Villa Barrancolí’s close proximity to the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park makes it an ideal base camp for exploring the northern slope of the Sierra. One can begin by taking the Rabo de Gato trail, a 1-2 hour walk (depending on how good the birdwatching is!) starting at Villa Barrancolí.
The trail leads into riparian woods with a variety of plants and large trees. Those interested in plants, butterflies and birds will enjoy this habitat. All but two of the 32 bird species endemic to Hispaniola may be found in the Sierra de Bahoruco.
Villa Barrancolí is also at the beginning of the international highway (4×4 necessary), leading to Aguacate on the Haitian border and to Zapotén’s cloud forest. The road then continues on to Pedernales.
The Villa is owned and operated by Kate Wallace, who first came to the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 90’s. As a former teacher/naturalist with the Massachusetts Audubon Society, she quickly discovered the interesting variety of birds and soon joined a group of birders exploring the wild areas of the country. Part of her work was developing educational materials in parts of the country close to the national parks in the southwest and, in the process, she came to appreciate the opportunities available to visiting birdwatchers.
After the end of her service with Peace Corps, having fallen in love with the country’s flora and fauna, she decided to stay in the country to continue working with community groups and bird conservation. She began guiding in 1997 and has been active as a guide ever since, operating Tody Tours, which specializes in southwestern Dominican Republic. Kate is also active with the Sociedad Ornitológica de la Hispaniola and the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds.
Villa Barrancolí is equipped with five screened cabins with two beds in each. There is a bath house with hot showers and a common dining area. Meals can be arranged if desired.
From the town of Barahona, take the main road north toward Santo Domingo until reaching a major intersection and the raod to Cabral, Duverge, and Jimani. Turn left and continue to Duverge (about one hour driving time). In Duverge look for signs for a left turn to Puerto Escondido. If you miss the sign, the turn is the fifth left after the gas station in town. Follow this road southward as it leaves town and seeon becomes dirt. Follow a small river bottom, and then steadily climb along an aqueduct through dry and dusty hills until reaching the small village of Puerto Escondido. The National Park house is on the right as you enter the village. Stop here to get a ticket for the park.
Continue straight through town until reaching a T-intersection. To reach Villa Barrancolí, and Rabo de Gato, turn left at the T and go past a chain-link fence surrounding the dam buildings. You will then turn right, cross a canal, and take the next right at a sign for Rabo de Gato. Villa Barrancolí will be on your left.