If trekking and hiking is your passion, you might not automatically consider
vacationing in the Dominican Republic, a tourist destination best known for its
tropical weather and white sand beaches. However, here’s a well-kept secret for
you: there is much more in the Dominican Republic than just beaches. The DR is
the second largest country in the Caribbean (after Cuba) and contains much more
in the way of geographic, climatic and topographical diversity than you would
In the varied terrain that makes up the Dominican Republic you can leave
civilization behind completely and take ecological hikes and treks across and up
mountain peaks, through humid tropical forest, along cascading rivers and
waterfalls, along deserted beaches, to explore primeval caves.
There are several major mountain ranges crisscrossing the island, providing
fertile ground for lovers of high altitude outdoor adventure. At these heights,
the tropical temperatures of the lowland coastal areas fade into distant memory.
The air in the sierras and cordilleras of the Dominican Republic is clear and
fresh. Visibility is excellent, the views stunning – ideal for hiking and
These mountains include the Cordillera Central, where you will find the highest
peak in the Caribbean, the spectacular Pico Duarte. The Cordillera Septentrional
runs along the north of the island, and the south is dominated by a set of
ranges, among them the Sierra de Bahoruco, Sierra de Neyba and Sierra de Ocoa.
The stark and dramatic semi-arid landscape of the southwest and the northwest of
the country, with its cacti and dry expanses is not what most people associate
with the typical Caribbean island, but they possess their own singular beauty.
In recognition of the country’s natural treasures, the Dominican Republic has
long history of protecting the environment though an impressive network of
well-managed National Parks. However, not all these parks are suited or equipped
for hiking and trekking.
There are parks where you can either trek for the sake of trekking or combine it
with another attraction like visiting caves, waterfalls and other natural
There are parks like Parque Nacional del Este, Parque Nacional Cuevas del Borbon
and El Pomier where you need to make a couple of short hikes to reach the caves.
See the section on caving for more details of these and similar excursions.
In Parque Nacional Monte Cristi the area around the distinctive El Morro
seafront rock formation can be explored on foot.
On the north coast, you can hike up Mount Isabel de Torres, which overlooks
Puerto Plata, and visit the botanical gardens at the top. For the return trip
you have the option of walking down or taking the cable car.