The International Day of Natural Parks is celebrated every August 24 to educate the world’s population about the importance of conservation and protection of existing species.
The category of “national park” implies minimal alteration of the territories and little human presence.
This makes it possible to preserve the ecological, cultural and aesthetic features of these areas.
National parks are characterized by their diversity of flora and fauna species; they have geological features and habitats of importance for science, education, and recreation.
They differ from other protected area management categories because they exceed 10,000 ha of territory and because research and environmental monitoring activities are prioritized within this perimeter. Nature tourism is also feasible in the interior.
Besides being an island surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches, the natural reserves of the Dominican Republic have become a magnet for ecotourism and lovers of outdoor activities. From rappelling down a crystalline waterfall to exploring ancient caves, the options for enjoying nature in the country are many.
Get your backpack ready, because we have prepared a list of six places to visit in the Dominican Republic that you might like if you enjoy these experiences.
6 Natural parks in Dominican Republic
Los Tres Ojos National Park, Las Dunas de Baní, Santo Domingo Botanical Garden, Cuevas del Pomier, Pico Diego de Ocampo and El salto de Baiguate.
Each of these parks and nature reserves is located just a few kilometers from the island’s two main cities. If you are in any of them, it is not necessary to go far to enjoy a different and exciting day with your family or friends.
1. Los Tres Ojos National Park
Los Tres Ojos National Park, named for the three subway lakes found in its caverns, is one of the most visited spots in greater Santo Domingo. Stalactites, lush vegetation and fauna make the place an exotic walk and at the same time a place to learn.
Caverns of Los Tres Ojos National Park
To get to know all the subway space, you have to go down several steps. In the place you have the option of taking a guided tour, where they explain how this ecosystem works, while sharing curious facts and tips about the place. This is one of the national parks of the Dominican Republic that is recommended to visit with the family.
2. The Dunes of Baní
The scientific reserve Félix Servio Ducoudray Natural Monument, better known as the Dunes of Baní, is located on the peninsula of Las Calderas. This field occupies a large area, its sands are fine and its color is due to a high content of quartz. The conjunction of the dunes and the sea offers a spectacular view, especially on sunny days.
In this natural reserve of the Dominican Republic, you can ask for the guide of a park ranger at the entrance, or take a tour on your own. To walk through these sand mountains, it is recommended to wear waterproof footwear and to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This is due to the high temperature that the sand can reach during the day.
3. Santo Domingo Botanical Garden
Designed to study, conserve and manage the diverse and rich flora of the island, the Doctor Rafael María Moscoso National Botanical Garden is one of the largest in the Caribbean. With an extraordinary variety of plants, an extensive catalog of flowers, a herbarium and even a butterfly garden, this is one of those places to visit in the Dominican Republic that you should not miss.
It takes an intense tour or several visits to get to know everything this botanical garden has to offer. However, if you have little time you can plan those things you would most like to see. A very interesting stop for plant lovers are the living collection pavilions, one of the most popular being the orchid pavilion, where you can see several species of this flower.
4. Pomier Caves
Located a few kilometers from Santo Domingo, this natural reserve of the Dominican Republic is made up of 55 caves, which are visited by thousands of tourists every year. For your visit, it is advisable to wear comfortable clothes, sports shoes, some lighting equipment and a lot of adventurous spirit.
The anthropological reserve Cuevas del Pomier is considered one of the most important prehistoric legacies of the Antilles. There you can find more than 6,000 prehistoric paintings and about 500 cave engravings. It should be noted that only some caves are open to the general public, while others are reserved for specialists who are dedicated to studying them.
5. Diego de Ocampo Peak
The Pico Diego de Ocampo is one of the emblematic places of Santiago de los Caballeros, this is the highest point of the northern mountain range and its height makes it a privileged viewpoint. This is an ideal place for hiking where many come to admire the endemic species of trees and birds, in addition to enjoying the cool mountain climate.
In addition, in this place you can go horseback riding, enjoy a picnic, or simply lie down to enjoy the scenery.
6. The Baiguate waterfall
Located a few kilometers from Jarabacoa, the Baiguate waterfall is a 25-meter waterfall, hidden under a canyon, which falls forming a natural pool of emerald-colored water. This place is frequently visited by locals and tourists, who sometimes reach this natural reserve on horseback, enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way.
If you prefer adventure and are feeling brave, you can visit this place by signing up for a canyoning excursion, which ends with a rappel down the Baiguate waterfall. These tours also combine other activities such as hiking and swimming.
In the natural reserves and national parks of the Dominican Republic, you can organize a walk with your group of friends or family. The panoramas in these sites are varied, from a relaxing day, to activities for adventurers or history lovers.
The 10 Most Important Natural Parks in the World
1- BANFF NATURAL PARK (CANADA)
Located in the Rocky Mountains, this park is the oldest in Canada and one of the most important in the world. With more than 6,641 square kilometers, it is home to numerous glaciers, ice fields, coniferous forests and thermal caves. Undoubtedly, the most spectacular area is Lake Moraine with its turquoise blue color in which the huge stone mountains are reflected.
2- Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia)
It is one of the most important Natural Parks in the world as well as one of the best known in Europe and the most important to see in Croatia. It consists of 30,000 hectares in which we find 16 turquoise lakes among pines, firs and beeches, connected by a hundred spectacular waterfalls and beautiful springs. The park can be visited on foot, through trails and wooden bridges or by boat. It was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.
3- Los Glaciares National Park (Argentina)
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981, this is one of the best natural parks in the world. It is home to frozen lakes, majestic glaciers and great Andean mountains. The Perito Moreno is the most famous of the 47 large glaciers in this spectacular Argentinean park. The spectacle of detachment of pieces of the glacier is one of the most incredible in the world.
4- Yellowstone National Park (USA)
Yellowstone National Park was founded in 1872, making it the oldest national park in the world. With almost 9,000 square kilometers, it stretches across the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
This impressive place is home to a great fauna and is also the park with the most impressive collection of geysers and hot springs in the world; the best known being Morning Glory Pond, a pool of geothermal water that forms incredible colors. For all these reasons it is worthy of occupying the first positions in all the lists of the most important natural parks in the world.
5- Serengeti National Park (Tanzania)
The Serengeti, which according to the Huffington Post, in the native language of the region, means “endless plain”, is one of the most immense parks on the African continent; the oldest National Park in Tanzania and one of the most important natural parks in the world. In its 13,000 square kilometers the five great African mammals roam freely: elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceroses and buffaloes.
6- Timanfaya National Park (Spain)
This impressive Natural Park of volcanic origin is located on the island of Lanzarote (Spain). It was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1993 and has more than 25 volcanoes, including the Fire Mountains. If you have ever dreamed of visiting the planet Mars you cannot miss this spectacular park as it is the closest thing to the red planet here on Earth.