Major walking and climbing|
The really serious trekking and hiking takes place in Parque Nacional Armando
Bermudez and Jose del Carmen Ramirez, where Pico Duarte is located. These two
parks cover almost the entire expanse of the Cordillera Central. The climb up
Pico Duarte is a three-day trek, best taken with guides and porters along
clearly signposted trails with well-equipped rest stops. The trek starts in
lush, humid rainforest, and ascends to the clear air of alpine landscape, where
even during the daytime temperatures remain low. At night, especially in the
winter, it can reach freezing point. The Pico Duarte peak visit times are for
the New Year long weekend and the Virgen de la Altagracia Day holiday (21
January) and the nation founding father Duarte holiday (26 January). Unless you
like crowds, you may want to avoid those times that are chosen because of the
chilly weather and the less likelihood of rain.
The Jaragua National Park and surrounding areas in the southwest is of
particular interest for bird watchers. You can visit cloud forests, dry forests,
arid lowlands and the fascinating Lake Enriquillo, 44m below sea level and home
to iguanas and crocodiles.The wetlands near Cabo Rojo are a birdwatcher’s
heaven. Guided tours, combining road and foot trails, are available from the
capital from Tody Tours and other specialist operators.
As well as the three-day adventure that climbing to Pico Duarte entails, there
are shorter and medium length trips to choose from. Rancho Wendy, near the
central city of Bonao, offers a wide choice of treks and hikes in the mountains
of the Central Cordillera, including Pico Duarte. These adventures take you to
rivers, waterfalls, lakes and caves in the scenic central sierras.
The north coast, where many tourists are based, is the ideal starting point for
hikes and treks in the area. Specialist travel company Iguana Mama has a series
of options for the area and beyond. Iguana Mama organizes tours to El Choco
National Park, a 77km2 expanse of forest lagoons, caves, rich in tropical flora.
Another option is the Damajagua Falls excursion which combines trekking,
canyoning and cascading. Iguana Mama also offer a Pico Duarte trip.
If you are in the Samana peninsula, there are some short hikes like the one to
Salto El Limon with the reward of a refreshing swim in the freshwater pool
created by the waterfall when you reach the end. There are also several treks
along the wilder parts of the coastline ending at isolated beaches, like Playa
Fronton, which is reached from the town of Las Galeras on the NE corner of the
Whether you want a burst of activity in the middle of your beach vacation, or an
intensive trekking vacation in itself, the Dominican Republic has a good range
of options to choose from.