Nature lovers this is definitely the tour for you! Located on the remote northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, Los Haitises National Park was established in 1976 and consists of a limestone karst plateau with conical hills, sinkholes and caverns, with a large area of mangrove forest on the coast. The park contains a number of different habitats and consequently has a great diversity of mammals and birds, including some rare species. Once was also home of pirate hideouts! Some of the caverns contain taino pictographs and petroglyphs. The park has become today a popular ecotourism destination and now we’ll tell you what to expect if you wanna try this tour leaving from Punta Cana. Ready?
After picking up the customers from the different hotels in Punta Cana, we’re gonna make our way to the small village of Las Canitas, in the area of Sabana de la Mar. Thanks to the new Miches highway, the driving time will be around 1.5 hours and on the way you will have the chance to enjoy beautiful views of the Dominican countryside. Rice, coffee, cocoa and tropical fruit plantations will catch your attention while your guide will provide a lot of interesting information regarding the Dominican culture and traditions.
Once reached the destination of Las Canitas there will be an intermediate stop of 15-20 minutes to use the toilets, smoke or just relax a second. The staff will also offer you some fresh tropical fruit and juice in case you had no chance to have breakfast at your hotel. It’s now time to continue our trip towards north, direction Los Haitises. We’ll pass through the town of Sabana de la Mar and after around 1 hour we’ll finally reach the remote National Park of Los Haitises (bear in mind after passing the town of Sabana de la Mar we’ll continue on a dirt road to reach the park). It’s finally time to experience the ecological wonders of Los Haitises!
Reach the dock of “Cano Hondo”, hop aboard a riverboat and ride through the winding canals of the park’s majestic mangrove forests, an ideal home for hundreds of species of birds, fish, reptiles and crustaceans. The ecological park of Los Haitises Ecological Reserve contains a large amount of underground water corps – 100 to 150 rivers that cross each other forming a mixture of fresh and salty water where crabs, oysters, crabs, river shrimp, and even the manatee call home. Leaving the mangrove forests, the scenery opens up into the San Lorenzo Bay with photo-inspiring views of the park’s lush outcroppings and the mountains of Samana in the distance. See “Cayo de los Pájaros” (Bird Key), inhabited by brown pelicans and frigate birds. Among the flora, spot the tropical almond; the wild banyan tree, also known as the shortleaf fig; and the cupey, a dominant tree species with horizontal branches full of birds. During all this time your guide will point out the abundant bird life and flora providing you many interesting info about.
After around 45 minutes we’ll get back to the land. It’s now cave exploration time! You’ll visit a cave called “Cueva de la Linea”, located deeper in the forest and filled with Taino pictographs and petroglyphs that will give you a better sense of how these indigenous people lived before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The visit lasts around 20-25 minutes and after it we will return on our boat to make our way back to the starting point of “Cano Hondo”.
It’s almost time to eat. From the park we’ll move to the region of Hato Mayor, to reach a beautiful place immersed in the Dominican nature. The transfer it’s around one hour and the bus will pass again in dirt roads but once arrived at your destination you’ll understand why was worth it to visit. Lunch will be served at Yanigua Spa, a small ranch deep in the region’s countryside with lush vegetation and even an amazing waterfall! Enjoy a typical Dominican lunch of chicken, rice, beans, pasta, vegetables, salad, fruit and a delicious fried fish typically eaten in the local area called “Minuta”. Drinks include beer, soft drinks, water and at the end of the lunch coffee and the typical Mamajuana.
The afternoon will be dedicated to relax. After lunch we’ll reach the river with the opportunity to swim in the refreshing waters, jump from the gorgeous waterfall, or apply the riverbed’s curative muds to your skin. Fancy a spa treatment for free? Yes the river Yanigua has plenty of sedimentary rocks including mudstones and claystones, which have countless properties and benefits. After your swim in the cool waters, have some hot chocolate or coffee made at the ranch itself and if you up you can also apply for a short horseback ride around the ranch, before heading back to Punta Cana.
For a genuine contact with the Dominican Republic’s history, culture and natural beauty, join us on this unique adventure to Los Haitises National Park. This eco-tour is the most exciting encounter that the Dominican Republic’s nature and indigenous culture has to offer. Bring your sightseeing spirit and get ready to enjoy this unforgettable journey.