The National Parks in the Dominican Republic are some of the largest and most diverse parks in all the Caribbean. National parks in the Dominican Republic set aside over 10% of its land and scientific reserves. The local government is doing a reasonably good job of protecting these important resources in the face of external pressures. This is especially important in coastal areas where beach resorts are devouring open spaces and destroying fragile coral reefs with huge numbers of tourists. Enforcement has been less effective in the DR’s central mountains, where logging and encroachment by farmers continue in many areas.
Hispaniola´s National Parks in the Dominican Republic
Covering most of the island’s ecosystems, the 10 national parks in the Dominican Republic offer outdoor enthusiasts good options for adventure.
- Parque Nacional Armando Bermúdez: This 766 square km park in the humid Cordillera Central park is blanketed in pine trees, tree ferns and palm trees, and is home to the hawk- like Hispaniolan Trogon.
- Parque Nacional del Este: Located in the southeastern part of the country, it consists of dry and subtropical humid forest with caves featuring Taíno petroglyphs, as well as the sandy beaches of Isla Saona: look out for manatees and dolphins off the coast.
- Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos: In the southwest, this park is a 24 square km island surrounded by the salt water Lago Enriquillo. It is a refuge for crocodiles, iguanas, scorpions, flamingos, crows and cacti.
- Parque Nacional Jaragua: with 1400 square km, this is the largest park in the DR. It is made up of an arid thorn forest, an extensive marine area and the islands of Beata and Alto Velo. This southwestern park is rich in birdlife, particularly sea and shore birds, and its beaches are nesting grounds for hawksbill turtles.
- Parque Nacional José del Carmen Ramírez: This 764 square km park is home to the Carib- bean’s tallest peak – Pico Duarte – and the headwaters of three of the DR’s most important rivers: Yaque del Sur, San Juan and Mijo. Although there is occasional frost, the park is considered a subtropical humid mountain forest.
- Parque Nacional Los Haitises: Situated on the Bahía de Samaná, this park’s lush hills jut out of the ocean and are fringed with mangroves, tawny beaches and several Taíno caves. Bamboo, ferns and bromeliads thrive, along with the Hispaniolan parakeet.
- Parque Nacional La Isabela: Located on the north coast, this park was established in the 1990s to protect the ruins of the second European settlement in the New World. An on-site museum, however, contains many objects that were used by the earliest European settlers.
- Parque Nacional Monte Cristi: This 530 square km park in the extreme northwest contains a subtropical dry forest, coastal lagoons and seven islets. It is home to many seabirds, including great egrets, brown pelicans and yellow-crowned night herons. American crocodiles also inhabit the park’s lagoons.
- Parque Nacional Submarino La Caleta: Only 22km from Santo Domingo, this 10 square- km national park is one of the country’s most visited. Containing several healthy coral reefs and two shipwrecks, it is one of the top diving spots in the country.
- Parque Nacional Sierra de Bahoruco: Located in the southwest, this 800 square km park stretches from desert lowlands to 2000m-high tracts of pine. Along with the broad range of plant life (orchids abound), it’s rich in birds, including the endemic white-necked crow and the Hispaniolan parrot.
During one of our road trips, you will pass along various National parks in the Dominican Republic where you can enjoy the wonderful nature of this fantastic island.