Parque Nacional Cotubanamá

Punta Cana & the Southeast

Much more than simply Isla Saona, which is all that most people see on a group tour, the Parque Nacional Cotubanamá (formerly known as Parque Nacional del Este) also includes eight emerged reef terraces, 400 or so caverns, some with pictographs and ceramic remains, and Islas Catalinita and Catalina. Designated a national park in 1975, it stretches over 310 sq km of territory, the majority of which is semihumid forest.

The park is also home to 539 species of flora, 55 of which are endemic. There is also a good variety of fauna: 112 species of birds, 250 types of insects and arachnids, and 120 species of fish. There are occasional sightings of West Indian manatees and bottlenose dolphins, and the much rarer Haitian solenodon, a small bony animal with a long snout and tiny eyes.

There’s a park office off the parking lot in Bayahibe, where you must pay your entrance free and obtain a mandatory wristband. One entrance is at Guaraguao, a ranger post 5km past Dominicus Americanus. The other entrance is in the town of Boca de Yuma, on the eastern side of the park. Both have ranger stations but no formal services. A road leads along the coast for several kilometers and has a number of nice vista points.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Punta Cana & the Southeast attractions

1. Padre Nuestro

3.08 MILES

Located deep inside Parque Nacional Cotubanamá, Padre Nuestro is a weaving stalagmite- and stalagtite-filled 290m tunnel flooded with freshwater that can…

2. Cueva del Puente


Parque Nacional Cotubanamá has more than 400 caves, many of which contain Taíno pictographs (cave paintings) and petroglyphs (rock carvings)…

3. Playa Dominicus

4.52 MILES

The advantage of staying in Dominicus Americanus is being able to walk to Playa Dominicus, a beautiful stretch of thick, nearly white sand, with good…

4. Playa Bayahibe

4.88 MILES

Much of Playa Bayahibe, the town beach to the right of the parking lot, is occupied by dozens of motorboats waiting to ferry tourists to Isla Saona…

5. Casa Ponce de León

7.27 MILES

Just east of the two-lane highway linking Higüey to Boca de Yuma, outside the small town of San Rafael del Yuma, is a fine rural Dominican town surrounded…

6. Altos de Chavón

8.67 MILES

While a trip to a faux-16th-century Italian-Spanish village created by a Paramount movie-set designer won’t exactly give you a window into Dominican…

8. Cueva de Berna

9.97 MILES

This large cave, with scattered Taíno pictograms (and graffiti) and stalactite and stalagmite formations, is several kilometers west of Boca de Yuma on…