La Romana Destination
In this topic we are going to introduce you and give you more information about the destination ´La Romana` and its surroundings. It is a beautiful and unique area in the southeast of the Dominican Republic.
We will tell you more about Bayahibe, which is a small and tranquil fishing town located around 18.5 miles/30 km southeast of La Romana, set right at the entrance of the ´National park del Este` and the starting point for the excursions to Saona Island. It has two beautiful beaches to offer, various dive sites and many more interesting things to do.
There is more to show about the important arrival and departure destinations in La Romana. On one hand, there is with one terminal the small but international airport La Romana, Casa de Campo where you can enter the Dominican Republic from your home country. On the other hand, is the right at the outskirts of La Romana located cruise ship port. This port was long the only spot for cruise ships to land in the country and is the perfect destination to go on land and discover the amazing south coast with its flair and rich nature.
One excursion in the La Romana is an adventurous trip into the picturesque Chavon river valley and the existent rainforest. The waters of the River Chavon are flowing down through the jungle into to open sea. It also was used as set for Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Apocalypse Now and many more.
We will share more information with you about Dominicus, a part of Bayahibe a bit further south, where one of the stunning beaches is located as well as more about the indigenous and historic villages Boca de Yuma and Cumayasa. Last but not least we will introduce the luxurious resort Casa de Campo with its extraordinary golf court and residents area where you can rent or buy the home you have ever dreamed of.
When you spend your holidays in the Region of La Romana in the Dominican Republic, there is no way getting around the town Bayahibe. This picturesque little fishing village is not only a nice spot to visit, it is also an important gateway to many different ´must-do’s` and ´must-see’s`in the Dominican Republic.
Only a 20 minutes drive eastwards from the city La Romana, at the caribbean southcoast is Bayahibe located. It is an traditional and tranquil village where locals and tourists mingle just as if it were the most normal thing to do. In this friendly atmosphere it is easy to fully enjoy the beautiful scenery of the small marina with its terrific sunset views and delicious restaurants.
Moreover, Bayahibe is located right next to the National park of the East (Parque National Del Este), where still a rich wildlife and breathtaking caves can be found and the history of the indigenous Taino indians is feelable. Special tours into the jungle, together with river cruises on the River Chavon and through its Hollywood famous gorge, brings tourists closer to natur and cultur of the Dominican Republic by visiting local jungle farms and sanctuaries.
The most common reason why visitors come to Bayahibe is, because here the excursions to the country`s biggest and worldwide well known Island Saona start. Saona Island is popular because of its postcard like silky soft white sandy beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. Island tours are mostly combined with stops at unique natural pools in the Caribbean Sea, cruises through mangrove forests and snorkle trips, where the colourful and diverse sea life can be discovered. For those who want to dip deeper into this underwater paradise offer Bayahibe`s dive centres all kind of dive excursions for every level and in different locations.
Don`t miss this pearl on the Dominican`s southcoast!
La Romana Airport
Normally your vacation starts with a flight from your home country to an airport in the Dominican Republic. The closest airport to Bayahibe (12.5 miles/20 km) is the La Romana International Airport - Casa de Campo (LRM).
The history of the airport begun back in the late 1960’s with a small dirt airfield for private and fumigation aircrafts. Then in the 1970’s the runway was extended and asphalt was applied to allow bigger aircrafts to use the airport. With the growing industry and tourism in the area, the airport received 1978 the authorization as an international airport for passengers. Finally, due to the increasing numbers of flights and passengers the Central Romana Corporation Ltd. rebuilt the airport for 100 million dollars and reopened it in December 2000.
Today, there are arriving and departing flights from and to domestic destinations as well as countries like the USA, Canada, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy and many more. The actual airport has one terminal building with an arrival and departure terminal. The airport has 4 departure gates, 2 arrival baggage belts and all other amenities you can find in other airports like shops and a food court.
Every tourist who enters the country and does not hold a visa or residence has to fill out an immigration form and has to purchase a tourist card, which is valid for a stay up to 30 days, for 10$. Be prepared to have cash with you to pay the card as it is not possible to pay with cards.
There are always taxis available at the airport. A trip to Bayahibe with up to 5 persons costs 35$. If you want to rent a car the companies AVIS, Budget, Europcar and Hertz are located at the airport. Some hotels offer their customers a pick-up service.
As there is no direct public transport to Bayahibe available you have to consider one of the possibilities mentioned above.
