Things to do in Valverde: Live an authentic ecotourism adventure!

If you want to enjoy beautiful sunsets and impressive beaches with emerald-hued waters, then you must make a stop in the province of Valverde during your visit to the Dominican Republic.

Valverde is very famous for its sunsets, in fact, it is called “Land of the Beautiful Sunsets” both for the inhabitants of the region and for foreign tourists. So, one of the things to do in this beautiful province is to see the “red” sky at sunset. It will disconnect you from the stress of everyday life!

In addition to this, Valverde is a region that keeps numerous natural landscapes full of charm and vibrant colors. For sure, this province and its treasures will leave you with indelible memories to take home with satisfaction.So, keep reading, because we will tell you below the best things to do in Valverde if you decide to take a weekend getaway or a full day to get a complete experience of the Caribbean country beyond the most popular and crowded areas.

Why visit Valverde in the Dominican Republic?

First of all, the province of Valverde is located in the extreme northwestern part of the country. It borders with other very famous provinces, such as Puerto Plata, Santiago and Montecristi. In addition, it is made up of 3 municipalities: Santa Cruz de Mao, Esperanza and Laguna Salada.

One of the main attractions of Valverde is that from this territory we can get impressive views of the Cibao Valley, as well as enjoy some of the most beautiful and perfect natural pools to connect with nature, such as Brisas del Río Mao, Boquerón and the Garza puddle.

In particular, Santa Cruz de Mao, also known only as Mao, is the capital of Valverde, and beyond that, it contains a large part of the most fascinating natural spas, and which, every year, attracts national travelers to spend some relaxing vacation away from the masses at any time of the year.

The name of this municipality comes from a Taíno word that means “Land between rivers”, since it is the territorial center of the rivers: Río Mao, Río Yaque del Norte and Río Gurabo. Therefore, it is to be expected that in it we will find a great diversity of water flows to take a dip and share quality time and rest with our loved ones and friends.

It should be noted that, historically, Valverde was a region called “El Despoblado”, since after the arrival of the Spanish, very few people lived in the area.

In addition, it was founded in 1959 with the name Valverde in honor of the Dominican military and president José Desiderio Valverde, who also played a fundamental role during the Restoration War.

On the other hand, although it is not a very crowded area for tourists, it also offers one of the island’s territories with the greatest abundance of endemic flora and fauna along with many of its best northern landscapes and natural pools, with rivers and refreshing waterfalls.

One of the most outstanding places in the Ánima Spa, located in the Ámina National Park. And also others such as Charco de la Garza, La Compuerta, El Chorro, Brisas del Rio Mao, and many more with crystal clear waters capable of transmitting a lot of calm and relaxation.

When is the best time to visit this province?

The best time to quietly enjoy the province of Valverde is between the months of December to April , because in this season we appreciate a much warmer climate and no rain.

In addition, the months with the most rainfall are between July and November, so although you can enjoy an exciting vacation, it will also be accompanied by some rain. You just have to be prepared with a good raincoat and suitable clothing!

Top 5: Best things to do in Valverde

Without a doubt, Valverde has some of the natural treasures that ecotourism lovers will fall in love with. For more details and valuable information about this province waiting to be discovered, keep reading our list of the best things to do in Valverde.

1.Get to know the main municipality of Valverde and walk its streets: Mao

We start our top with Mao. This capital municipality of Valverde was established as a community in 1882, and although it is not a very touristy place, in it we find a large number of fountains and pools of water to enjoy.

As we mentioned before, its name comes from the Taíno word to designate this area as a “Land between rivers”, since it is surrounded by the Mao River, the Gurabo River and the Yaque del Norte River.

In fact, it is this advantage that has allowed its agricultural and livestock development for many years, since the rivers function as a natural irrigation system to make its land much more fertile and arable. They have been used since the 20th century, making it one of their main economic activities, becoming massive producers of rice and plantain.

So, when walking through its streets you will see a large number of Victorian-style houses, but with bright colors that adorn the streets, which have been adapted to the Caribbean style, so their tones will not fail to capture your attention. Also, you cannot miss the Monument to the heroes of the La Barranquita Battle.

And it is that, although it is a little-known province, the inhabitants of yesteryear had a very active role in the different battles that were fought. Thus, in the year 1863, the Maeños provided their combat services in the Restoration War.

In more recent years, specifically on July 3, 1916, another of the most important battles took place, who faced the first North American intervention on the island, emerging victorious. That is why this Monument was raised to honor its heroes.

Therefore, you can find this Monument on the road that leads to the municipality of Esperanza. In addition, you can end your tour by visiting the Agua Azul tourist complex, which offers an atmosphere full of fun and entertainment, with swimming pools, restaurants, a bar, and much more, for travelers who come to the area.

Source: @mao_valverde_ciudad

2.Discover new flavors in its rich and varied gastronomy

As we mentioned in previous lines, Valverde is a region that stands out for its high production of bananas, rice (in fact, it covers almost 50% of the country’s exports), tobacco, fruits, and other minor products.

