When you visit an all-inclusive resort, do you spend time away from the resort? If so, what types of experiences do you enjoy? When I venture off the resort, I frequently visit the UNESCO world heritage sites...
Like many, I’ve been adding national parks to my itinerary where possible. My job requires extensive research since Conversational Traveler also customizes vacations, which led me to some national parks in the Dominican Republic of which I was unaware.
When many people think of the Caribbean, they think of great resorts, Jamaica and Cuba. But what they don't realize is that the most popular destination in the Caribbean is the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic is on an island shared with Hispaniola and Haiti, and it sees over 6 million visitors a year. This results in 2 million more than Cuba. This Caribbean destination has more to offer visitors than your run-of-the-mill resort. The Dominican Republic has a lot more to offer than just resorts.
Here are some scenic locations and national parks to see on your trip to the D.R.:
1. Lake Enriquillo
Lake Enriquillo is the only saltwater lake throughout the Antilles. It is located in the center of the Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos and is a haven for wildlife. It is one of the largest natural reserves for the American crocodile.
2. Eastern National Park
This World Heritage Site is one of the largest marine parks in the Caribbean. Rhinoceros iguanas, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees are some of the amazing wildlife visitors will experience when they visit Eastern National Park.
3. Bahia de las Aguilas & Jaragua National Park
Jarabacoa is best known as an area ripe for ecotourism and the location of the Dominican Republic's only whitewater river, the Rio Yaque del Norte. The terrain, rivers, and waterfalls make it perfect for adventurous activities like hiking, climbing, and mountain biking.
5. Samana Peninsula & Bay
This peninsula and bay are lined with beautiful mangroves, caves, rock formations, and one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic. It is also home to the Parque Nacional Los Haitises. Marine life is present in this area year-round, including mother humpback whales giving birth in January and February.
Which of these locations or national parks is calling your name? For me, it is the Samana Peninsula and Bay. There are many small, unique elements that you can add to your vacation to take it from ordinary to extraordinary!
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