The “Wildlife Refuge Laguna Bavaro,” in Punta Cana, on the country’s easternmost region, recently opened after an agreement was signed between the Ministry of the Environment and the “La Altagracia” Province Tourism Cluster. The agreement allows for visitors to take guided tours of the wildlife refuge.
The refuge is situated, in some cases, some 20 minutes by car from most of the region’s major hotels. Some hotels are close enough so that visitors can actually walk to the refuge. The tour caters to visitors interested in eco-tourism. Within the refuge there is a fresh-water 17 square kilometer natural pool, located very near the “Cabeza del Toro” destination, known for its international fishing tournaments. The wildlife refuge has registered 223 species of native and endemic plants, including four types of mangrove trees, 86 species of birds (eight of which are endemic to the island), five species of amphibians, 11 species of reptiles and various species of freshwater fish.
This wildlife refuge features impressive pristine mangrove forests and lush tropical surroundings. It is truly the perfect spot for the international tourist or the nature lover in general, to become familiar with the country’s wildlife.
A Fish Unique to the Region of Higuey
One of the lagoon’s main attractions is the fish known as the “Higuey Cypronodon.” The term Higuey (also the name of the eastern region’s most important city) comes from the Tainos – the native inhabitants who lived in these lands before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1492. The Tainos called the entire region by this name. Other species found in the lagoon are the fresh-water snapper and the tarpon, among others.