Dominican Republic: Diverse, Exotic, Beautiful

Of all countries in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has one of the most diverse ecosystems, probably more than any other country in the region. Although it’s well-known for its wonderful beaches and luxurious resorts, the nature-loving traveler will love the opportunity to venture out of the resort and into the wild, to see, to hear and to breathe the Dominican wilderness – there’s plenty to do.

One of the best ways to gain an in-depth experience of the country is to take one of the many different tours offered by Outback Adventures. They have numerous starting locations around the country, and you’re likely to be near one of those. The great thing about their tours is that you have the opportunity to experience the nature of the Dominican Republic, as well as witness the local culture in its pure and raw form, even part-taking in some day-to-day activities of the locals. Go on a safari tour, ride a 4×4, go mountain biking or hiking through the countryside, or even go fishing – the options with Outback Adventures are really diverse.

The country has a huge number of nature reserves and national parks. On the east side you will find Parque Nacional Del Este, the most popular part of which is the Saona Island. Since it is a part of the national nature reserve, only local residents have a right to live here, and even then in small numbers. The place looks like it’s been taken right out of a commercial – absolutely stunning white beaches and beautiful wildlife. A number of protected turtle species come to nest on this island every year. Here you can see more than 500 species of exotic plants and rare animals: iguanas, manatees, watch the dolphins, and if the season is right, then also whales.

Serious nature-lovers will greatly appreciate Lake Enriquillo – a hypersaline lake located in the west of the country, near the border with Haiti. This place is hauntingly magical in its scenery and has some of the best wildlife around. It has one of the biggest populations of American crocodiles, plus a number of threatened iguana species, flamingos and other exotic bird species. You can also visit the Isla Cabritos – a island in the middle of the lake – where it’s even easier to observe the undisturbed animals in their natural habitat.

The Dominican Republic is also known for its dense mangrove forests. One of the best places to visit these is the Los Haitises National Park. The tourist numbers allowed are limited, but it’s possible to go in there on an ecotour, or explore its islands and coves by boat, all the while watching the many seabird species hovering above.

The Dominican Republic is a haven for birders –all of the natural reserves house a huge number of bird species. Of course you’ll find most of them beyond the boundararies of the reserves. There are over 300 bird species on the island of Hispaniola, quite many of these are endemic, meaning this is the only place on Earth you’ll find them in the wild.

The above are just a few of the things that the Dominican Republic offers. What’s really great is that you can combine wonderful nature viewing experiences with adrenaline-filled adventures such as forest canopy zip-lining or plunging down the Damajagua waterfalls and top it off with a luxurious beach vacation in an all-inclusive resort – all of that in a small friendly island country where getting around and switching from one activity to another is quick and easy.

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