Los Haitises National Park is a genuine trek into the Dominican wilderness. Haitises means “highlands” or “mountain range” in the Taino Indian language (the Dominican Republic’s original inhabitants) and at 1,600 square kilometers, only a portion of the park is open to the public. This Caribbean oasis is home to untouched mangrove forests, Taino cave drawings, secluded beaches, pirate hideouts and a grand diversity of endemic flora and fauna.
From Punta Cana we head west towards Higuey, the largest city in the Dominican Republic’s eastern region. After a quick stop, we’ll wind our way northwest to the small cities of El Seibo and Hato Mayor, passing typical country towns and small Dominican communities. We then change elevations, crossing the Oriental Mountain Range which offers spectacular views of the Dominican countryside. Your licensed guide will bring the world outside the bus to life, teaching you about everyday Dominican customs and spotting some of the country’s most recognized natural produce like cacao, banana, pineapple, mango, papaya, coffee and the all-important sugar cane, which although used for sugar, is more famously used to produce rum.
Arriving at our destination, the coastal town of Sabana de la Mar, we’ll board a catamaran on the outskirts of Los Haitises National Park and maneuver through the winding canals of the park’s majestic mangrove forests which act as an ideal home for hundreds of species of birds, fish, reptiles and crustaceans. 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. If we’re lucky, we may even have some company in the bay’s deep waters as dolphin sightings are not uncommon.
During our tour of Los Haitises, we’ll visit two caves once used by Taino Indians for more than a millennium. The first, Cueva de la Arena, is located on a secluded beach. The cave’s several waterfront caverns hold Taino sculptures in the rock and bats in their natural habitat. The second, Cueva de la Linea, is located deeper in the forest and is filled with Taino pictoglyphs, giving us a better sense of how these indigenous people lived before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
From the park, it’s time to eat. Lunch will be served at Yanigua Spa, a small ranch deep in the region’s countryside with lush vegetation and even an amazing waterfall! You’ll be treated to a typical Dominican lunch of chicken, rice, beans, vegetables, salad, fruit and a delicious fish typically eaten in the local area called Minuta. After lunch, to the river we go where you can swim in the refreshing waters, jump from the waterfall, or apply the riverbed’s curative muds to your skin. After your swim in the cool waters, have some hot chocolate or coffee made at the ranch itself.
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.
not recommend for pregnant women