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More than Tropical Beaches: Exploring the Natural Beauty of the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

If you thought a vacation in the Dominican Republic was all about the sand and the surf, think again. Outside the resort areas you can find some of the most diverse natural beauty in the Caribbean.

No less than nine different ecozones mean there's natural diversity and varying climates:  the perfect eco-playgrounds for all nature enthusiasts.

Both the Highest and the Lowest Points Above and Below Sea Level in the Caribbean

Lake Enriquillo is a scientific marvel situated in a rift valley. This saltwater lake is both the largest lake and the lowest elevation in the region, at 42 meters below sea level. The lake is a designated Ramsar Site you can best explore by boat, allowing visitors to take in the spectacular sight of the wildlife refuge featuring tropical birds, flamingos, two types of iguana and American crocodiles.

To the northeast of Lake Enriquillo stands Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean at 3,087 meters (two miles) above sea level. The peak is accessible by two- to four-day treks from nearby Jarabacoa. It's worth the effort; you get magnificent panoramic views once you arrive to the top.

Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

Cool Mountains and Sand Dunes

Jarabacoa's cool mountain climate is also a welcome break from the more tropical weather in other parts of the country.

By contrast, the sand dunes in Baní—about an hour from the capital of Santo Domingo—offer a desert-like atmosphere, spanning over 15 km and reaching heights up to 35 meters. If you plan to explore the dunes on foot, this is not a time for flip flops!  The sand is hot and you'll need good, closed shoes.

The Long and the Short of It...

Dominican Republic is home to another extreme: the shortest river in the region. Los Patos River in Barahona, named for its large populations of ducks, is not only the shortest river in the Antilles/Caribbean, it's even one of the shortest in the world.

On the flip side,  the Yaque Del Norte River is the longest river in the Dominican Republic, winding from Jarabacoa up to the far northwest corner of the country in Montecristi.

Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

So once you've decompressed on the beaches of your resort, make sure you take the time to explore the rest of the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic.

Start your Trip!