Dominican Republic is made up of twenty-four provinces. Nine of these provinces are located in the northern coast of the island. The province of Monte Cristi is situated at the edge of Dominican Republic, almost beside Haiti. The main city of Monte Cristi is the city of San Fernando de Monte Cristi. Because of its natural exquisiteness, the whole city of Monte Cristi is recognized by the UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites. Monte Cristi embraces an area of 1,924 square kilometer and has a population of more than one-hundred thousand according to the census conducted in 2002.
Monte Cristi was founded during the 1500’s. It used to be a major trading port from thr 15th century up to 19th century. Products such as crops, mahogany and sugar are exported to Europe. As of now, there is an estimated thirty thousand Monte Cristi locals who makes living from salt flats, fishing and farming.
Since June 2006, Monte Cristi has been divided into six municipalities. Two of which has municipal districts within them. The municipalities are Castanuela having one municipal district – the Palo Verde, Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Villa Vasquez, Guayubin having three municipal districts (Cana Chapeton, Villa Elisa and Hatillo Palma), Pepillo Salcedo and the capital city called San Fernando de Monte Cristi.
For those who cannot appreciate the beauty of Monte Cristi, they may say that this is a part of the Dominican Republic that would not draw tourists to come. But one can actually find many tourist attractions here in Monte Cristi including the two excellent beaches namely El Morro and Cayo Cabrita. The two beaches are popular for tourists who wanted to explore the deep waters of Dominican Republic. Three hundred meters away from El Morro is a site called Isla Cabrita. This is a place where scuba divers enjoy the most. Isla Cabrita is not only a home for panoramic sceneries and lighthouse but several shipwrecks as well. Divers can still see the remains of the galleons used during the colonial-era in Dominican Republic.
Monte Cristi also has a national park called the Parque Nacional Monte Cristi. The national park is a home for more than 150 different bird species and at least 10 various species of reptiles. It has a slightly tropical forest, and artificial and natural lagoons. Parque Nacional Monte Cristi has its own main attraction which is the Mesa that stands 900 foot high. The Mesa of the national park is overlooking the sea with scattered islands known as the Seven Brothers or Los Siete Hermanos. In these islands, large sea turtles visit to lay their eggs.
Most inhabitants of Monte Cristi are Christians. The region barely has non-Catholic residents living in the area. Therefore, every year, people come together to celebrate the Carnival like the rest of the islands in the Caribbean. The celebration lasts until the Easter Sunday of the year and up to the 30th day of May. The festival is observed in honer of their patron saint – Saint Fernando.