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Pedernales in the southwest corner of Dominican Republic is a coastal province that’s ripe for adventure. From exploring neighboring Lago Enriquillo, the largest hypersaline lake in the Caribbean and the region’s lowest point, to hiking Jaragua National Park, one of the most important natural reserves in the country and part of the first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Dominican Republic, Pedernales boasts endless beauty and adventure.
Explore the desert-like landscape and pristine nature in Pedernales by checking out some of these highlights on your next trip.
Visit part of the country’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Jaragua National Park is one of the most important natural reserves in the country and part of the first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Dominican Republic, the La Selle-Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enquirillo Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Dominican Republic/Haiti). The park spans 530 square miles and is filled with diverse ecosystems from sea to land. It includes Beata and Alto Velo islands, as well as Los Frailes and Piedra Negra cayes. It also houses a dizzying array of flora and fauna.
Keep an eye out for manatees and turtles on the water and more than 130 species of birds in the air and on land, including American flamingos. You may also spot the rare, endangered rhinoceros iguana and Ricord’s rock iguana roaming among more than 400 species of tropical flora. From a geological point of view, the area has a wide variety of igneous and sedimentary rocks dating to the late Jurassic (140 million years).
Relax at the country’s most beautiful beach.
Tucked within Jaragua National Park, Bahía de las Águilas is a stunning, unspoiled stretch of white-sand beach that stretches for five miles. This beach has widely been lauded as the most beautiful in the country, with sparkling turquoise waters and a unique rocky landscape. There are no hotels, shops or restaurants along these shores, and the beach is only accessible by ATV or boat.
Visit the largest hypersaline lake in the Caribbean and the region’s lowest point.
Lago Enriquillo covers a whopping 135 square miles and is home to American crocodiles, pink flamingos, iguanas and countless bird species. Take a boat trip around to Isla Cabritos in the middle of the lake and remember to dress for the heat—you’ll want a hat, plenty of water and sunscreen. Learn more about this must visit beautiful, body of water here!
Tour the largest wind farm in the region.
Parque Eólico Los Cocos is the largest wind farm in the Caribbean. The formidable wind turbines stand as tall as a 40-floor building and generate enough power to keep one million light bulbs lit or providing clean energy for 100,000 homes. One-hour tours are offered to learn about the wind farm’s operations.
Chow down on local cuisine.
When visiting Pedernales, don’t miss your chance to sample the local specialty: Spiny lobster. Spiny lobsters are found along the continental belt and get the name from the forward-pointing spines that cover their bodies to help protect them from predators. Restaurants like King Crab, Jalicar and Perla Negra prepare the dish grilled to order.
Cabo Rojo is one of the most popular beaches in Pedernales. Aside from swimming and relaxing on the shore, it’s also a hub for skilled scuba divers who come to appreciate the technicolor marine life, which feature some of the best preserved coral reefs in the country.
Explore the Hoyo de Pelempito observatory.
The long ride up to the top of Hoyo de Pelempito is worth the journey. From 4,265 feet high, you’ll have sweeping views of the vast and distinct landscape below that morphs from desert to cloud forest. Hike the trails at the top near the observatory and remember to pack for altitude changes and temperature swings: highs can reach near 80 degrees by day, and the mornings can be as chilly as 32 degrees.