Loma Quita Espuela is a 9,247 ha scientific reserve that protects five hills about 15 km (9.3 miles) north-east of the city of San Francisco de Macorís in northern Dominican Republic. At lower elevations you will encounter shaded cacao plantations which will frequently yield Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo, Ovenbird, and Black-crowned Palm-Tanager. Further on there are agricultural fields and grazing lands; look here for Yellow-faced Grassquit, Hispaniolan Oriole, and Greater Antillean Grackle. The main Trail of the Clouds rises through moist broadleaf forest where Bicknell’s Thrush over-winter, Ruddy Quail-Dove are common, and endemic Hispaniolan Parrot and Hispaniolan Parakeet may occasionally be seen. While the Loma Quita Espuela Scientific Reserve is under the direction of the office of Protected Areas and Biodiversity, it is managed under a co-management agreement by the Loma Quita Espuela Foundation.
From the park house, the trail is 2.8 km (1.7 miles), straight up and with no steps. This reserve is very large and visiting the areas away from the main trail must be approved in advance. For extended trips, you will need camping equipment and a park guard or approved guide to accompany you. You should probably intend to stay a few days and have a planned research program or other activity.
Target species include Scaly- naped Pigeon, Ruddy Quail- Dove, Hispaniolan Lizard- Cuckoo, Antillean Mango, Hispaniolan Emerald, Vervain Hummingbird, Hispaniolan Trogon, Broad- billed Tody, Narrow- billed Tody, Antillean Piculet, Hispaniolan Pewee, Stolid Flycatcher, Rufous- throated Solitaire, Bicknell’s Thrush, Worm- eating Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hispaniolan Spindalis, Yellow- faced Grassquit, Antillean Euphonia.
To reach San Francisco de Macorís from Santo Domingo you must drive north of Santo Domingo on the Autopista Duarte, the main south-to-north highway in the country. After a drive of about an hour and a half, watch for the right-hand exit for San Francisco de Macorís. The road continues for 20 km (12.4 miles). Continue straight ahead until you come to a well marked fork by the park. Take the left hand fork, which will then bend to the right. Continue straight until reaching Av. 27 de Febrero. Take a left and continue on this road which will change its name to Caonabo. Look for a left turn onto Av. Del Jaya. There is a sign here for Urb. Almanzar. Take this left and go straight to a T-intersection. The office for the Loma Quita Espuela Foundation is there. You must first stop here to pay admission and arrange your visit.
To reach the reserve, you return to Caonabo and back track to Av. Castillo. Take this left-hand turn and continue, crossing Libertad, and continuing on for 8 km (5.0 miles). Turn left at a sign for the reserve and continue for 0.5 km (0.3 mile) to the park house.