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Hiking and trekking in the Dominican Republic
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 ever imagine.

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 trekking.

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 wonders.

Short treks
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.
 
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