Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos
The national park takes its name from the island of Cabritos (12km-long, 2km-wide), which, along with the smaller and rarely visited islands of Barbarita and Islita, lie in the middle of the country's largest lake.
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Occupying an area of 200 sq. km and with extremely salty water, Lago Enriquillo is probably more accurately described as a small sea. Indeed, about a million years ago it was part of a channel which linked the Bay of Neiba in the Dominican Republic and the Bay of Port-au-Prince in Haiti. Over time, sediments deposited by the Rio Yaque del Sur gradually closed off the mouth of the bay, thereby isolating the lake from the sea. Since much of the lake is below sea level sometimes as much as 40 meters below sea level the environment is hot, dry and desert-like.
Flora and fauna: With temperatures rising to 50°C and low annual rainfall, the vegetation is dominated by several species of cacti. The neobottia treecactus is endemic, while other varieties such as cayuco, alpargata and cholla cactus are also present.
Most people visit the park to see one of the largest American crocodile populations in the world. These impressive creatures are best viewed in the early morning or late afternoon when they come out of the water to warm up under the sun. During the day, they like to escape the heat by retreating to the deeper areas of the lake. Other wildlife, found on the shores of the lake and the islands, include rhinoceros iguanas, ricord iguanas, pink flamingos, several types of heron, and the ubiquitous - but not always that obvious - Hispaniolan parrot.
Access: Payment of a small fee gives you access to Lago Enriquillo, where you can walk along its shores and swim in a freshwater pool. Another permit is required if you want to go across to Cabritos. Boats leave in the morning, but only if they have enough people. What most people do is arrive at the entrance at bit before the time of departure and get together with others wanting to make the trip. The entrance to Lago Enriquillo and the main office of the Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos is about 2km east of the town of La Descubierta.