Republica Dominicana

FLORA AND FAUNA

The Dominican Republic is the perfect tourist destination for those who enjoy relaxing on the beach or enjoying the wonders that the nature of the country has to offer. In addition to spending time soaking up the warm rays of the sun on the many beautiful beaches, travellers have the ability to see the incredible variety of plants, trees, birds, reptiles and other animal life in 16 National Parks, 9 natural monuments, and 6 scientific reserves all of which are under the direction control of the National Parks Office.

Plants and animal life vary by region. With approximately 8,000 plant species, the Dominican Republic's flora is clearly very varied. The island has 300 varieties of orchids and, many tropical fruits such as mangos, passion fruits, and plants such as tobacco and sugar cane. The most common is the subtropical forest, which is the lush, green, and exotic landscape usually associated with the Caribbean. There are various species of trees that live on the coasts in between the high cliffs and in the highland regions, you can see mountain forests with palms, pines, ferns and hundreds of different species of orchid.

The Dominican does not have many mammals. Most of the ones you see in the country today - dogs, cats, pigs, boars, horses, rats and mice - were introduced by the Europeans. There are only two endemic land mammals in Hispaniola: the solenodon and the hutia, both small rodents. It is not like to come across either of these animals firstly because they are both nocturnal, but also because they are believed to be extinct. There are not many reptiles in the country however it is very common to see small lizards throughout the country. Other amphibian species unique to the Dominican are endangered.

In addition to swimming in the warm crystal clear waters on the many beaches in Dominican, Scuba diving and snorkelling are two of the most popular activities on a trip to the Dominican Republic. This activity provides the opportunity to see an underwater life consisting of a variety of coral types and species and a very lively aquatic population. There are hundreds of species in both the fringing reef and the bank/barrier reef including: corals, sponges, worms, molluscs, crabs, lobsters and many fish. One of the principal breeding grounds in the world for humpback whales is off the north coast of the Dominican Republic so here and other spots closer to the mainland have become quite popular for whale-watching during January, February and March.

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