Top National Parks of the Caribbean.
Swap the ordinary for the extraordinary and check out our top National Parks of the Caribbean. From breathtaking views and surreal flora and fauna to secret caves and remarkable salt ponds, these national parks should be top of your to-do list!
Los Haitises National Park, Samaná, Dominican Republic.
Located on the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, this remote park is a popular ecotourism destination for visitors. The incredible plethora of fauna and flora is matched only by the diversity of mammals and birds - including some of the rarest specifies endemic to the island. What lies within is a treasure trove of limestone plateaus, sinkholes, caverns and tapered hills.
Top tip: head to the Cayo de los Pájaros (bird key) to see the resident frigatebirds and pelicans!
Los Tres Ojos (The 3 Eyes) National Park, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
This three-eyed wonder, in Santo Domingo, is a dazzling complex of limestone caves, three lakes and crystal-clear lagoons. The park is named after the lagoons (ojos or eyes) that were formed thousands of years ago when tectonic activity caused the cave roofs to collapse. The sinkholes flooded with water to create this mysterious ‘lost world’. By day, the waters sparkle blue, green and yellow with rays of light darting in from above. As night time descends, the lagoons are lit by moonlight and a myriad of colored lights for a truly magical experience.
Top tip: look up and see stalagmites and stalactites, mineral formations that resemble artful sculptures.
West Side National Park, The Bahamas
This vast 1.2 million acre park protects a large area of pristine coastal wetlands which contain flocks of endangered species of flamingo. Rich in flora and fauna, the park is home to the Caribbean Pine, Red and White Mangroves, endangered rock iguanas, nurse sharks, bull sharks and the critically endangered smalltooth sawfish.
Top tip: look out for the national bird of the Bahamas - the West Indian Flamingo!
Inagua National Park, The Bahamas
This park is the internationally renowned home to the world’s breeding colony of West Indian Flamingos. The park covers about 45% of the island of Great Inagua, with its flamingo population reaching a staggering 80,000 birds - 40 years ago the flamingos were bordering on extinction! Whether you’re an enthusiastic ecotourist or a seasoned bird watcher - this is the park for you.
Fun fact: The park encloses all of Lake Rosa, the largest salt-water lake in the Bahamas.
Arikok National Park, Santa Cruz, Aruba.
Nearly 20% of Aruba is a designated National Park and home to a long list of animal species and plant life. The Arikok National Park is Aruba's national treasure, containing everything from quartz and limestone rock formations, to lava formations and hidden pools. Explore on foot, on horseback or mountain bike and discover the exotic animals of the island. Indigenous reptiles and birds – including owls and parakeets – roam freely throughout the park.
Top tip: look out for some of the island's oldest Arawak paintings!
El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
Immerse yourself in the beautiful landscape of El Yunque Rainforest, with beautiful ferns, tropical plants and rare wildlife. Take a hike along the trails and discover rushing waterfalls, technicolor parrots and frogs, and the exquisite panoramic views atop Yokahu Observation Tower.
Top tip: capture a ‘picture-perfect’ moment at La Coca Waterfall or stop by La Mina Falls for a swim in the cool waters.
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