Cayos Siete Hermanos is a series of off-shore islands that form a wildlife refuge. The islands of Torurú, Monte Chico and Terrero form the closest group to the mainland, while Monte Grande, Ratas, Muerto and Arenas make up the more distant, westward group. For birdwatchers, the cays are known for their easily accessed nesting seabirds. Brown Noddy, Sooty Tern and Bridled Tern nest in the largest numbers, but other species are also present and may be readily seen. Shorebirds can be especially numerous, but one should also look for a distinct subspecies of the Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia chlora) which has been described as endemic to the Cayos Siete Hermanos.
The Cayos Siete Hermanos are reached via boat with a local guide. The best sites for birdwatching are found at Cayos Arenas, Terrero, and Monte Chico. During the months of May through August, the islands are home to nesting seabirds with the most significant seabird colonies reported from Monte Chico and Ratas islands. In addition to the islands, take the time to look for Clapper Rails in the mangroves near the dock.
Clapper Rail, Black-bellied Plover, American Oystercatcher, Brown Noddy, Sooty Tern, Bridled Tern, Roseate Tern, Sandwich Tern, Yellow Warbler
Monte Cristi can be reached by taking Ave. John F. Kennedy in Santo Domingo to the Autopista Duarte and heading north. After reaching Santiago, follow the highway signs to Monte Cristi on the Carretera Duarte. Once in Monte Cristi, you will be on Calle Duarte. Continue straight ahead, passing a prominent intersection. Just after passing a prominant park on your left turn right at a traffic light onto Avenida San Fernando. In less than 3 km (1.9 miles) you will cross through some salt pans, over a low bridge, and past a prominent beach-side hotel. Just past the hotel, and on the right, is the Club Nautico and the embarcadero. Make your reservations here for boat trips. Ask for Giovanni Mendez (809-478-2468). You may also continue another 2 km (1.2 miles) to the national park headquarters at Morro Beach.