There are couple places I have made it my goal to get to. The places that everyone talks about and as a person who has 2 years on a small island, I feel I should get to. One of those places was Los Haitises.
Los Haitises National Park is is a protected environmental region on the North East of the island across from the Samana Pennisula. The park is not the kind of place you can easily get to or hike around, considering it is largely mangroves
Let me share the journey there. I was going with Anna and Robin who live on the Samana Pennisula. So I decided to start the journey with them and spent the night at Anna’s, which was fun because we got to make the citronella candles. The next morning the electricity is off so I got to shower by candlelight (Anna said to me not as romantic as you would think, to which I replied I had no thoughts it would be romantic). That was at 5:45 in the morning. Then around 6:15 we went out to stand on the side of the road to get a ride to the ferry which would leave at 7 am. Luckily a guagua came by after 7 fretful minutes (nothing was passing). We even had time to grab breakfast juice and toasted sandwiches.
So we get on the ferry and cross the bay. At the other side, the Sabana del Mar side, the ferry cannot go all the way in because of the lack of depth. So we switched to a smaller boat, and then for some reason we switched to another boat. When we finally got to the dock, there was no ladder (in the past tI am told there was one). I could only reach the dock from the rocking boat. So we handed our bags up and then reached up our arms and were lifted.
From there, we grabbed motos and bargained down on the info we had received that it should be a 100 or 150 peso, to a 200 peso ride. After leaving the paved part of the road to a road that was dirt and rocks and being told that the distance was 12 kilometers, I have to say that was definitely at least worth 200 pesos. I almost didn’t want to leave at the end of the tour and take the ride again it was so uncomfortable.
But finally, we arrive at Paraiso Cano Hondo through which we had book a tour. We did not stay a the hotel, because it did not fit in our budget, but it looked very good and unique with a swimming pool and volleyball net. The tour was a boat tour of around 2 hours through the park, including stops at 2 caves. In one of the caves there were cave paintings and the guide told us about the meaning behind them. The other cave had petrogylphs, bats, and swallows. Our guide was a Dominican who was part of the original Brigrada Verde (an initiative of the environmental sector of Peace Corps to educate youth more on the environment and conservation) and told of us the volunteers who helped to build up the tour. In additional to the caves, we saw 3 types of mangroves (simply a plant that lives on the land and in the salinated water, is you want to learn more check out the info from National Geographic Society) and many birds. And one final interesting tidbit before pictures, Haitis means highland or mountain in Taino (the language of the inhabitants of the island when the Europeans arrived) and because of all the bumps in the park the region was named Los Haitises. Our guide remarked it resembled an egg carton. I have to say the tour was worth the money and the effort.