The National Park of the East (Parque Nacional del Este) is one of Dominican Republic’s most biologically diverse land reserves. From the sandy beaches of Saona Island to the tropical forest and limestone landscape of the mainland, the park is home to more than 500 species of plant and hundreds of species of bird, insect, and fish.
Venture to this prized park and discover plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Rugged trails loop through the grounds past quiet tide pools and into tropical forests and dark caves ripe for exploring, while offshore coral reefs and beautiful beaches attract divers and day-tripping tourists to the park.
To get the most of your trip to Dominican Republic’s rural tropical landscape, you can visit the National Park of the East on a day tour to Isla Saona from Bayahibe. Tours and shore excursions leave daily from Punta Cana and La Romana, and some include lunch, round-trip transportation, entrance fees, and free time to snorkel or enjoy the white-sand beach and clear-blue Caribbean water.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Parque del Este is a must for nature lovers, who can get the most information on the local flora and fauna from a guided tour.
- The sun is strong here. Bring sunscreen and a sun hat.
- If visiting via cruise ship, it’s best to book a tour via fast speedboat to ensure you make your departing ship.
- Most tours provide snorkel gear.
How to Get There
The National Park of the East protects coastal and island environments on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic. The closest towns are Bayahibe and Boca de Yuma. The park has two entrances—Guaraguao and Boca de Yuma, on the east side.
When to Get There
The park is open daily, and the park office is open from 9am to 1pm. As in all Caribbean locations, the summers are hot and autumn is hurricane season. The Dominican Republic’s peak tourist season is November through March, so expect larger crowds and sold-out tours during that time.
Manantial de La Aleta, Jose Maria Cave, and other cave sites in the park contain archaeological remains and artifacts from the Taino Indians who once inhabited the park’s dry forest. Some special Saona tours focus or touch on cave drawings and artifacts, which illustrate the myths, beliefs, and daily life of the Taino people.