Parque Nacional Los Haitises – ‘land of the mountains’ – is a 1375-sq-km park at the southwestern end of the Bahía de Samaná, 9km west of Sabana de la Mar. It does indeed contain scores of lush hills, jutting some 30m to 50m from the water and coastal wetlands. The knolls were formed one to two million years ago, when tectonic drift buckled the thick limestone shelf that had formed underwater.
The area receives a tremendous amount of rainfall, creating perfect conditions for subtropical humid forest plants such as bamboo, ferns and bromeliads. In fact, Los Haitises contains over 700 species of flora, including four types of mangrove, making it one of the most highly biodiverse regions in the Caribbean. There are also 110 species of birds, 13 of which are endemic to the island.