Los Haitises, meaning “highlands or mountain land” is an immense relief in a set of hills and hillocks which are laden with tropical vegetation. It covers an area of 1.700 km2. Bigger than many Caribbean islands.
The Los Haitises National Park Preserve is an amazing, untouched, lush rainforest expanse. It is a genuine trek into the Dominican wilderness. Haitises meaning “highlands” or “mountain range” in the original Taino language. Tainos are the Dominican Republic’s original Indian inhabitants.
It is an immense relief in a set of hills and hillocks which are laden with tropical vegetation. It covers an area of 1.700 km2. Bigger than many Caribbean islands.
This Dominican oasis is home to huge and untouched mangrove forests, Taino caves with drawings, raw secluded beaches, mysterious pirate hideouts and a grand diversity of endemic flora and fauna.
When you are in Samana or Punta Cana, you should explore the Haitises National Park. It will be an unforgettable experience. Haitises is a paradisiac place that takes us back to the time of the dinosaurs and the T-rex.
Most guided tours to Haitises start, by boat, at St Barbara de Samana or Sabana de la Mar. On board, one will navigate the outskirts of the Los Haitises National Park and maneuver through the winding canals of the park’s majestic mangrove forests. These mogotes with mangroves act as an ideal home for hundreds of species of birds, fish, reptiles, and crustaceans.
Leaving the mogotes and mangrove forests, the surrealistic scenery opens up into the San Lorenzo Bay with some breathtaking views of the park’s lush outcroppings and the Samana mountains far in the distance. When lucky, you may even encounter some dolphins over here. Beyond, you’ll arrive at a shaded dock and disembark.
A short walk into the jungle like interior will bring you to yet another unique feature of Los Haitises: the caves. What makes these caves unique are not only their size, as they really are huge, but also their historical use.
Before you do step foot into their depths, these caves had been home to slaves, pirates, and before them all, the native Taíno Indian people. Nowadays, travelers can explore restored and even some original petroglyphs left by these seafaring indigenous people.
Manatee, snakes, gods, shaman, and all kind of sea creatures adorn nooks and crannies throughout the caverns. They provide a real glimpse into the concerns of people ultimately doomed by the incredibly unusual arrival of Columbus and the Spaniards in 1493.
Most tours to Los Haitises we will head east to the island of Cayo Levantado afterward for a lunch. The excursions will be accompanied by experienced guides, fluent in multiple languages, who will help to make your adventure an unforgettable one.
What do you need to bring with you?
Comfortable clothing, some good walking/hiking shoes to explore the caves, bathing suit, sun block, camera, and a willingness to enjoy the beauty that awaits you.