La Romana Cruise Port
La Romanas other ´port of entry` for tourists, next to the airport, is the cruise port. The cruise port is situated at the junction of the River Chavon and the Caribbean Sea and lies between La Romana and Casa de Campo. This particular port has a central channel and two berths. On the west side lays the West Berth, which serves the cruise ships as pier as well as for loading tons of sugar and molasses for the export from the nearby sugar cane fields. On the other side is the East Berth, exclusively for the landing of cruise ships. The port is owned and operated by the Central Romana Corporation and was extended in 2002.
The Port of La Romana was built 1890 and was originally made of wood and used for 25 years mainly to export tropical wood in various kinds like mahagony, cedar or guyacan. From 1912 on, the production of sugar cane, which was exported to Puerto Rico to make sugar out of it, used the port more and more. Until 1984 it was one of the largest destinations for the sugar cane export industry. The diversification of the operating company and the rising tourism in the region led them to rebuild the pier as a cruise and tourist pier with bars, restaurants, shops and many more facilities in their terminal. Finally the second tourist terminal was built in 2002. Nowadays the port operates more than 100 cruise ships in one season and brings a continuous flow of tourists to La Romana and the region.
Tourists have a lot of options to do at the port, in La Romana or the surrounding. Passengers can easily book a tour on land, as tour agents can be found either on the ships or directly at the pier.
Aside from Bayahibe and just a short drive further south, lays the modern and upscale village of Dominicus Americanus.
Right there is one of Bayahibe’s two stunning public beaches located. If you want THE Caribbean experience, then you have to go and see this pristine beach with its soft white sand, palm trees and of course the calm, clear and warm turquoise water. For sea life enthusiasts it is a real pleasure to snorkel in the shallow waters and watch out for fish and others at the reefs.
For a long time, the place and its nature was untouched and has not changed much since Christopher Columbus discovered the Island. In 1970 the tourism in the country was just developing and an American investor bought this land with the vision to erect a community, now known as ´Dominicus Americanus´, and to grant everybody access to the close by National Park of the East (Parque Nacional Del Este).
The first hotel, Club Dominicus, opened its doors in December 1976. Back then, tourists had to reach the hotel by boat because the road was yet to build. Joaquin Balaguer, President of the Dominican Republic at that time, built the road to pave the way for the tourism in the area.
Today the village is embedded in its natural surroundings and is a widely known international tourist and residential destination with independently owned private homes, restaurants, shops, hotels, resorts and a casino. Some of the resorts are owned by big international players in the tourism industry like Iberostar or Viva Wyndham.
So, if you still looking for a place to go for your vacation in the Dominican Republic, then this is really a great choice!
Chavon River Valley
The River Chavon Valley is an area with stunning views, green rainforests, historical villages and a rich and diverse wildlife.
The river`s spring lays in the north-west of the city Higüey and the growing river cleaves its way southwards into the Caribbean Sea through wild and untouched tropical rainforests. In millions of years the fresh water has carved an impressive gorge into the surrounding sandstone and created a breathtaking scenery.
This scenery was also discovered by film-producers and movies such as ´Apocalypse now` and ´Jurassic park` were shot in this valley. No wonder and to the pride of the Dominicans, once you are in this remote area you will feel like being in a different world and the imagination of a crossing dinosaur is not far-fetched.
Enjoy this remoteness while hiking on small trails through the tropical woods and its undergrowth and try to spot some of the very special birds living in this full of live environment. There are only a few small villages settled along the river. One which is worth seeing is the charming village Altos de Chavon with its special atmosphere and an historical amphitheatre.
At the southend, before the Chavon river joins the Caribbean Sea, it runs along the luxurious Resort Casa de Campo and its golf court.
Deep in the jungle, but also at the river you can find farms, mostly run by indigenous people, who love to tell you more about their culture and nature. Some of the jungle farms can be visited in the course of a river or jungle tour. These riverboat tours through the valley and to the farms become more and more popular. Also canoeing and ziplining activities are fun activities for the whole family.
Boca de Yuma
Boca de Yuma, a peaceful and tranquil village in the province of La Altagracia, right next to the National Park Del Este and within a 15 minutes drive from Bayahibe and thirty minutes from La Romana city.
