Our “ultimate” private bird watching tour consists of 7 full days of unforgettable birding in the Dominican Republic, one of the premier birding destinations in the Caribbean, and home to the highest endemic species count of the region. On this comprehensive bird watching tour, you will visit all of the top birding sites in the country, but will have more time and opportunities than on our 5 day tour to see or photograph all of the 33 of the 34 endemic species found on the island of Hispaniola, along with many regional endemics and local specialties. This incredible adventure takes us to a wide variety of ecosystems, all of which are highly recommended in the “Caribbean Birding Trail” website. For serious birdwatchers looking to have the best shot at seeing all of our endemics, and as many species as possible in general, this is the tour we recommend most.
We begin the tour by leaving Santo Domingo and beginning our journey west, with a stop along the route at Salinas de Bani, a beautiful and incredibly wild salt pan area and sand dune and mangrove nature preserve considered the best shorebird site on the island. A must for any serious birder trying to see as many species as possible on their trip. After a couple hours birding the best spots in the area, we continue moving west where, for the next 5 magical days, we will be staying in and around the mountains and spending the mornings, afternoons and nights exploring the northern and southern slopes of the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park and specifically focusing on fantastic birding sites such as Zapoten Cloud Forest, Aceitillar, Rabo de Gato Nature Trail, Loma Charco Azul Biological Preserve, Oviedo Lagoon in Jaragua National Park, Lake Enriquillo National Park and the Cachote Cloud Forest. In the area you will be able to explore a wide variety of ecosystems, including dry forest, rain forest, cloud forest, and pine forest. These all being part of the amazing ecology found in the Dominican Republic, one of the most bio-diverse islands in the world.
After spending a few very productive and diverse days in the southwest, we return to Santo Domingo for a night and then embark on a beautiful drive northeast through the lush Oriental Mountains on our way to Los Haitises National Park, a majestic broad leaf forest dotted with huge limestone cliffs, large caves and spectacular fauna and flora unique to the area. We spend one final night together at a breath taking eco lodge located a top the limestone cliffs just outside the park, which is perfect for birding the grounds and the surrounding rainforest. Once we arrive in the area we embark on a fantastic private boat tour of the mangroves, many islands and caves in search of sea birds, shore birds and water fowl, and while our main target species here is the rare and endangered West Indian Whistling Duck, we are sure to see a whole lot more. In the evening we head out once again to look for the mystical Ashy Faced Owl, which has a roost not far from the lodge. We spend our last morning birding in the forest and searching for one of the rarest hawks in the world, and our main target for the day, the critically endangered and localized endemic Ridgway’s Hawk. We follow that up with a delicious Dominican style lunch at the nearby village of Sabana de la Mar, which is located on the shores of the Bay of Samana and allows us to look for shorebirds before heading back to Santo Domingo for a relaxing night in the beautiful and historical colonial zone of the city which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered the first city in the New World. Once back in the city and before dropping you off, we visit a great Hispaniolan Parakeet roost in the Colonial Zone which will most likely produce the best parakeet views of the tour.
