Parque Nacional Los Haitises

Punta Cana & the Southeast

Around 9km west of Sabana de la Mar, Parque Nacional Los Haitises is certainly the best reason to visit this small bayside town. Its name means ‘land of the mountains,’ and this 1375-sq-km park at the southwestern end of the Bahía de Samaná indeed contains 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 turnoff to the park is near the crossroads of Hwys DR-4 and DR-3, at the southern end of Sabana de la Mar (near the bus stop). The road is rough but passable for about 9km. The small casita that houses the park rangers won't charge you, but it'll cost you the RD$100 if you enter the caves.