Oviedo Lagoon, Jaragua National Park
Oviedo Lagoon is one of several showpiece sites within the larger (165,448 ha) Jaragua National Park. The wetlands support more than 20,000 waterbirds including the West Indian Whistling-Duck and regionally important populations of Caribbean Flamingo, Brown Pelican, Sandwich Tern, Least Tern, Sooty Tern, Roseate Spoonbill, and White Ibis, as well as other waders and shorebirds. Hispaniolan Parrot, Hispaniolan Parakeet, and White-necked Crow occur in these forested areas. Jaragua National Park is one of the best managed national park in the country. All of this owes to coordination by Grupo Jaragua.
At the visitor’s center you may pay the small entrance fee and then climb the viewing tower for a nice overlook of the lagoon. To experience a close look at American Flamingo, Roseate Spoonbill, and White Ibis, as well as other waders, shorebirds, gulls, terns, and pelicans, a boat trip on the lagoon is recommended. The cost is about RD$ 2,000.00 (US$ 70) for a boat-full of up to eight people (in 2010). A longer trip down the lagoon passes an island where White Ibis nest. The White-necked Crow and the endemic sub-species of the Yellow Warbler may be seen in the mangrove woodland shore.
A second nearby site, Fondo Paradí, lies approximately 4 km (2.5 miles) south of the small community of Tres Charcos, which itself is just west of the Oviedo Lagoon. Exploration in the area will turn up a variety of species which favor low thorn scrub habitats, including White-winged Dove, Zenaida Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Vervain Hummingbird, Stolid Flycatcher, Black-whiskered Vireo, Northern Mockingbird, Prairie Warbler, Palm Warbler, Green-tailed Ground-Tanager, and Greater Antillean Bullfinch.
Target species include West Indian Whistling- Duck, American Flamingo, Brown Pelican, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Caribbean Coot, Semipalmated Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Sooty Tern, Least Tern, Sandwich Tern, White- crowned Pigeon, White- necked Crow, Yellow Warbler
To reach the lagoon, head south along the Barahona waterfront for about 1.5 hours. There is a large national park sign confirming your arrival. Enter by turning off of the main highway onto a small dirt road on your left where you will soon encounter the visitor’s center.
- Entrance fee: Dominicans $RD 20, Foreigners $RD 50
- Website: www.grupojaragua.org.do (in spanish)