ReefFix: An ICZM Coral Reef Restoration, Watershed Management and Capacity Building Demonstration Project for the Caribbean


Eastern National Park, Dominican Republic

Organization of American States

Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN)


Eastern National Park, Dominican Republic. February 10-12, 2009


Declared a national park in 1975, Parque Nacional del Este (National Park of the East, tel. 809/833-0022, office hours 8:30 a.m.1 p.m. daily) is in the southeastern end of the country in the province of Altagracia between the towns of Bayahibe and Boca de Yuma. Its surface area includes the entire peninsula south of those two towns and is 808 square kilometers, of which 420 are land (including the islands of Catalina, Saona, and Catalinita), while 388 square kilometers are oceanic.

The peninsula is a combination of subtropical humid forest and dry forest with an average rainfall of about 120 centimeters a year. This region is notoriously hot. But if you can stand the heat and are interested in bird-watching, this park is a good location to spot 114 types of birds, including rare ones such as the white-crowned pigeon (columba leucocephala), the Hispaniolan parrot (amazona ventralis), the brown pelican (pelecanus occidentalis), the red-footed boobie (sula sula), the magnificent frigatebird (fregata magnificens), the barn owl (tyto alba), and the herring gull (larus argentatus).

Topographically, the changing sea levels over the last million years created the peninsula out of limestone, resulting in a series of terraces and cliffs along the shoreline. Throughout the peninsula, traces of pre-Columbian Tano life abound in subterranean tunnels and caves where many pictographs have been found. Although there are over 400 caves in the park, only Cueva del Puenta can be visited by foot. It holds a small example of Tano drawings depicting their culture along with many stalactites and stalagmites. To access this cave, first go to the ranger post at Guaraguao (about five kilometers past Dominicus Americanus). For the US$3.50 entrance fee, you will get a guide who will walk with you a little over half an hour to the site.

The parks coastline offers a variety of coral formations and is excellent for diving, especially along the western side. The eastern side of the peninsula has more limestone cliffs that drop off dramatically into the ocean. The southern tip has mangroves and saltwater lagoons and is a good spot to find birdlife. Many animals whose existence is threatened live in this protected area. Manatees (trichechus manatus), the bottle-nosed dolphin (turisops truncates), and various sea turtles swim the waters. The rat-like solenodon (solenodon paradoxus), the hutia (plagiodontia aedium), and the rhinoceros iguana (cyclura cornuta) are found on land.

Because the National Park of the East is between the busy tourist destinations of Bayahibe and Punta Cana/Bvaro, it is becoming more popular for excursions. In June of 2005, the La Romana and Bayahibe Hotel Association along with the Ministry of Environment announced they would be working together to open an ecotourism center located in the Valley of La Sabila, near Bayahibe. This visitors center will be created along with ecological trails allowing access to view the various endemic species of animals and birds that live in the park. This center will also offer opportunities to view pre-Columbian cave art as well as snorkeling and swimming in selected caves.

For now, though, one of the most popular ways to gain access to the park is to hire a boat guide in the Bayahibe harbor. Your guide will take you along the shore, and from there you can hike into the park. If youre coming via car, there are entrances in both Bayahibe on the western edge and Boca de Yuma on the eastern side.


Dominican Republic Workshop - Presentations


Eastern National Park, Dominican Republic.

February 10-12, 2009


Hbitats Costeros Marinos en el Parque Nacional del Este- Francisco X. Geraldes

Eco efectividad y valoracin de recursos marinos OAS - Richard Huber

Parque Nacional del Este - Ekers Raposo

Subsecretaria de Recursos Costeros y Marinos  -    Nina Lysenko


Codopesca en la Gestin de los Recursos Costeros y Marinos - Marcia Beltrn

Belt Parque Nacional del Este - Mariam Matias

Line Valores de Servicios del Ecosistemas Costeros y Marinos en el Parque Nacional Del Este - Enrique Pugibet

Valoracin De Los Ecosistemas Costeros Marinos De La Republica Dominicana - Francisco X. Geraldes

Sistema de Evaluacin y Monitoreo de los Recursos Costeros y Marinos en Republica Dominicana

- Nina Lysenko




This page was last updated on Wednesday May 06, 2009.