30 Dec Punta Cana for Nature Lovers
It’s easy to think of the Dominican Republic as a resort for sun and sand, but there are also hidden corners of luscious greens, extensive floral masses, forests and jungles where beaches just fade into the background. Let’s go on a tour of Punta Cana’s most beautiful natural jewels:
Visit to Samaná
This wonderful and relatively unknown peninsula is called by many the Pearl of the Caribbean. In Samaná you can have the best of both worlds: impressive natural vistas and coastlines surrounded by sunshine and magic. Visiting this paradise is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding excursions you can take during your holiday in Punta Cana. Samaná can be reached by different means, but the most exciting and the quickest is by small plane. In barely an hour you will have landed in this marvelous place.
What can you do and see in Samaná?
Whale-watching is one of the top activities. No less than 4000 humpback whales migrate to its coasts throughout the year to mate. The amazing sound of their great fins splashing the surface of the water and their elegant leaps in the air are a sight to be seen. Of course, enjoying the virgin beauty of its endless white-sand beaches lined by coconut palms is another option. And, did you know that Samaná is a UNESCO-designated member of the World’s Most Beautiful Bays Club, as well as a Paradise of Eco-Tourism?
Another activity you absolutely can’t miss is the excursion to Salto El Limón, a 40-meter waterfall that plunges into a natural pool of crystalline waters.
Los Haitises National Park
To the south of Samaná Bay we find the dense, wet coastal jungle that comprises a natural reserve filled with caves, Taína pictographs as well as unique flora and fauna. The name “Haitises” means highlands or mountainous lands and, at one time the term was used by the native Taíno inhabitants to designate the western part of the island. The name Haiti comes from Arahuaca, their indigenous language, meaning “land of mountains”.
One of the natural features that makes this place unique are its “mogotes” or hills that rise up to 40m in height and cover the totality of the park. These mogotes cause the area’s continuous rains. As the wind hits them, it is deflected up their slopes, producing the meteorological phenomenon of rain every day of the year.
Moreover, this nature reserve is home to endangered species of animals, such as the cute little solenodon, practically a living fossil, whose existence can be traced back approximately 60 million years. Keeping these facts in mind as we gaze at its unique anatomy, it is easy to feel teletransported back to the time of dinosaurs – and that is precisely why the most characteristic scenes from Jurassic Park were filmed here.
There are several tours available for those who wish to discover this part of the Dominican Republic. Guides will take you through mangroves and islets as you enjoy a relaxing and ecological excursion.
Hoyo Azul de Altagracia
Our excursion begins in Altagracia in Cap Cana, at one of Punta Cana’s ecoadventure parks. From here we set off on a two-hour route through the wilderness, where we can observe the flora and fauna of this marvelous ecosystem. After this enjoyable hike, we arrive at the cenote Hoyo Azul, a natural pool of beautiful blue crystalline waters located in a great cavern. After a long walk, it’s time to cool down and chill out with a swim in this natural paradise.