Dominican Republic Hiking

Senderismo in the Dominican Republic

Senderismo in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The Caribbean nation is also home to a wide diversity of terrain, wildlife and hiking trails that reveal the impressive natural wealth of a country that has it all.  The Dominican Republic is home to spectacular mountain ranges including the tallest mountain in the Caribbean: El Pico Duarte.

Pico Duarte

To reach Pico Duarte, most visitors depart from Jarabacoa and opt for the two-night trek through Armando Bermudez National Park directly to the summit. Travelers have the option to hire guides and mules. At the top of the hike is the statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, a political leader known as the founding father of Dominican independence.

 

Pico Duarte. Image source: Uncommon Caribbean.

 

Pico Duarte is the most famous mountain point in the Dominican Republic and the highest in the entire Caribbean. With a height of 3,087 meters, it is located between two national parks, the Armando Bermúdez National Park and the José del Carmen Ramírez National Park. It is an ideal destination for those who love mountains and hiking.

Climbing Pico Duarte means encountering ferns, parrots, goldfinches and other exotic birds. To get to the top hikers can take different routes, and all guarantee spectacular views of the Dominican mountain range and its lush tropical forests. The type of route depends mainly on the time available, and what the travelers wishes to see.

The routes include:

  • Province of La Vega-Jarabacoa-Manabao-La Ciénega-Pico Duarte: This route is the shortest with 23 kilometers of walking.
  • Province La Vega-Constanza-Los Rodríguez-Valle del Tetero-Pico Duarte: This route covers about 37 kilometers of walking.
  • Santiago-San José de Las Matas-Mata Grande-Pico Duarte Province: This one covers 44 kilometers of walking.
  • San Juan-Sabaneta-Pico Duarte Province. This is the longest route with about 58 kilometers of walking.

 

Senderismo in the DR. Image by godominicanrepublic.com.

 

Jarabacoa

One of the most important routes starts at Jarabacoa, and passes through places like Manabao, La Ciénaga, Los Tablones, La Cotorra, Agüita Fría and La Compartición. Those who are in Santo Domingo and want to climb Pico Duarte, can take this route, which is in the well-known province of La Vega.

The Pedregal

Another of the most important routes to climb Pico Duarte leaves from El Pedregal in the direction of Mata Pequena, Loma de la Plata, El Cultivo, Valle del Bao, La Pelona and El Vallecito de Lilís. It is ideal for those who begin the tour in Santiago de Caballeros.

Vallecito de Lilis

Another way to get there is to go towards Presa de Sabaneta to Alto de la Rosa, Agüita Fría, Macutico, La Pelona and El Vallecito de Lilís. This is considered a fast route to reach Pico Duarte.

Typically, to complete the entire route, 2 to 4 days are required, depending on the route chosen and the pace of travel. The Jarabacoa-Manabao La Ciénaga, Compartición, Valle de Lilís-Pico Duarte route takes about three days and is one of the most popular routes among tourists.

The duration time also varies according to the rhythm of the route.  Each path showcases the views of the tropical pine mountains and cloud forests with panoramic views of the island. To climb to Pico Duarte for the first time, it is necessary to have an official guide to avoid getting lost. Throughout the trek, official campsites are available to rest.

Via Constanza, located in a high valley in the heart of the Cordillera Central, is the starting point of the easternmost path, from there you walk parallel to the Río en Medio, which drains the Constanza valley, and then turn north, going up the Tetero Valley. Its duration is three days.

From Padre Las Casas, there is a road that after about 20 kilometers joins the one to Constanza. The travel time is three days. The walk from the southwest that begins at the Sabaneta dam, north of San Juan de la Maguana, passes through Alto de la Rosa and La Pelona. It takes about four days to complete.

Pico Duarte Weather

Pico Duarte is characterized by a rainy tropical climate. The months of December and April are considered an ideal period to climb since the rains are less frequent. In the highest parts of the peak, the temperatures can drop below 0 degrees Celsius, so it is advisable to wear appropriate clothing for the mountain temperatures.

Pico Duarte has become a favorite place for excursions to the top. Locals and international visitors now include hikes to their exploration of the Dominican Republic. The experience leads hikers across a diverse topography and the cold mountainous regions of the Dominican Alps.

Los Haitises National Park

The boat excursion from the shores of Samana to Los Haitises National Park is one of the best ways to explore the thick forests of Los Haitises. There, you will find several caves to walk through while enjoying the scenery of the gigantic bluffs that rise above the Atlantic. You can even walk deeper into the park from its northern entrance near Sabana de la Mar to meet birds and numerous species of trees, from cacao to coffee.

New Valley

Valle Nuevo National Park is considered one of the most beautiful national parks in the Dominican Republic. It has thousands of pine trees, around 400 freshwater sources, and low temperatures at night or below freezing in December. Valle Nuevo is not only a hiking paradise, but also a bird attraction point rich with giant ferns and bromeliads, home to more than 70 species of birds.

Mornings and evenings in the park can be cool, so you’ll need warm clothing to walk here.

Cotubanama National Park

This extensive park consists of several coastal islands: Catalina, Catalinita and Saona. It also includes land located at the entrance of Dominico and Bayahibe. The Padro Nuestro Trail will take you along a series of densely forested caves and trails.

Cave of the Virgin

Cueva de la Virgen sits within the Bahoruco Mountains in the remote southwest of the Dominican Republic. The trail and the hike begins at Bahoruco. Travelers can venture deep into the forest walking alongside the turquoise Bahoruco River. In the cave, visitors will have the opportunity to marvel at the waterfalls and enjoy the refreshing water.

To learn more and plan your trip, visit the Ministerio de Turismo of the Dominican Republic

 


Soledad Quartucci | Latina Republic

Dr. Soledad Quartucci is the founder and CEO of Latina Republic, a 501(C)3 California-based nonprofit organization. Latina Republic is committed to improving the diversity and professional development of storytellers in the media industry as representation matters and affects the stories we tell. Latina Republic makes space for and empowers unheard voices and trains the next generation of leaders in the U.S.