The visit to Los Haitises National Park is fascinating. It is an unforgettable tour where we will contemplate like few in the world. It is a paradisiac place that takes us to the time of the dinosaurs, by the way, in Haitises were filmed important scenes of the film Jurassic Park.
Haitises is one of the main ecological attractions of the Dominican Republic. Haitises constitute a karst or relief in rocks, limestone tropical in mogotes, characteristic of these climatic zones of the earth. In its external morphology it presents hills, corridors and valleys, and in its internal morphology cavities, some of great dimensions as those of coast. It is a dense coastal wet forest in the southern part of the Bay of Samana, is an immense reserve full of caves, Taino pictographs, humid forests, and hundreds of species of birds, many of them endemic. The characteristic that distinguishes this mystical place of the other parks of the island are their mogotes or “lomitas”, that reach to reach the 40 meters of height, and cover the complete surface of the park. This phenomenon occurs because of the karstic geography of the region, and the trade winds that, when hitting the mogotes rise and produce rains almost every day of the year.
Los Haitises National Park is one of the crown jewels of the national parks system of the Dominican Republic. Haitises means “mountainous land” in Taino, and the Park feeds one of the few remaining tropical forests of the island. The park, which also has extensive mangroves, covers an area of 1,600 km/sq. A natural wonder replete with many keys and caves, the jungle there was used as a place for the movie Jurassic Park. It is easy to locate the endangered Ridgway Hawk, the Piculet Hispaniolan, the Hispaniolan Woodpecker, the Spanish Emerald, pelicans, frigate birds, herons and many other majestic birds in flight. Haitises National Park was created in the Dominican Republic through Law 409 of June 3, 1976, although already in 1968 Law 244 had created a Forest Reserve called Los Vientos de Haitises. Its limit and, therefore, its surface, has been modified several times and at the moment is indefinite. It is located, in great proportion, in the province of Samana (including part of the Bay of Samana) and is completed in the provinces of Monte Plata and Hato Mayor. Haitises means highland or land of mountains, although the set of hills or “mogotes” have heights that oscillate between 30 and 40 meters.
From the hydrographic point of view, Haitises and its areas of influence comprise two regions: the lower basin of the river Yuna and the area of Miches and Sabana de la Mar. The Yuna flows through two mouths: that of Yuna itself and that of the river Barracote. In addition, the area includes the rivers Payabo, Los Cocos and Naranjo, and Cabirma, Estero, Prieto and others.
An important aspect is the geomorphological karstic formation that determines, among other things, a system of caves with samples of pictographs and petroglyphs such as the caves of La Reyna, San Gabriel and La Linea.
The karst zone of Haitises is composed of hills (mogotes) next to each other with vallecitos (bottoms) between them. The mogotes of the interior and the keys of the Bay of Samana have the same origin, differing only in that the bottoms between the keys are occupied by the water of the sea and that are less elevated than the mogotes. The karst formation of Haitises has an extension of 82 km, from Sabana de la Mar to Cevicos, for 26 km, south of the Bay of Samana to Bayaguana. Other similar karst areas are located north of the Bay of Samana and another south of Sosua and Cabarete.
The flora of Haitises is characteristic of its two life zones: subtropical humid forest (Bh-S) and subtropical humid forest (Bmh-S). It preserves woody remnants representative of broad-leaved species, such as cabirma santa (Guarea trichiliodes), cedar (Cedrela odorata), ceiba (Ceiba pentandra), mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni), copey (Clusia rosea) and hojancha (Coccoloba pubescens). In addition, numerous species of orchids abound. The current vegetation of Haitises is for the most part forested. The land and the soil have allowed the development of some variants of the forest. The forests are distinguished among the mogotes, on a mineral soil with organic material, and the forests above the mogotes, on the rock and almost without mineral soil.
This park contains the largest sample of the Caribbean mangrove, in which species such as red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) and white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) predominate.
The fauna of Haitises is of a great variety and the one of greater national representativeness of all the protected natural areas in Dominican Republic, due to the diversity of its environments. The mammals are present in different species of bats as also in the jutia (Plagiodontia aedium) and the solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus); Both species are endemic and threatened with extinction. As a coastal-marine park, it contains a unique bird fauna, with a majority representation of endemic, native and migratory species that can not be found in the rest of the country. Some of these species are the pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), the snake (Fregata magnificens), the parrot (Amazona ventralis), the owl (Tyto alba) and the owl (Asio stygius).
Los Haitises National Park contains very impressive landscape elements such as San Lorenzo Bay, the different cays and mangrove populations. Between La Boca del Infierno and El Naranjo Arriba, the Cayo de los Pajaros is located. This is easily recognized by the presence, overflying it at low altitude, almost permanent of the tijeretas and the pelicanos. The tallest trees grow in the center of the cayo, which is the highest part. Copey is dominant and its horizontal branches are used by birds to perch. The fig tree (Ficus aff. Laevigata) and the almond tree (Terminalia catappa) compose the other part of the trees. To visit the park, the most used places are Samana and Sabana de la Mar.
EXCURSION LOS HAITES NATIONAL PARK FROM LAS TERRENAS:
You will discover pictographs and petroglyphs in the caves and you will see the abundance of birds such as frigate birds, royal tern and brown pelican. Continue to the little corner of paradise worthy of a postcard from Cayo Levantado, also known as Bacardi Island. Head to a private area of the beach, where a buffet lunch awaits you. After lunch, enjoy your free time to swim in the turquoise waters.
Possibility of making only the Park de los Haitises.
INCLUDE: Return transportation, boat ride, guide, lunch.
PRICE: US $80, group form 4 people – US $70
(Excursions on Monday and Friday.)
What to bring: Camera, swimsuit, mask and snorkel, beach towel.