On World Wetlands Day, celebrated this Wednesday, February 2, Dominican travelers have some 4,196 kilometers of these ecosystems (between natural and surface) to appreciate the biodiversity they harbor and the landscapes they offer to the eye.
According to the UN, although wetlands cover only 6% of the earth’s surface, “they are the habitat of 40% of all plant and animal species”.
For this reason, in recent years, in addition to their ecological and economic contributions, they have been promoted for their value as natural solutions to climate change.
The main Dominican natural wetlands are part of protected areas. The latest to be incorporated (decree 29-22) is the Laguna Prieta Wetlands Wildlife Refuge, southeast of the city of Santiago, with an area of 143,795.68 square meters.
To celebrate the date, let’s take a boat trip through seven of these green spaces distributed throughout the national geography.
Before joining the Jibales River and flowing into San Lorenzo Bay, north of Hato Mayor, the Caño Hondo River offers one of the most spectacular walks among mangrove forests in the Dominican Republic.
The Oviedo saltwater lagoon, southeast of Pedernales province, is perfect for bird watching. Some 150 species have been reported in its 28 square kilometers of palms, mangroves, dunes and beaches. Being part of the Jaragua National Park, the most recommended spots are in the northern part of the lagoon, in the area of Caño Escobín and Los Pichiriles.
For specialized bird, turtle and iguana watching excursions and trail tours, seek the assistance of the Oviedo Lagoon Guides Association.
The closest trip is a tour of the 1.5 navigable kilometers of this lagoon located north of La Victoria (Santo Domingo North).
(Santo Domingo North). Visiting it is the best way to demand its restoration to recover its green splendor.
In front of Boba beach (north of Nagua, María Trinidad Sánchez province), the boat trip through the wildlife refuge La Gran Laguna or Perucho is short, but enough to appreciate the green and good health of its young mangrove forests.
Gri-gríes and mangroves come together in the lagoon where the boat tour that connects the wetlands channel with the Atlantic Ocean begins, an ecotourism attraction in the municipality of Río San Juan, in the province of María Trinidad Sánchez.
In Montecristi, the non-profit organization Agro Frontera (in an initiative sponsored by the international organization Seacology) runs a bird watching and kayaking project in the mangroves of the Estero Balsa and El Morro national parks and on the coast of Buen Hombre.
Ask for the boat tour, not only to get to Cabritos Island, but to tour the shores of this wetland of international importance. The landscapes seem to be from another world.