Dominican Republic // The southwest //

Reserva Arqeológica El Pomier

El Pomier (daily 9.30am–5pm; RD$50 for park entrance, plus RD$500 for a guide; bring your own torch and wear boots) lies 10km north of the Casa Caoba fork and protects the most extensive collection of cave pictographs in the Caribbean – some as many as 2000 years old – though this claim to notoriety draws strangely few visitors. There are three major sets of caves, the other two being Borbón and Santa María; El Pomier is the only one open to the public.

Upon arrival, you’ll be assigned a park guide (Spanish only) who will take you to the first of three enormous, easily accessible chambers, two of which hold a variety of Taino pictographs. In addition to scattered depictions of various birds and animals (which were once used for religious rituals) there are a number of interesting geological formations and one cave filled with thousands of bats. If you want to see the best petroglyphs, though, you’re in for a bit of an adventure, including rappelling down some steep cave walls. Domingo Abreu (682-1577, [email protected]) runs regular trips to El Pomier from Santo Domingo for independent tourists and is the best person to contact if you want to go to the more spectacular, but somewhat inaccessible, caves.

Transport to El Pomier is via RD$10 pick-up trucks stationed at the north end of the San Cristóbal town market on Calle Juanto María and Francisco Peynado. They don’t take off until the entire truck fills up, so you may want to travel instead via RD$50 motoconcho, which you can also pick up at the market.