Crocodiles, iguanas, salt lakes, flamingo flocks and the Eagles Bay… We bet you have not imagined the Dominican Republic like this!
In this article, we will talk about hidden and wild regions of the Dominican Republic, rarely visited by tourists. If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of the touristic areas and intrusive souvenir vendors, and would like to see an absolutely different Dominican Republic, take a trip to the south west of the country.
The Province of Barahona is one of the westernmost regions of the country. It is located not far from the frontier with Haiti, and its coastline is bathed by the Caribbean Sea. Since commercial construction is prohibited here, there are so many nature reserves and national parks, where you can enjoy the pristine wild nature.
Picturesque landscapes of Barahona take your breath, while white-sand beaches invite you to bask in soft sand. The sea is transparent, without seaweeds or murky water. These places are ideal for snorkeling and diving. In the city of Barahona, there is a large port. Besides, this region boasts a developed mining and sugar production industry. To the south of the city, there are small villages interesting for their beaches with black sand: San Rafael, Paraíso and Los Patos.
The Province of Barahona features a very special microclimate: since it rarely rains, the nature amazes with its deserts, dunes and cactus groves. The fauna is represented by iguanas going around shrubs and a large variety of birds. Some of the most beautiful and graceful birds live at the salt lakes of the southwestern region: Enriquillo, Rincón and Laguna de Oviedo.
In the surroundings of Barahona, there is also another amazing place famous for its natural anomaly – a Magnetic Pole. The trick consists in that if a car is directed downhill in neutral gear, despite the laws of physics, the car will go uphill. People suggest that this anomaly is due to a magnetic field inside the Magnetic Pole, although skeptics say that it is just an optical illusion. Anyway, this place is worth visiting: locals believe in its magic power.
Salt Lake Enriquillo is a unique natural phenomenon and the highlight of the southwest of the country. Not only is it situated 40 meters below the sea level, but it is also the only place on the island where one can meet a real predator – the American crocodile.
In the center of the lake, there is an islet called Isla Cabritos known as a nature reserve. Apart from flamingos and herons, 134 species of birds inhabit this small island. Most of these species are endemic, which means that they do not inhabit any other part of the world.
Behind Barahona, there is picturesque Pedernales Peninsula, whose territory hosts Jaragua National Park. This nature reserve if the largest in the country and includes Oviedo Lagoon, Beata Island and the unique Eagles Bay (Bahía de las Aguilas).
For the most picturesque places, explore the surroundings of one more salt lake called Oviedo Lagoon (in Spanish “Laguna de Oviedo”). It is the habitat of the largest flock of flamingo, as well as of numerous herons, white and gray ibis, and a crowned pigeon – a species on the verge of extinction.
The flora of the nature reserve is represented by cacti, oaks, sea grapes and some healing herbs. On its territory, you can meet iguanas, bats and various bird species. Unique species of turtles and fish can also be found off the coast of the nearly situated Island of Beata. Some of the turtles are 2 meters in length! Besides, the smallest animal on the island also lives in this very park! In 1998, the smallest vertebrate in the world was discovered here – it is a lizard, whose adult species are only 28 millimeters in length.
Do not miss ancient caves located on the territory of the park. The most famous of them are Mongo, Poca and Guanal. Judging by discoveries, the ancients used to live there: it can be proven by cave paintings and petroglyphs.
Located away from touristic routes, the Eagles Bay has preserved its authentic pristine beauty and purity. To enjoy its picturesque views, you will have to go up a high cliff above the idyllic beach of the bay. This 8-kilometer beach is justly considered the most beautiful wild beach of the Dominican Republic. It is the right place to enjoy the unity with nature: you will probably be the only visitor of this place within a radius of several kilometers!
Please mind that the way to the bay is quite long. For example, it will take you about 8 hours to travel there from Punta Cana. However, you can be sure that the time is not spent in vain: you will remember this excursion for the rest of your life!