In Boca de Yuma you will be wrapped by numerous attractions, for example fishing, hiking, beaches and caves. Established by Pedro Sifuentes, who was called the ´Dominican Robinson Crusoe`due to the long time he was living alone in Boca de Yuma after his ship sank in the Yuma Bay. Later Spanish Colonists settled the village which has now not more than 2500 inhabitants.
Once the port of Boca de Yuma was an important port in several battles, which changed the eventual history of the Dominican Republic, in the 17th and 18th century. Additionally, a Spanish colonial fort overlooked the Bay of Yuma and defended the port with its cannons. On an ocean cliff at the community park and the historic lighthouse you can still find some of these cannons, placed there as monuments.
Boca de Yuma seems like a forgotten town and off the beaten track in terms of mass tourism, you can enjoy in this hidden paradise cinematic sunrises and fresh seafood in the Caribbean Sea overlooking restaurants.
If you ever step a foot in this village, you should discover the 1 mile/1.5 km long river, which reveals terrific landscapes and where you can find caves in which then the pirate Roberto Cofresi hid his treasures. Another cave is ´The Cave Bernard` on the property of John Bernard, who was one of the first community founders. In this cave you will find incredible looking stalactites and stalagmites. Once you are at the John Bernard park you will have an amazing view on the southern part of town, the bay and the capes.
Boca de Yuma is part of different excursions offered by several tour operators and because of its short distance to La Romana a great destination for Cruise Ship travellers.
Despite of the growing tourism the Dominican Republic still has many remote and original areas with villages where the indigenous culture is lived and agriculture and animal husbandry is the only income. Sure, you won`t find such a place right next to an ´all-inclusive resort`, but if you want to plunge into another live you don`t have to go too far.
Close to the south coast, round about 25 minutes westwards from La Romana, you can find such a place. A village, called Cumayasa, like you would expect it in the middle of nowhere. The few inhabitants live mostly from fishing, breeding goats, pigs and mules and producing and selling carbon. This is the pure Dominican experience!
You won`t get bored during your trip to Cumayasa. After a stroll through the tiny streets you can go kayaking on the River Cumayasa or you take a walk through the here quite and dry landscape with its bushes and cacti and visit one of the many underground caves. Next to incredible stalagmites and stalagtites you can find pictograms from the indigenous Taino indians in these caves. Some even have ancient statues at the entrance.
If you get hungry, go to the local restaurant, comedor, and enjoy the rich traditional dishes still made with hundred of years old recipes.
After a pleasant and refreshing meal you can explore the nature from the top of the trees. Try out the close to Cumayasa located Canopy zip-lining course and let the adrenalin surge through your veins whilst walking on a suspension bridge or sailing through the canopies of the high trees. If you prefer being on the ground, also no problem, just rent a buggy and explore the surrounding on 4 fast wheels. Cumayasa is a tiny and remote place, however, a place where everybody makes unforgetable experiences.
Casa de Campo
If you are looking for a unique and ultra luxurious accommodation for your holidays in the Dominican Republic, Casa de Campo would be a great choice. In this full service resort you always find a home away from home, whether in a comfy hotel room or a spacious villa.
The once sugar mill's land was developed 1975 into the Ponderosa-Style, tropical seaside resort Casa de Campo and is since then one of the most exclusive resorts in the Caribbean. Likewise exclusive is Casa de Campo's modern marina, completed in 2000, with more than 70 shops, bars, restaurants and homes. Here are extravagant yachts anchored, which punctuate the port's exclusivity and let you enjoy strolling through this rarefied atmosphere.
Casa de Campo, a tropical playground for everybody, features also three different championship golf courses, one of them is Pete Dye's masterpiece. The golf course has been internationally recognized for more than three decades and is the only Caribbean course consistently in the world's top 100 courses. This course is not only well maintained, it also offers beautiful views on the along running River Chavon, on the authentic village Altos de Chavon and of course the Caribbean Sea, which is so close that you can jump into the wet element immediately after sweating on the course. Casa de Campo's private beach Minitas is with its amazing soft and white sand a wonderful place to relax under palm trees, swimming in the crystal clear blue water and enjoying water sports like snorkelling or kayaking. If you are more in the mood for some 'me' time then treat your mind and body with a massage on the beach or in the Spa centre of the resort.
You can take advantage of all these grandiose facilities by booking an accommodation at Casa de Campo or you visit the resort in line with an excursion to the surrounded attractions, such as the paradisiac Island Catalina or the jungle along the River Chavon.