DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Since 1962, the Dominican Republic (DR) has led the Caribbean in preserving sensitive inland and coastal eco-systems through partnerships with leaders like the Nature Conservancy, the United Nations, the Smithsonian and more to establish powerful environmental protections. The DR’s preserves and sanctuaries, like the Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the DR, the first whale sanctuary in the world located along the coast of Samana, are a vital tourism draw to the DR’s fabled lush green surroundings. The government’s constant dedication to reserving the island’s environment make eco- and adventure tourism in the country so remarkable and exciting.
Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia said, “By setting aside 20 percent of our land for preservation, the DR has taken a very systematic approach to ensure our natural beauty remains unspoiled. This dedication has led to the development of 83 protected areas including 19 national parks, 32 natural monuments, six reserves and two marine sanctuaries.”
In the DR, eco-tourism opportunities abound and connect visitors with the environment in sustainable ways, granting access to the unimaginable beauty of the land. The Whale Sanctuary in Samana provides safety for 3,000 to 5,000 breeding humpback whales each winter. In addition to coastal protections, the DR’s plentiful national parks located inland boast such sites as the highest and lowest geographical points in the entire Caribbean.
In the Southwest Region, Lake Enriquillo in Cabritos Island National Park, is the largest salt water lake in the Caribbean, and the lowest point at 144 feet below sea level. American Crocodiles, flamingos and iguanas find a haven here, and add to the diverse scenery that awaits those traveling to Cabritos Island at the center. Just north, Armando Bermudez National Park is the source of 12 of the country’s most important rivers, as well as the four highest peaks in the Antilles. As the highest point, Pico Duarte at 10,128 feet above sea level offers brave climbers an eclectic mix of plant and wildlife to view as they make their way to the top. Both of these areas offer adventures and activities that will get adrenaline rushing, hearts racing and senses bursting.
Rich in history, the Dominican Republic’s first tourist was Christopher Columbus in 1492. Since then, it has developed into a diverse and luxurious destination offering both Dominican and European flavors to more than one million US visitors each year. At 10,000 feet, the Dominican Republic is home to the highest point in the Caribbean. It also features some of the best golf courses and beaches in the world, the largest marina in the Caribbean and is a chosen escape for celebrities, couples and families. For more information, visit the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism’s official Web site at: http://www.godominicanrepublic.com/ .