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a view of a mountain

[As you know by now BOP places is your reading material on Sunday where you can dream away about beautiful locations on our island. There are so many things to do in the Dominican Republic. In this edition, we are giving you a sneak peek of the province Santiago. It is all about The Jose Armando Bermudez National Park. A park that is different from what you might expect in the Caribbean.

Central Mountain range

Did you know that the in-land of the Dominican Republic has mountains? The highest peak of the Caribbean is located here. This central mountain range known as the Cordillera Central is in the province of Santiago. A special aspect of this mountain range is that part of it is located the Jose Armando Bermudez National Park, where you can hike, camp and enjoy the flora and fauna of the Dominican Republic.

Jose Armando Bermudez National Park

This National Park was named in honor of Dominican Businessman Jose Armando Bermudez, who produced a variety of rums, including the famous Brugal and Barcelo. He died in 1941. It is the oldest national park in the Dominican Republic and it was officially established in 1956.

To get to this park from Punta Cana, it will take a while. A 6-hour drive to be exact. To avoid driving 6 hours straight, you can also spend the night in Juan Dolio, or in Santo Domingo. Stop to check out some sights there and then drive on to the National Park.

Just a little warning, since this park is protected and untouched, the road to get there is not perfect. A four-wheel drive always comes in handy in this case. If you are more into public transport you can take the Expreso Bavaro to Santo Domingo and then change onto a Caribe Tours bus in Santo Domingo. This bus will take you to the town Jarabacoa. From there you can get in contact with local guides and tours to take you to the park.  

It does not get any more eco than this. This park is heaven for nature lovers. But before you pack your bag with only shorts and swimwear, think again. The temperature is different in the mountains since you are higher up. Of course, you can bring thin summer clothes, but as you will be hiking up the mountain, good hiking shoes, long trousers, and a jacket are helpful. The temperature can drop to 13 degrees and even lower.

The nicest thing to do would be to discover the National Park by staying there a few nights. Yes, camping. You know we love eco-tourism at BOP. Grab your backpack, sleeping bag and portable tent and set camp in the many camp areas in the park. There are guides around that will give you all the information you need to have a good night sleep. For the real adventures amongst us, climbing the highest peak of the Caribbean islands is the ultimate goal.

Pico Duarte 

Peak Pico Duarte which is in the Jose Armando Bermudez National park is one of the things to do in the Dominican Republic that requires stamina. Climb up that mountain (46 km), while you are surrounded by pine trees and hear the wind softly rushing through them. When you reach the top of that peak, you will feel like you conquered the world. If you are not an experienced hiker, we would advise you to do a 3-day trekking tour with an experienced guide up to the mountain. Safety first. Also, check the weather in beforehand. In the mountains, it rains more than on other parts of the island, so you would not want to be surprised by heavy rain. Well, there is always protective rainwear.

The mountain gets its name from one of the founding fathers of the Dominican Republic, Juan Pablo Duarte. On Independence Day some Dominicans make the trek to Pico Duarte to honor this founding father.

Hear doves and the zumbador hummingbird sing in this park and enjoy the view of rivers through the mountains and the rainforest.  If you want to be secluded for a few days in nature, then this is the trip for you.

We are very curious about your experiences. Tag us on Instagram and FaceBook @bestofpuntacanaofficial #bopplaces with your amazing pictures.

Discover more things to do in the Dominican Republic on BOP places. Visit Mount Isabel de Torres, or wander through a Caribbean desert in Bani

Photo: Instagram @miriamcalzada