The city of Hato Mayor is located in the Eastern Region of the Dominican Republic, specifically in the Province of Santiago. Although it is a small province, it is home to a wide variety of incredible places, from caves filled with music, lush beaches, to tantalizing flavor routes like no other.
Being the first region of the country to be declared an ecotourism destination in 2002, it is one of the most exciting places to visit in the Dominican Republic. You will have no doubts when you finish reading this article!
Another interesting fact about Hato Mayor is that it was founded in December 1984, which is why it contains an ecosystem little explored by humans, offering a greater richness of its ecosystem in its purest form.
As we can see, it is a destination that deserves to be added to your travel plan, even if you plan to visit the Dominican Republic with friends, family, children or with your partner. Discovering this tourist spot is a real gift for everyone!
And, like any trip to a new destination, it is always good to be prepared. In the case of Hato Mayor, knowing the best activities and tourist spots in advance will allow you to get the most out of its natural treasures. And see that there is not little you can do in this region!
What is the best time to go to Hato Mayor?
First of all, you should know that the average temperature varies a lot in Hato Mayor throughout the year, which is around 25°C to 32°C. However, the best season to get to know the city is from December to March , since the temperatures are lower and there is little rainfall.
During this time the temperature reaches 27°C, so you will enjoy a warm and pleasant climate to embark on new adventures without any problem.
Top 10: What are the best things to do in Hato Mayor?
Hato Mayor is a region of great tourist interest, but also cultural and historical. Most of its activities can be done during the day or during a weekend getaway. So, in the following list, we will tell you in detail which are the top tourist places in Hato Mayor and that you will definitely love as much as we do.
- Go inside and explore the Fun Fun Cave
It is one of the most popular caves in the country and of great interest to tourists, as it is the largest cave in the Caribbean. It is located about 17 km west of Hato Mayor del Rey, and inside it we find more than 28 km of tunnels and underground gorges.
Considered a natural monument, the Fun Fun cave is located in the extreme southeast of Los Haitises National Park (which we will talk about later). Its name is due to the sound of bats when humans enter its passageways.
The Fun Fun Cave also has a great cultural value, because inside we find examples of pre-Columbian art in the stalactites and stalagmites.
Throughout the city, you will be able to find numerous tour offers, especially those that depart from the resorts. We recommend you take one of them, because in this way you can be part of the included activities. In addition, they will provide you with the necessary equipment (such as pulleys and light bulbs) and guidance at all times.
However, the most popular package among tourists is the one that you can book in advance from the official website of the cave, which includes horseback riding in the middle of the thick tropical jungle of Los Haitises National Park.
The most exciting thing about entering the Fun Fun Cave is that you will be able to experience activities full of adrenaline, but also of great beauty. For example, you will first have to rappel, and then descend 18 meters into its depths until you reach the center of the cave.
It should be noted that the descent may seem complicated for those who are not usually prepared for this type of activity, but reaching the goal will be well worth it.
Not only will you witness one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Dominican Republic, but you will also hear the murmur of the river inside the tunnels and interior spaces of the cave. There is also the possibility of bathing in the river!
You will also feel the climatic difference when entering the heart of the cave in contrast to the outside. A unique experience! So, if you want to live a moment like this, you should definitely schedule a tour of the Fun Fun Cave during your trip to the Caribbean country.
- Enjoy a sunny day at Cueva de la Arena Beach
This site houses an amazing cave and a beautiful beach. However, to reach them it is necessary to arrive by boat. And it is that, this was how the ancient aborigines and pirates arrived in this mythical area. You will arrive as they did from a deep little jetty from their lovely little beach!
In the Cueva de la Arena you will see some pieces of pre-Hispanic paintings, which are traces of the Taino Indians of great cultural value. Also, you will see some bas-reliefs in the shape of human heads.
Another interesting characteristic of the cave is that it has several exits to the sea, since it is bordered parallel to the cliff of the coast of the Bay of Samaná, so you will have several accesses to the sea in several of its viewpoints with excellent views. Panoramic views of the National Park where it is located.
You will feel that you are looking at the landscape from a balcony carved by nature!
In addition, the cave has an extension of about 940 meters. Without a doubt, it is a magnificent experience. And, in addition, you will see a large colony of bats while you cross the many puddles or small lagoons of water that filter through the cracks in the floor and the walls of the cave.
- Tour through Los Haitises National Park
Another incredibly fun activity that you can do in Hato Mayor del Rey is a tour of the Los Haitises National Park. You can book a site guide at any agency in the city, who will pick you up in a coach, which is a small bus.
During this tour, you will be able to visit the Cueva de la Arena described above, as it is usually included in the tour. In fact, the tour includes 4 stops in its itinerary:
- Stop at the beach of Cayo Levantado.
- Los Haitises National Park.
- Stop at Montaña Redonda to enjoy panoramic views at the top of the mountain.
- Speedboat ride through the bay of Samaná.
The Round Mountain offers a beautiful view, and you can enjoy Samaná Beach for at least an hour and a half. Likewise, during the boat ride you will be able to appreciate the beautiful surrounding landscapes, such as paradisiacal islands and wild nature. As you can see, this is an essential tour.
