
Bayahíbe, La Romana
Jaragua National Park is one of DR’s most significant natural reserves; part of the first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the DR, the park encompass diverse ecosystems–from sea to land, lagoon to isles, and a rich and diverse wildlife.
Just like its adjacent Armando Bermúdez National Park, yet less explored, this is one of DR’s first national parks and protected areas. Stretching across three provinces at 764 square kilometers (295 square miles), it provides an alternative entry point to Pico Duarte.
Near Santo Cerro, discover the archeological ruins of the original town Christopher Columbus founded in 1494, classified as a national park. Archaeologists continue to study the excavated foundations of the old city once prosperous between 1505 and 1510.
Constanza, Jarabacoa, La Vega
Lago Enriquillo is the largest and deepest lake below sea level in the Caribbean, ideal for wildlife watching and nature exploration. Boat trips along the lake’s waters and onto Isla Cabritos reveal a large population of American crocodiles, and flamingos.
Barahona, Pedernales
Kayaking, fishing, hiking, boating, and bird watching through a tunnel of mangroves: these are a handful of activities to enjoy on the Laguna de Bávaro-home to reptiles and flora.
Punta Cana
The largest lagoon in DR, with a salt-water level three times higher than that of the sea, Laguna de Oviedo is a prime bird watching area. Around the lagoon’s thick mangrove swamps and 24 keys you’ll spot royal and blue herons, the great egret, roseate spoonbills, sandpipers, and flamingos.
Laguna Dudú’s series of turquoise, freshwater lagoons surrounded with caves and lush forest will keep you swimming all day long. Rent a kayak to navigate the waters, explore one of the caves on foot, or brave the makeshift zipline at your own risk.
Puerto Plata


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