Perhaps the top ecotour of Cabarete, the national park and caves of El Choco are a must visit for nature lovers. This national park is a 48 square miles natural reserve that includes the lagoon (that extends 8km) of Cabarete and Goleta. This 5 million year old cave system has underground pools that connect to several underwater caves, and some are shallow and safe to swim.
Many native DR species can be seen on the tour, such as spiders, birds, snakes (non-venomous), frogs, fish, moths, and crickets. The tour guides provide information on local plant life and the ecosystem, including ancient coral rocks that show the submarine nature of the region millions of years ago.
Stalagmites and stalactites cover the vaulted ceiling and scattered areas of the floors, where trails are clearly marked for visitors. The first cave is the crystal cave, with a narrow entrance, with a 3 meter descent that keeps going down inside. The interior has two water pool entrances to an underwater cave that extends for about 15 meters, with some prehistoric-looking decorations.
Trekking the whole set of caves takes about an hour, dress comfortable and bring a water bottle, swimwear and bug repellent. A river tour complements the trekking, departing from the park entrance river mouth. Getting to the park is easy, just take the Callejon de la Loma street (facing ocean dream plaza) all the way to the end where the park offices are.
El Choco National Park in Google Maps
The cost of the tour is $20.00 for tourists and $15 for locals, includes guide, head helmet, and flash lights. A complete guide to El Choco is online with more details, courtesy of Golden Treasures Villa Rentals.
On Video: Underwater Caves of Cabarete
El Choco National Park and Caves
Callejon de la Loma, Cabarete
Marcos Tel. 809-907-1714
July Tel. 809-984-9823