You will travel to the mountains, caves and towns of Cayo Levantado, Los Haitises National Park and Montaña Redonda, a complete Dominican experience. On the other hand, this excursion includes breakfast and lunch full of local flavor.
And once the boat excursion is over, you will have enough time to swim, snorkel, or sunbathe, while you enjoy a tasty lunch of fresh fish next to the beach. Finally, you will border Los Haitises National Park, and you will enter a key full of birds of various species, which migrate in this area before passing through a natural mangrove swamp on their return.
- Discover the Chocolate Route and enchant your palate with its flavor
The Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean destinations with a recognized production of cocoa, both in grain and powder, which is exported to many countries such as Germany or Switzerland, for its unique flavor and purity.
Therefore, following this popular route will not only allow you to learn more about the country and its gastronomic culture, but it will also give you the opportunity to directly appreciate this tempting food for the palate.
Thus, one of the most popular routes takes place in Vicentillo-Yabón, near Hato Mayor del Rey. We also recommend the tour of the Los Botados area in El Seibo. During the guide, you will discover everything about chocolate, from its origin, types and cultivation, to the different methods for its preparation.
And tasting chocolate is not the only thing you will try on this tour, as you can also pamper your palate with other flavors, such as delicious Creole dishes or products made with a cocoa base, such as rich cocoa jam, liqueurs, and butter.
Do not forget to make your reservation at least one day in advance, since this tour is usually very crowded by travelers. As you can see, getting to know Hato Mayor is not only enjoying incredible natural landscapes, but also a collection of unforgettable and unique activities to remember.
- St. Lawrence Bay
San Lorenzo Bay is a beautiful and welcoming place that offers many things to see and do. If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the sun and the sea, or if you want to explore the history and culture of the Dominican Republic, then say no more and include this destination in your itinerary.
In this wonderful place there are numerous activities to do and discover. Here, the endemic animals and the landscapes coexist in perfect harmony, so you should have your camera at hand, since you will want to take many photos.
Some of the sites that you cannot miss include the Cueva del Ferrocarril or the Cueva de la Boca de Tiburón. Also of great tourist interest is the San Gabriel Cavern, which is usually called the “Cathedral”, since it has hills that reach 350 meters in height.
The beaches cannot be missing in this area either, which is why we find some of the most impressive in the country. For example, Punta Arena beach is one of the busiest for visitors who stay in Punta Cana.
However, other of the most recommended beaches are Punta El Chino, and Punta Almendro beach. In addition, during your stay you will be able to taste some delicious Creole dishes and buy beautiful pieces of handicrafts to take as souvenirs.
During the tour you will also find an old train station, called “Muelle de la Perla”, which was built at the end of the 19th century, for the transfer of agricultural products such as cocoa and coffee.
Upon arrival, you will find a series of iron capitals integrated into the surrounding nature as if it were part of the landscape itself. In fact, many lovely seabirds such as pelicans and gannets use them as a rest stop.
Without a doubt, it is a mandatory stop that will make you travel back in time. In addition, it is one of the most chosen scenarios by tourists to take incredible photos. So be sure to bring your camera or mobile phone to capture a unique moment during your vacation in the region.
- Immerse yourself in the waters of Salto de Yanigua
If what you are looking for is to immerse yourself in refreshing waters, then you cannot miss the Salto de Yanigua, which is an impressive waterfall that flows into a natural pool, perfect for connecting with nature in a relaxing bath.
El Salto de Agua is located about 10 km from the community of El Valle, between Hato Mayor and Sabana de la Mar. If you travel or are on an excursion with your friends, family or partner, it is an ideal place to spend an exciting time but fun.
In fact, the waterfall is the center of lush and abundant vegetation, with red amber mines, with red amber and mineral coal mines around it. The blue shales, a raw material used as a body mask to exfoliate the skin, will allow you to leave the site completely refreshed and energized.
- Take a day at the beach in Hato Mayor
Although Hato Mayor does not have many beaches, the few that we find in this region are really exuberant and even seem to have been taken straight from a postcard, and where the desire to enter the beach is more than welcome.
Among some of the most outstanding beaches in Hato Mayor, we have: Las Canitas, Punta Arena, Sabana de la Mar, and Playa de Muerto Capitán.
The sand on its beaches is very fine and soft, with crystal clear waters with a range of blue tones, ranging from turquoise to brilliant greenish blue. Many tourists affirm that it is a pleasure to bathe in them, as it produces a relaxing effect.
In essence, Hato Mayor offers you the opportunity to continue the fun with a day at the beach in the best Caribbean and Dominican style. In addition, these beautiful beaches are ideal to have a great time with your loved ones and friends, even doing a little surfing, diving, and much more. Don’t stop going!
Like many small towns, Hato Mayor also offers a charming atmosphere, especially for being located in this Caribbean destination. There are so many activities and adventures to do, that we fall short when it comes to convincing you why you should visit this city.
However, it is a perfect tourist destination whether you want to use it as a place of arrival on a weekend getaway, or if you want to spend your vacation in the Dominican Republic without missing a thing. You will fall so in love with Hato Mayor del Rey that it will be difficult to want to leave!