Package: “7 Day Ultimate” Birding Package (Southwestern and Northeastern Regions of the Dominican Republic)
Duration of tour: 7 full days, 6 nights
Visiting: Zapoten Cloudforest (Northern Slope of Sierra de Bahoruco National Park) – La Charca and Aceitillar (Southern Slope of Sierra de Bahoruco National Park) – Loma Charco Azul (La Placa, Sierra de Bahoruco National Park) – Cachote Cloud Forest (Padre Miguel Domingo Fuerte Natural Monument on the Eastern Slope of the Sierra de Bahoruco Mountains) – Rabo de Gato Nature Trail (Puerto Escondido area) – Los Haitises National Park (Ridgway’s Hawk, Ashy Faced Owl and West Indian Whistling Duck site near the town of Sabana de la Mar) – Oviedo Lagoon in Jaragua National Park (Shorebird Observation) – Lake Enriquillo National Park (Hispaniolan Palm Crow site) – Salinas de Bani (Salt Pan and Mangrove Shore Bird Site) – Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo (Hispaniolan Parakeet Site)
Itinerary: Day 1: Begin making our way west from Santo Domingo with morning birding on route at the Salinas de Bani salt pans and mangroves for shore bird observation, followed by lunch and an afternoon drive to Los Patos, near the southern slope of Sierra de Bahoruco National Park. Night spent at a small comfortable hotel there. Day 2: Early morning drive up to the southern slope of Sierra de Bahoruco National Park for high elevation birding at the La Charca and Aceitillar pine forest sites before coming down for lunch and a brief afternoon visit for shorebird observation at the Oviedo Lagoon in Jaragua National Park before heading back to the hotel in Los Patos for the evening. Day 3: Early morning drive up to the Cachote cloud forest for birding, then come back down to Barahona for lunch, and continue making our way to the area of Puerto Escondido for afternoon birding at the Rabo de Gato Trail, then check into the nearby accommodations in the small town of Duverge for the night. Day 4: Early start and drive up to Zapoten cloud forest for early morning high elevation birding in the pine forest, then drive back down to the mountain for lunch, then free time to rest at the hotel, followed by late afternoon and night birding in the area of Puerto Escondido, afterwards we spend the night in Duverge. Day 5: Early AM birding at Loma Charco Azul nature trail in Puerto Escondido, followed by a visit to the shores of Lake Enriquillo National Park to look for Hispaniolan Palm Crow before having lunch on the road and going on the 4 hour drive back to Santo Domingo. Stay at a comfortable and charming boutique hotel in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo for the night. Day 6: Pick up and departure from your hotel to drive 3 hours to Los Haitises National Park, once we arrive we enjoy a private boat ride through the mangroves and around the shores and small islands of the park in search of West Indian Whistling Duck and other shore/sea birds, followed by a typical Dominican lunch at the eco lodge where we will spend the night, which is called Paraiso Cano Hondo. After lunch you have free time to rest or bird and enjoy the property on your own before we go looking for the Ashy Faced Owl at around 6 PM. Day 7: Breakfast at the lodge followed by morning birding and looking for Ridgeways Hawk and other species nearby, after which we have lunch in the village of Sabana de la Mar, then look for shorebirds nearby and drive back to Santo Domingo in the afternoon where we visit a Hispaniolan Parakeet roost in the Colonial Zone of the city before dropping you off in Santo Domingo and end the tour.
*Order of days in itinerary may change if logistically necessary
***For those looking for a longer tour, 0ptional additional nights available with lodging and local birding guides provided at the nearby beautiful Paraiso Caño Hondo Eco Lodge, named one of Forbe’s Magazine “Top 10 World’s Best Destinations for a Green Vacation”. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Package Includes: Fully bilingual, certified nature and bird watching guides*, all meals (except dinners on day 5 and 7), comfortable transportation, 2 person shared rooms (separate beds optional) except if it is a one person tour, lodging for 2 nights at small comfortable hotel in Los Patos, 2 nights at a small comfortable hotel in Duverge near Puerto Escondido, 1 night at a comfortable birding lodge at Los Haitises, and 1 night in a comfortable hotel in the heart of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, snacks and drinking Water at all times.
1 person private tour: USD $4,350
2 person private tour: USD $2,600 per person
3 to 4 person private tour: USD $2,250 per person
5 to 8 person (max) private tour: USD $2,000 per person
**Single supplement for lodging: USD $200 per person, when available
*Our guides are fully trained as bird watching guides by The Nature Conservancy and the Hispaniola Ornithological Society, and in first aid response by the Red Cross
Transportation: Packages include comfortable, private transportation to and from Santo Domingo, but other arrangements can be made. Transportation to airports is available for an additional fee. See our vehicles
Reservations: Click here for instructions on how to book this tour.