The Dominican Republic  is blessed to have a great deal of ecodiversity for such a small country, and the Parque Nacional Los Haitises (Land of the Mountains National Park) is one of the most distinctive of its national reserves, comprising nearly 160 kilometers of mangroves, estuaries, coves, and bays that together embrace the southwestern curve of the Bahía de Samaná.
Over 700 species of flora (17 are endemic to the area) thrive in the subhumid tropical forest due to its great amount of annual rainfall. Roughly 110 species of birds nest here, including the blue heron, the great white egret, the brown pelican, the roseate tern, and the rare Hispaniolan parakeet. Los Haitises’s fauna includes scores of bats, tortoises, and manatees, which reside in the mangrove systems along the coast and various caves throughout.
The extensive limestone cave system is a major attraction for its examples of stalactites, stalagmites, and Taíno pictographs and petroglyphs depicting animals, rituals, faces, and divine beings.
Considering the rugged topography and its remoteness, Los Haitises is best conquered by boat excursions. They will take you through mangroves, rivers, and islets, and include walking through forest area and caves along the coast.
Touring Los Haitises by boat is easy in a half-day excursion, and most places will offer this in a package along with lunch; the price will also include the entrance to the park.
Paraíso Caño Hondo (Sabana de la Mar, tel. 809/248-5995, cell 809/889-9454, www.paraisocanohondo.com , website in Spanish only) offers tours that include a walk through the countryside and sub-humid forests, a boat trip through the mangroves, and the option to tour a few different caves. Signs from the center of Sabana de la Mar  will direct you to Paraíso Caño Hondo (which is the same way to the Parque Los Haitises). The tour guides for this outfitter are particularly knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter. I highly recommend this company. Tours start around US$45 (including guide, lunch, and entrance fee).
Sabana Tours Excursion Company (Av. de los Héroes 43, Sabana de la Mar, tel. 809/974-1753), on the water in Sabana de la Mar, claims to be the best in town. Certainly, they have a good variety of trips and packages, some of which include lunch and drinks (all prices are per person): whale watching in the Bahia de Samaná (US$99 with lunch/US$85 without lunch), afternoon at Cayo Levantado  (US$85), Los Haitises walking tour (US$70 with lunch/US$49 without lunch), Samana (US$49), Las Galeras  (US$56), Las Terrenas  (US$70).
Amilka Tours (Calle Colón 15, Sánchez, tel. 809/552-7664 or 809/552-7922), located across the bay, will bring you by boat to Los Haitises.
Victoria Marine (Calle Mella and Av. Malecón, tel. 809/538-2494, www.whalesamana.com ) is a popular and highly respected whale excursion outfitter in Samaná , but they also offer excursions to Los Haitises for US$55.
Coming from Highway 103 or 104, you’ll see a park service sign in the south end of Sabana de la Mar . Excursions for the Parque Nacional Los Haitises are best done through various companies in Sabana de la Mar, Samaná , and Sánchez . If you want to explore on your own, you will need to pay RD$100 to enter the park.