The Bávaro area is another center of all-inclusive resorts with little attention being placed on the development of ecological diversions such as birdwatching. Yet some birds can be seen at most resorts despite the little attention that is paid to habitat protection. The area contains several potentially good sites for birdwatching, including the productive Bávaro Lagoon, but access is a problem. Some resorts with small lagoons and golf courses are known to provide habitat for West Indian Whistling-Ducks, Hispaniolan Orioles and other species. Outlying sugar cane and pastures can also produce difficult to see species such as Northern Bobwhite, Double-striped Thick-Knee and Nutmeg Mannikin. Coastal habitats include extensive mangroves, lagoons, sand beaches, as well as marine habitats.
The VistaCana Resort and Country Club is developing an artificial lagoon, natural areas, and a 12 km (7.4 miles) walking trail through native vegetation. While still in development, it will be of interest to see how successful the project is in developing and safeguarding native habitat, and whether their success might prompt additional ecotourism projects and the protection of the Bávaro Lagoon itself.
We present several birding options in the Bávaro area. The Bávaro Lagoon is accessed from the seaward side just behind the coastal hotels. Unfortunately, the park house is neglected, and entrance onto the lagoon – once possible with the help of the resident guard – is now impossible as the small fiberglass launch is leaking and lacks a motor. There are one or two small openings along the shore near the park house which afford some restricted views, but the construction of a simple dock extending beyond the margins of the mangrove fringe would do wonders for birdwatching on the lagoon.
A new upland birding trail has been developed at the VistaCana Resort and Country Club. This wooded trail is currently 5 km (3.1 miles) long, but a total of 12 km (7.4 miles) of trail are planned and are in various stages of development. Disturbed vegetation is currently re-growing, and substantial reforestation is taking place with native species. This trail has been particularly good for overwintering migrants and passage migrants, but many endemics and permanent residents also are found here.
West Indian Whistling- Duck, White- cheeked Pintail, Helmeted Guineafowl, Northern Bobwhite, Least Grebe, Pied- billed Grebe, Purple Gallinule, Double- striped Thick- knee, Wilson’s Plover, Black- necked Stilt, Mangrove Cuckoo, Antillean Nighthawk, Pearly- eyed Thrasher, Northern Parula, Cape May Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstart, Hispaniolan Oriole, Nutmeg Mannikin
Most visitors to the area will arrive at the Punta Cana International Airport. Visitors arriving from Santo Domingo will head east on the main coastal highway to San Pedro de Macorís, then will continue on to La Romana, Higuey, Otra Banda and Veron following signs for Bávaro and Punta Cana. Detailed directions are provided in the Ecological Foundation account (Site D29). From Veron, you will continue to drive east another 3.2 km (2 miles) before encountering a metal arch across the road with a Shell station on the right. Turn left here on Route 105 towards Bávaro. In 4.3 km (2.7 miles) look for a small sign for Cabeza de Toro on the right where you will turn. Soon you will cross a new divided highway, and 6.3 km (3.9 miles) from the Cabeza de Toro turn the road will fork. Stay to the left here on the paved road. You will pass many hotels and small shops on the right; the lagoon is on your left but hidden by mangroves. Just 1.0 km (0.6 mile) past this fork the road will fork again. Again stay left on the road toward the Natura Park Hotel and look for an unmarked drive passing through a barbed wire fence on the left. If you pull in here and go around the corner you will see the aging yellow-green park house for the Bávaro Lagoon.
To reach the VistaCana Resort and Country Club return towards the Cabeza de Toro turn-off on the Veron-Bávaro road. Once you reach this corner, turn right (towards Bávaro) and continue about 0.6 km (1 mile). Turn left towards Macao and Manatí Park, and left again about 0.6 km (1 mile) further on, just after a castle-like structure. The sign for VistaCana may not be in place yet, but a guard station and office are staffed.
- Address: there is no address for the Bávaro Lagoon, but VistaCana Resort is located at: Boulevard Turístico del Este Km 12.5, Puntacana, Bávaro
- Telephone: Welcome center 1-866-710-7041, Principal office: 809-466-2009
- Website: www.vistacana.com