Los Haitises National Park,
In the south of Samaná Bay, Los Haitises National Park is a patchwork of craggy islets, blue canals and verdant forest, an ecosystem that appears plucked from prehistory. Perhaps the park’s most unique feature is the series of limestone caves worn ragged with water erosion and streaked with salt. Pass into the yawning Boca del Tiburón (Shark’s Mouth) before swinging around to shore to explore caves that were once ceremonial grounds for the Taíno people; these caves contain well-preserved carvings and paintings depicting animals, deities, medicine men and even the Spanish cross. Los Haitises is hardly a well-kept secret, but visitor numbers are rising: some big hotel projects are brewing nearby, and an updated sustainability plan will enhance infrastructure and preservation, so you’ll be greeted with improved trails and facilities.
» Don’t Miss Take a motorboat tour through larger waterways and take in pristine views.
For a more relaxed approach, embark on a kayaking tour through smaller inlets and mangrove forests, or drift in the open waters at sunrise to catch the best views of abundant bird life.
Prehistoric-looking Los Haitises National Park is lined with dozens of small islets that are only navigable by boat.