Many of these foods and products are also used locally, which gives us an infinite number of dishes and delicacies that will delight your palate. Some of the dishes that you will enjoy as much as we do are: spicy goat or line goat, which is a spicy meat stew seasoned with oregano and herbs, and you can accompany it with Monción cassava.

Source: @duarte36mao

3.Take a walk through the Parque Amado Franco Bidó and other structures of great historical and cultural importance

Parks have the attraction of providing a safe and pleasant space to take a walk, relax and share an afternoon with friends, partner, family, or even other people in the area. The Amado Franco Bidó Park is one of those environments where dozens of Dominicans meet every afternoon to relax in the middle of a natural environment and take a walk.

What stands out most about this environment for recreation is that it has a beautiful gazebo, some monuments and a small lake with a bridge to spend a pleasant and different afternoon. And, in addition, to contemplate the beautiful sunset!

This park was created on April 11, 1910, and since then it has been one of the most important jewels of the city. In fact, in 1925 he changed his name to Amado Franco Bidó, since he was a person of great importance for the care of the community.

Another of the most striking aspects of the Park and its surroundings is that you will be able to admire numerous Victorian houses, which we told you about earlier. They not only stand out for their beautiful colors, but also for their designs and structures, unusual in a Caribbean country.

As a curious fact, the construction of these houses was promoted by a family of Belgian origin: the Bogaert brothers, who, being immigrants established in the Dominican Republic, decided to add an architectural touch from their country in the design of these houses. There is not a single traveler who does not marvel at them!

Another of the parks that we can find in Mao is the Centennial Park, which offers us detailed and important information about the events that occurred in the province. In the same way, it is an excellent environment to interact with the inhabitants, who usually meet to spend the afternoon in the area.

Nor can you miss taking a look at other of the most iconic structures with a lot of history in the city, such as the Ladies Center, located on February 27th street.

In fact, this house was founded by Amado Franco Bidó himself in support of other Dominican activists. It currently holds the title of Heritage of the Maeño People, granted in 2011, during the date of the celebration of its centenary. 

Source: @mao_valverde_ciudad

4.Be part of the alternative Carnival celebration if you are in the region during these dates

One of the best experiences to enjoy on a Caribbean vacation, especially if it is in the Dominican Republic, is to be part of the colorful Carnival celebrations.

In Mao, this festivity began in 198, but later, in 1992, the well-known alternative carnival arose, due to the celebration of the fifth centenary of the discovery of America, for which various social groups from the neighborhoods meet to perform a variation of this festivity.

Two years later, on February 17, 1994, the Carnival Union of Valverde (Ucava) was finally created, proceeding to the organization of the carnival held in this province. The UCAVA is currently made up of 20 groups, such as Los Infernales, Somby, Los Exóticos Bailarines, and many more.

As we can see, it is a celebration in style, where hundreds of people and musical groups gather to dress up, dance to the rhythm of Caribbean music, and other outdoor activities that will not leave you indifferent.

Source: @shoityscarnavalgroup

5.Take a dip in one or more of Mao’s natural spas

There is no doubt that natural spas are excellent places to relax in the middle of nature. And in Mao we find some of the most impressive on the entire island. And it is that, by opening new ecotourism routes in this region, this has helped these spas begin to enjoy greater popularity, especially among international visitors.

Some of the most charming and impressive natural pools and waterfalls are: Brisas del Río Mao, also known by the locals as the famous “Titilito”. It is ideal for taking a dip at any time, even any season of the year.

This river also offers a very calm and welcoming green area. In fact, it offers a suitable environment to play a game of dominoes or any other board game with friends and loved ones.

On the other hand, the locals take advantage of this spa to cool off during the summer, and make this season more exciting and free from the intense heat. Don’t forget to take advantage of your visit to enjoy other natural spaces, such as Charco de la Garza, Boquerón, or the areas around the Yaque del Norte river.

Without a doubt, one of the things that you will most admire about these water sources is their abundant vegetation. They are also spaces of great beauty for photography lovers, since here they will be able to capture beautiful sunsets with flora full of life, and specimens of wildlife rarely seen in other areas of the Caribbean.

Source: @balneariobrisasdel_rio

Final words

Although tourism still needs to be further developed in Valverde, its inhabitants continue to work to promote this sector, and are also known for their ecotourism work, in addition to their position as livestock and agricultural producers.

In fact, Mao currently has numerous hotels, such as La Hora Azul, or the Novus, which offer a sustainable and quality lodging service for visitors. Therefore, we are in a region that is just beginning to become a reference ecotourism destination.

In addition, with such beautiful natural spas and abundant vegetation, so visited by Dominicans, parks and restaurants to eat delicious typical dishes, and other tourist gems, Valverde is an area with great potential to become a mandatory stop for international travelers. Don’t let them tell you and live the experience of meeting her!

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