Nalga de Maco National Park, Río Limpio

Basic Statistics

  • Trail difficulty: 1-3
  • Reserve hours: none
  • Entrance fee: RD$50

Site Description

This 20,349 ha national park is located in the northern region of the Dominican Republic towards the western-most end of the Cordillera Central and close to the border with the Republic of Haiti.  It has a diverse set of habitats including riparian forests, moist broadleaf forests, and a unique dwarf cloud forest at the highest elevations.  There are also agricultural lands, including a rich coffee-growing area.  Río Limpio offers visitor accommodations, and access to the national park via a two-day long hiking trail, though other shorter hikes are available.  A visitor center has been built at the end of what will become the “Hispaniola Trail,” which will facilitate enjoyment of the national parks throughout the Cordillera Central.

Nalga de Maco, which translates as the “butt of the frog,” takes its name from the shape of the mountains that make up the reserve.  The park is primarily known among spelunkers and serious cave-explorers for its cavern systems, but there is also a fine waterfall, multiple trails, and the park is becoming increasingly known for its diversity of rare and endangered birds.  This is one of the few places where one can reliably see the Bay-breasted Cuckoo, and other threatened endemics are found at higher and more remote sites, including White-necked Crow, Golden Swallow, Bicknell’s Thrush, White-winged Warbler, and Eastern Chat Tanager.


From Santo Domingo take the Autopista Duarte north thru Santiago where it becomes the Carretera Duarte.  At the well-marked Navarrette intersection continue west to Esperanza following signs for Mao.  Beyond Mao continue to Santiago Rodríguez, Sabaneta, and Partido.  At the T-intersection in Santiago de la Cruz, turn left towards Loma de Cabrera.  From Loma de Cabrera take the right-hand split in the road south towards Restauración.  At ‘El 14’ checkpoint take the right turn to Río Limpio.  This is now a very bad road and continues as such for 20 km (12.4 miles) until reaching your destination of Río Limpio.  In the village continue straight ahead to the park office on the left.

Target Species

Hispaniolan Parakeet, Hispaniolan Parrot, Bay- breasted Cuckoo, Hispaniolan Palm Crow, White- necked Crow, Golden Swallow, Hispaniolan Highland- Tanager, Eastern Chat- Tanager, Antillean Siskin

Birding Areas

Access to the park and the birding areas are offered through Río Limpio via a two-day long hiking trail.  The trail through forests is steep and not well marked; a guide is essential.  But one does not need to hike for two days to see some of the landmark species here.  Ask for a guide who knows the local trails which are all farm and cow paths.

Dominican Republic Bird Specialties

Tour Operators in the DR


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