Eight kilometers west of Sabana de la Mar, Parque Nacional Los Haitises is certainly the best reason to visit this small bayside town. Its name means ‘land of the mountains’, and this 1375-sq-km park at the southwestern end of the Bahía de Samaná indeed contains scores of lush hills jutting some 30m to 50m from the water and coastal wetlands. The knolls were formed one to two million years ago, when tectonic drift buckled the thick limestone shelf that had formed underwater. The turnoff to the park is near the crossroads of Hwys 104 and 103, at the south end of town (near the bus stop). The road is passable in a normal car but pretty rough. The western side of the park is accessed via the new DR-7 highway to Samaná, about 75km north of Santo Domingo.