Parque Nacional Jaragua
Parque Nacional Jaragua is part of the Tentative list of Dominican Republic in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Jaragua National Park is a marine-terrestrial protected area with both natural and cultural features. It contains rock art of pre-Hispanic Antillean cultures. Also there are beaches, lagoons and coral reefs frequented by dolphins and manatees. It also contains the only tropical dry forest in the Antilles.
Map of Parque Nacional JaraguaLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Probably the best natural site in DR (although PN del Este/Isla Saona comes close the tourist crowds made it drop to second) and quite a stretch off any big city if coming from the east and even from big hotels. There are Eco lodges just outside the park but I knew arrival would be late so I picked the last hotel on the main road, got an early start and did both areas in one day.
The first one, Laguna de Oviedo, is close from Barahona and you could be satisfied with just coming here. It saves a ton of time driving towards Haiti, avoids the rough roads towards the end plus is cheaper and more rewarding for fauna. You can technically just stay at the shore and view the flamingos but there are dozens of boat trips on offer that take you around the lake to see more birds. Binoculars recommended. I spent a couple of hours here and for birdwatching this is the place to be on DR.
Driving all the way around to the west of Jaragua you reach a dirt road leading to the park entrance. Entrance is cheap but you must have a 4WD to be allowed inside. So you get the choice of a taxi to take you down the bumpy road (I didn't ask the price) or a $40 boat ride to Bahiá de la Águilas. If you share the ride it comes down to $10 per person but then you need to sync on a return time with the others. There were plenty of tourists around to share though. The beaches here are super pretty and the water is so clean. The question is if paying so much for coming here is worth the "exclusive" beach that has many tourists coming after all - not as bad as Isla Saona but not quite what you may think it should be like so far off civilization.
Overall definitely worth the effort. There is supposed to be Taino cave art inside the park too but I haven't seen it advertised as a tourist attraction anywhere along the road. The thousands of butterflies as you drive alongside makes for quite a bonus sight too.
Successor to former TWHS Jaragua National Park (2001-2018)
2018 Added to Tentative List
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