Del Este National Park is located at the extreme southeastern corner of Hispaniola, close to some of the island’s most popular resort areas. The park contains an extensive area of dry forest and adjoining mangrove habitat where you are likely to find White-crowned Pigeon, Hispaniolan Parrot, Mangrove Cuckoo, Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo, Broad-billed Tody, Antillean Piculet, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Stolid Flycatcher, Flat-billed Vireo, Black-whiskered Vireo, and Greater Antillean Bullfinch among other species. Being as close as it is to the all-inclusive tourist resorts that pocket this region of the Dominican Republic, you might imagine that the national park is inundated with visitors. But in reality much of the park is seldom visited as there is no good access to the center of the park. The Padre Nuestro Ecological and Archaeological Route was inaugurated in 2008 as an example of co-management between the private tourism sector (Romana-Bayahibe Hotel Association) and the national parks (SEMARENA or the Ministry of Environment).
The trail has a single trail which you must follow; interpretive guides are available.
Hispaniolan Parrot, Hispaniolan Lizard- Cuckoo, Smooth- billed Ani, Antillean Mango, Vervain Hummingbird, Broad- billed Tody, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Stolid Flycatcher, Gray Kingbird, Northern Mockingbird, Palmchat, Northern Parula, Bananaquit, Black- crowned Palm- Tanager, Greater Antillean Bullfinch
The trip from Santo Domingo to Bayahibe takes about three hours. Head east from Santo Domingo on the main coastal highway to San Pedro de Macorís, then continue on to La Romana passing over the Río Cumayasa bridge (Site D24). About 10.9 km (6.8 miles) east of the Río Cumayasa bridge, turn right at a stop light following signs for Casa de Campo and Higuey. This bypass will take you around the city of La Romana. Cross the Río Chavón, pass straight through a rotary, until arriving in 19.3 km (12 miles) at a prominent fork in the road (the “La Romana-Bayahibe fork”). Stay right and follow the signs to Bayahibe.
In less than 8.0 km (5 miles) you will see a prominent gravel road on the left; this is the short entrance road to Padre Nuestro Trail. But first, continue on the main road another 0.2 km (0.1 mile) to another fork in the road. Bear right to enter Bayahibe village (the left hand fork continues on to the all-inclusive resorts in an area known as Dominicus Americanus, and the Guaraguao entrance [Site D26]). At the next fork, in front of a small town park, bear right again into a large parking lot often filled with buses. The National Park office is here on the right side of this lot. You must purchase a ticket from this office before entering the Padre Nuestro Trail.
- Reserve hours: 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Sunday
- Entrance fee: $200 RD; $300 RD for diving
- Telephone: 829-718-0399
- Website: www.rutapadrenuestro.com (forthcoming)