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.

One of the DR’s major bird sanctuaries, set along a peaceful lagoon flanked by thick mangroves. Boat rides take you along this mystical lagoon daily, though sunset is the best time to see egrets, and vultures soaring and chirping loudly above the mangroves as you pass through narrow channels.
Puerto Plata
DR’s largest freshwater lagoon, reaching 28 square kilometers (11 square miles), Laguna Rincón is home to a variety of flora and wildlife rich enough to make it a protected scientific reserve, with water turtles, iguanas, flamingos, pelicans, herons, and Florida ducks.
Climb a series of sturdy wooden steps and explore the large number of petroglyphs across the walls, faces suggesting the presence of Tainos thousands of years ago.
Los Haitises National Park is one of the crown jewels of the Dominican Republic’s national park system. Los Haitises attracts numerous visitors who come here by boat to see its magnificent series of high rock formations; also, it boasts extensive mangroves along its bay, dotted with keys and caves.
Thousands of visitors flock to Samaná every year for its chief seasonal attraction: the equally large number of humpback whales that return to court, mate, and birth in the Atlantic waters off Samaná Bay–an area officially declared a Marine Mammal Sanctuary in 1986.
The Montecristi Underwater National Park boasts a rich coral barrier. It is the most untouched and vibrant reef in the country, and yet the least visited. You’ll spot gorgeous hard and soft coral gardens at various depths, including large moose horn corals, and schools of small tropical fish.
Hike your way up or hop on the only cable car in the Caribbean to reach Mount Isabel de Torres, flanked by a giant statue of Christ the Redeemer–one of the province’s iconic landmarks–and standing 793 meters (2,600 feet) above Puerto Plata.
Puerto Plata
Hike through a lush, protected forest where you can bird watch, spot native plants, and dip in cool fresh springs in underground caves.
Bayahíbe, La Romana
A secluded, undeveloped white sand beach punctuated with rows of palm trees, and facing a wide, shallow turquoise natural pool, Palmilla is the ultimate Caribbean paradise.
La Romana
Take a nature break around ancient Taino caves and lagoons.
Santo Domingo


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