In July 2022 I visited the Dominican Republic, on the eastern side of the island Hispaniola, one of the Greater Antilles Islands in the Caribbean. The trip was organized by Explora Ecotours, a local bird watching tour operator. The organization of the tour was excellent, I was very satisfied and can really recommend Explora. They do a great job.
On arrival in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, I was greeted by the owner of Explora, Manny. He brought me to my hotel, Conde de Peñalba, in the Colonial Quarter of Santo Domingo. The location of the hotel was ideal, right at the central Plaza of the Colonial Quarter. The Colonial City of Santo Domingo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I walked around the Colonial Quarter for a while.
Early the next morning he picked me up again for the 5.5 hour drive to the lodge Altos de Caño Hondo near Sabana del Mar on Samana Bay on the north shore of Hispaniola. It is a nice lodge, built into the mountain, very unique and picturesque. It is located near Bahia de San Lorenzo, a part of Samana Bay.
Right after arrival. we went on a boat tour of Bahia de San Lorenzo to see waterbirds. In the afternoon we made a bird watching walk around the lodge. On this walk we saw a couple of the endangered Ridgeway's Hawk. In the late evening we looked for owls and saw a Barn Owl.
The next morning we did another bird walk. We saw hummingbirds and again the Ridgeway's Hawk. Late morning we drove back to Santo Domingo, where I stayed at the same hotel. I saw Hispanolan Parakeets that live in the city.
Early the next morning my guide picked me up again for bird watching in the Botanical Garden of Santo Domingo, a great place to see local birds. From there we drove west along the south shore to the Minas de Sal to see shore birds. It was the wrong time of year for shore birds, we didn' see many. But we did see the Clapper Rail and the West Indian Whistling Duck, an endemic of the Caribbean. We also saw the Rhinoceros Iguana, an endemic of Hispaniola. We then continued west to to Barahona, where I stayed for one night in a quaint, simple local hotel, Loro Tuerto.
At 4:00 the next morning we drove into the mountains of Monumento Natural Miguel Domingo Fuerte for early bird watching. We did see some birds, but not many. The roads as a very ratty dirt road, among the 10 worst ones that I have been on. Later the morning we drove back to Barahona for lunch.
After lunch we headed east into the mountains towards the Haitian border to the Villa Barrancoli Eco Lodge, where I stayed for three nights. The lodge is very simple and caters mainly to bird watchers.
From the lodge we made several bird watching excursions each day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. We did see a lot of birds, many of them endemic. We also soother animals, mainly reptiles, also several endemics. The driving was on dirt roads, some of them very ratty, but that is to be expected.
After the third night at the lodge we drove back to Santo Domingo for one last night at the Conde de Peñalba, before my flight back home.
The Dominican Republic is good for bird watching. There are many endemic bird species on this island. These are also endangered species, because of habitat loss.
Other animals are not very plentiful, but I did see several other endemic species.
Some of the accommodations that I saw were simple, others were very nice. When you go bird watching in remote areas you should not expect luxury accommodations.
My food was included in the trip cost, except in Santo Domingo. It was generally nice and tasty. In Santo Domingo it was on the expensive side.
The local beer is a German style Lager, which is very nice. In Santo Domingo it was quite expensive ($5-$6 for a small bottle). Outside of Santo Domingo it was much less expensive in the lodge in the west it was only $2 per bottle.
I had a good time in the Dominican Republic. I saw a lot of birds on this bird watching trip. People were generally very friendly. I can recommend a visit to this country if you are a bird watcher. I didn't see the beaches, so I don't know about that aspect of the Dominican Republic.
Following are links to various pages with pictures:
All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.
The total number of pictures online on my website from Dominican Republic is 205
Page last updated on Sat Jun 3 08:14:50 2023 (Mountain Standard Time)
República Dominicana (Dominican Republic) - Great Bird Watching Endemic Birds on aerobaticsweb.org