Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos
- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos (7 a.m.–5 p.m., US$1.50) encompasses Isla Cabritos, which is an island in the center of the 200-square-kilometer Lago Enriquillo, the enormous saltwater lake that is famous for being the lowest part (below sea level) in all of the Caribbean. The lake’s water is four times saltier than the ocean and was created when gradual tectonic movements cut it off from the ocean. On the beaches of the lake and the island within, you can find ancient seashells and coral fragments.
If you want to see the island, you’ll have to have a guide. The entrance to Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos is east of La Descubierta and you’ll see the kiosk for the entrance from the road. Plenty of parking is available. Tours cost US$35 for a boatload of 1–8 people. You’ll get a two-hour ride out to see the island and the crocodiles and flamingos that inhabit the area. Since it’s so miserably hot here most of the time, you’ll need sunscreen and a hat, and take water with you on the boat.
One of the most interesting features of Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos is its animals. Numerous reptile species including endangered rhinoceros and ricord iguanas and a very large American crocodile population live around the lake. Entrance into the park to see the iguanas and just view the lake is US$0.40, and a nice shady path leads down to the water’s edge. Here the iguanas heavily pepper the walkways and get surprisingly close; they can be rather big.
In the park, there is a balneario for a very frigid dip after a sweltering day of exploration.
Las Caritas is next to Lago Enriquillo and is a free look at some Taíno art in a shallow cave on the north side of the highway. It’s visible from the road and you’ll have to hike up to see it up close. It’s not a very easy hike. You’ll need good shoes for both this and the Lago Enriquillo visit.
Getting to Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos
The best way to get to Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos is by your own vehicle. Taking a guagua from Barahona will mean making a transfer in Nagua and switching to the line that will bring you to Lago Enriquillo. Just let the drivers in Nagua know that is your destination.
The tour company EcoTour Barahona (tel. 809/243-1190, www.eco-repdom.com, US$75) has a tour including a boat tour of Lago Enriquillo, a visit to Isla Cabrito, lunch, a visit to Las Caritas, a visit to a Haitian marketplace, and a dip in a natural swimming pool.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition