Reserva Científica Ebano Verde
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At one time, the endangered native green ebony (ébano verde) tree faced extinction. It was threatened due to its coveted precious wood. But in 1989, the 23-square-kilometer Reserva Científica Ebano Verde was created by a nonprofit foundation to preserve it, and now 621 plant species are protected in its boundaries. This reserve is meant to represent the ecosystem that exists in the entire zone. It is made up of a central mountain range between La Vega, Jarabacoa, and Constanza.
There are also amphibious, reptilian, and mammalian species (like solenodons and bats), plus 59 species of birds including the cotorra and el zumbadorcito (which is the second smallest bird in the world), 17 of which are endemic to the island. The reserve is 30 kilometers northeast along the road from Constanza. Once inside you’ll find a six-kilometer trail and information posted on trees.
To do a seven-kilometer-long nature walk in the Ebano Verde, you must first call the office of Fundación PROGRESSIO (tel. 809/565-1422) in Santo Domingo to arrange opening of the gates. You’ll definitely want to drive a four-wheel-drive vehicle and wear some good hiking boots and take plenty of water. The climate in this part of the country is significantly cooler, so take some layers you can wear and peel off if you get warm. The temperature can certainly drop both in the early morning and at night.
Visiting Reserva Científica Ebano Verde
The first entrance point is 15 kilometers from the crossroad of El Abanico on the Carretera Duarte at the hermitage of Casabito. Six kilometers farther at El Arroyazo, another entrance can be found. Here you will also find the Ebano Verde Science Reserve. If the museum is open (irregular hours) you can go in and see some photos and drawings of flora and fauna (in Spanish only).
This entrance will also lead you to the Balneario El Arroyazo, a natural pool created from a waterfall in the El Arroyazo river. Anyone can swim there for free. This entrance, museum, and balneario are three kilometers off the main road to Constanza.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition