A 15-minute drive from La Romana International Airport and 10 minutes from the resorts in the Dominicus section, this beachtown and boat launch site has a mix of good food, shopping for local arts and crafts, culture walks, and even a shady grass area to sit and enjoy the sunsets. Visits to the National Park of the East can be arranged at the Ministry of Environment office in town.
The first beach to obtain Blue Flag certification in the Caribbean, the large allinclusive resorts in La Romana are here, offering a variety of cultural and adventure excursions to guests. There is a public beach access section for visitors who arenot staying at the resorts.
Casa de Campo’s beach with all the comforts 0f the resort and vacation community. It is also famous for its restaurant, The Beach Club by Le Cirque, of the Maccioni family, owners of Le Cirque Restaurant in New York.
Playa La Caleta
It gets loud on weekends and after work when locals gather at the city beach, but consider it for ordering fried fish and plantainfritters with coconut water, with the sprinkle of salt spray, and at much better prices than places that cater to foreign tourists.
Five miles south of La Romana, the second largest island off the shores of the DR is a protected, uninhabited area. Divers visit to explore the coral reefs to the east and north of the island. The Living Museum of the Sea with the remains of the Quedagh Merchant, the sunken ship of pirate William Kidd is its newest attraction. It is a cruiseship mooring point. Enjoy the banana boats and snorkeling.
Preferred by the jet set for docking their yachts, Palmilla is also known as “the natural pool” for its shallow and transparent waters. It can easily be reached by boat from Bayahibe.
Banco de Arena de Catalinita
The Catalinita Sand Bank comes as a surprise. Out of nowhere, an island emerges from the sea. Boat trippers are taken there to enjoy the white sands and shallow waters in the middle of the Caribbean, to the beat of merengue and bachata. It formed
Few will imagine that Saona Island, which is almost 14 miles long and 4 miles wide (covering an area of 68 square miles) and just over one mile from the shore, is the same size as Aruba. It is really a collection of many beaches with the town of Mano Juan in the south center. Coconut trees, white sands with transparent shallow waters make it the perfect postcard of a Caribbean dream beach. The boat trip to the island from Bayahibe passes by mangroves and coral reefs, all part of the National Park of the East.
Parque Nacional del Este:
the National park of the East is now the largest and most studied and visited park in the country. Farming never prospered due to the lack of rivers within, and the area remained untouched. In 1975, to ensure its preservation, the 194 square miles area between Boca de Yuma and Bayahibe was declared National Park of the East. More than 575 species of flora, including 53 endemic to the island are preserved in the park, and it is a major Taino Indian archaeological center. The Padre Nuestro Ecological and Archaeological Trail, a short distance from Bayahibe town, was created to make visits into the park easy. The one mile-long guided trail gives a sample of the cactus and orchid forest vegetation of the park. For more information see page 30. The biggest draw of the park, though,is in the beaches, coastline of mangroves and reefs with preserved coral, also home to pelicans (Pelicanus occidentalis) and the Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), especially in the area of Bahía de las Calderas and Boca de Yuma. The offshore island of Saona with its collection of beaches is the most popular tour in the DR. In the mainland section of the park, the Puente, Panchito and Berna caves with cave art can be visited by requesting a permit and a guide at the Ministry of Enviroment park ranger station in Bayahibe tow.