El Morro
Punta Rucia


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The jewel of the northwest, the border province of Montecristi presents a wild and striking landscape ripe for off-the-beaten-track adventures. Rice plantations, banana fields, goats and giant cacti stand sentry roadside, leading towards salt ponds and onto limestone cliffs hugging a wave-rich Atlantic Ocean. Around this part desert and part Mediterranean-like scenery, thick mangrove tunnels give way to fresh lagoons, while offshore cayes teem with migratory birds, and offer secluded white sand beaches.

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Unpretentious, the town of San Fernando de Montecristi–founded by Nicolás de Ovando in 1501 and named after King Ferdinand of Spain–reveals a rich and inspiring legacy. It’s where Cuban José Martí and Dominican General Máximo Gómez planned for Cuba’s independence from Spain–you can view key documents on display at the Museo Máximo Gómez. Juan Isidro Jiménez, President of the Dominican Republic from 1899 to 1911, hailed from Montecristi, while immigrants flocked from Europe, the United States, and South America during this period to help export the region’s wood and agricultural products. The town was transformed into a major trading port. Few also know that Montecristi is where the Dominican Republic’s first aqueduct, railroad, and telephones were installed.

Sunsets grace the town’s small but beautiful boardwalk and beach, with multiple surrounding hotels and restaurants serving the area’s traditional spicy goat specialty. From your seafront table and from any point in town are unmistakable views of El Morro–the iconic mesa looming over Montecristi like its very own “Table Mountain,” at the foot of which sits a spectacular blond beach. Those who venture off the sand onto the Atlantic Ocean can kitesurf to their heart’s content, or go underwater to explore the coral barrier reef running parallel to El Morro and stretching all the way to Punta Rucia. It’s the largest and healthiest reef in the DR. In the distance, across the bay of Montecristi, the best snorkeling and diving adventures in the country lie off Cayo Siete Hermanos, a series of seven cayes doubling as a primary nesting site of brown boobies and migratory birds.

Last but not least, you’ll want to look out for shipwrecks–Montecristi’s waters are known as the “ship graveyard of the Caribbean,” with over 450 sunken galleons dating back to Columbus’s days, many of which await discovery and study from marine archeologists.

With a wild terrain that leads to inevitable outdoor surprises, Montecristi is where you can live out your own Pirates of the Caribbean adventure.

The main gateway to Montecristi is the Cibao International Airport (STI) in Santiago, followed by the Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP), in Puerto Plata.

Jan 15 - Mar 31

Whale Watching Season

Samana Bay
Watch the 1,500 to 2,000 whales that migrate to the waters of the Samaná Bay on a guided boat tour ...
Feb 23 - Feb 28

Master of the Ocean 2023

Master of the Ocean is considered the most significant open water competition in the region. This ra...


Attractions in Montecristi

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Some of the best bird watching in the Caribbean can be found in Montecristi. Ornithological enthusiasts can spot boobies, brown pelicans, magnificent frigate birds, wood storks, spoonbills, great egrets, a variety of herons, terns, plovers and willets – you may even catch a glimpse of a flock of flamingos near the shore.
Cayo Arena offers schools of tropical fish that can also easily be seen in shallow turquoise waters, making this spot a paradise for snorkeling fans; the area boasts some of the most abundant marine life in the DR, with corals and sponges, and schools of tropical fish swimming around your feet.
Beaches, Boating Attractions, Family-Friendly, Islands + Cayes
Formed by coral sands, they offer a world of underwater exploration and wildlife. Around the cayes’ shores, you’ll spot cacti, iguanas, and crabs. Underwater, submerged forests, sandy bottoms, and large rocky walls make this area a one-stop site for snorkeling, day or night diving.
Boating Attractions, Islands + Cayes, National Parks + Protected Areas, Scuba Diving + Snorkeling, Wildlife Spotting
On the northwestern side of the country, Montecristi is for experienced divers. There are dozens of real shipwrecks from the time of the Spanish armada sunk due to weather and in battle with English and Dutch pirates. Snorkeling is wonderful at the Cayo Siete Hermanos islands. The infamous pirate Francis Drake used Montecristi as a […]
Scuba Diving + Snorkeling, Water Sports
El Morro rises 242 meters (794 feet) above sea level, gracing Montecristi’s coastal scenery with one of the most striking, unique views in DR. The dry, subtropical forest landscape around El Morro is surrounded by extensive stands of mangroves that can be seen up close on foot, or by boat.
Ecotourism, Family-Friendly, Iconic Sights, National Parks + Protected Areas, Wildlife Spotting
Look out for manatees at the Marine Mammal Sanctuary, where a couple of hiking trails lead you towards a protected lagoon, home to the largest number of endangered herbivore West Indian Manatees in DR.
Family-Friendly, Hiking, National Parks + Protected Areas, Wildlife Spotting
Emulating Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, this historic Catholic church stands on one end of the town square, attracting visitors with its 19th century neoclassical-gothic design, striking stained glass windows, and a belfry surrounding an ornate mahogany altar.
Churches, Iconic Sights, Wedding Venues, Weddings & Romance
This small white sand caye lies across the corner from El Morro, just a couple of minutes off the coast of Montecristi, easily accessible by boat for a day out enjoying soft sand, calm turquoise seas, and seclusion near town.
Beaches, Family-Friendly, Islands + Cayes
Montecristi is famous for its diverse offerings of fish and seafood. In Montecristi you can enjoy a good meal at restaurants such as Cocomar, Hotel Marina del Mar and Terraza Doña Ana. Another traditional local favorite is “chivo liniero” (stewed or oven-baked goat) that is served at small roadside restaurants dotted along the Montecristi to […]
The Malecón in Montecristi has become a popular area for locals to enjoy music on the weekends. There are several other spots in town where you can dance to bachata and merengue, sometimes to live music.
Music + Nightlife

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