Posted by: Anni Orekh | August 3, 2011

The Enriquillo Region Ecotourism Corridor

Enriquillo was a Taíno Cacique who rebelled against the Spaniards from 1519 to 1533. His father was killed while attending peace talks with the Spanish, along with eighty other regional chieftains under the direction of his aunt Anacaona in Jaragua. During the talks, Spanish soldiers set the meeting house on fire and proceeded to kill anyone who fled the flames. Enriquillo was then raised in a monastery in Santo Domingo. One of his mentors was Bartolomé de Las Casas

The salt water lake Lago Enriquillo in the Dominican province of Baoruco was named after him. Looking out over it is the Trono de Enriquillo, where he is said to have camped during the rebellion.

This is an important agricultural region for growing fruits, vegetables, bananas and sugar cane. There are two roads to Lago Enriquillo.

The longer and initially the more scenic goes along the lake’s northern edge. However, this route is populated with many small towns with numerous speed bumps and ditches, which makes the going torturous.

These were installed to slow down the Haitian drivers who came across the border to shop, then sped back home recklessly, sometimes hitting pedestrians. The local Dominicans often retaliated by killing the Haitian driver.

In the interest of maintaining good relations between the two peoples, the speed bumps were added which, as one Dominican noted, solved one problem by creating another.

An alternative route is the southern road through Cabral , then turn right at La Colonia to Neyba (also spelled Neiba on some maps) which joins the northern road.

This is the fastest way to Lago Enriquillo and cuts the 2-hour drive down to 90 minutes. Incidentally, the majority of the small villages you’ll pass through are not on any of the maps, so it’s sometimes difficult to know precisely where you are.

Starting the southern route, at Cabral is turnoff into the mountains to the famous Polo Magnetico , a site of considerable debate. This is one of those places where if you park your car it supposedly rolls uphill.

Although some say that this is only an optical illusion, that does not appear to be so. I placed a bottle of water on the road, and the water clearly indicated there was a slight uphill incline. That uphill incline continued over the entire section of the road.

 Discover the Isla Cabritos National Park in the Independencia region!

The park is home to the 200 km² large Lake Enriquillo. The lake lies 30 meters below sea level. Its water is 3 times saltier than the sea. In the center of the lake lies the island Cabritos, the last refuge of the famous native chief Enriquillo.

It has a typical fauna of iguanas, birds (60 different species of red flamingos alone), scorpions, and crocodiles. The climate is very arid and the average rainfall is the lowest in the entire country. Thus, the vegetation mainly consists of cacti (50 mostly endemic species).

The lake is said to be “the biggest reserve of American crocodiles in the world”. More than 400 crocodiles reproduce here and spend their days (usually very warm) lounging around a corner of the lake where a cold river meets the salty water. You will also have the chance to swim – not with the crocodiles, but in the park’s natural sulfate swimming pool (often used in the field of cosmetology for skin care). In the afternoon, hike to the Taíno cave “Las Caritas” and enjoy an amazing panoramic view over the lake and the mountains of Bahoruco.

Continue your journey towards Jimani and the Haitian border to a typical market in the village of Malpasse. On the way back to Barahona, stop in Duverge to swim in the famous natural swimming pool.

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