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 34 endemic species found in the country, 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 spending our first morning birding the beautiful National Botanical Gardens in Santo Domingo, then we begin our long scenic drive west to the majestic Bahoruco Mountains and Sierra de Bahoruco National Park. Along the way we make a stop at Salinas de Bani, a beautiful and incredibly wild salt pans, 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 our journey 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 fantastic birding sites such as Zapoten Cloud Forest, Villa Barrancoli Birding Lodge, Rabo de Gato Nature Trail, Loma Charco Azul Biological Preserve, Lake Enriquillo National Park and Cachote Cloud Forest. In the area you will be able to explore a wide variety of ecosystems, including dry forest, cloud forest, rain 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: National Botanical Gardens in Santo Domingo (Jardín Botánico Nacional Dr. Rafael María Moscoso) – Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo (Hispaniolan Parakeet Site) – Villa Barrancoli Birding Lodge (Rabo de Gato Nature Trail, Puerto Escondido) – Zapoten Cloudforest (Northern 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) – Los Haitises National Park (Ridgway’s Hawk and West Indian Whistling Duck site near the town of Sabana de la Mar) – Lake Enriquillo National Park (Hispaniolan Palm Crow site)
Itinerary: Day 1: Morning birding at the National Botanical Gardens in Santo Domingo, then begin making our way west to Sierra de Bahoruco with lunch and an afternoon visit to the Las Salinas salt pans for shore bird observation on route. Night spent at a small comfortable hotel in the town of Barahona. Day 2: Early morning drive up to 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 Villa Barrancoli Birding Lodge for the night. Day 3: Early start and drive up to Zapoten cloud forest for early AM birding, then drive back down to the mountain for lunch, then free time to rest at the lodge, followed by late afternoon and night birding in the area of Puerto Escondido, then spend the night at Villa Barrancoli Lodge. Day 4: Another productive day and night in the area of Puerto Escondido. Activities for this day will depend on the species seen and still missing. We will bird at the top sites in the area and go after any species that we might have missed previously. Night birding in the early evening again and then stay at a small comfortable hotel in Duverge for one final night in the southwest. 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) lodging for 2 nights at the Villa Barrancoli Birding Lodge in Puerto Escondido, 1 night at a comfortable birding lodge at Los Haitises, and 3 nights at comfortable hotels (including a night in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo), Snacks, Drinking Water
1 person private tour: USD $4,250
2 person private tour: USD $2,625 per person
3 person private tour: USD $2,425 per person
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 $150 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.