Are you one of those who think that there’s not much more to the Dominican Republic than huge all-inclusive resorts? Well, you’re wrong. Unfortunately way too few tourists get to know this side of this beautiful half-island (the other half of Hispaniola is Haiti), which is filled with natural wonders such as waterfalls, rivers and mountains. And let’s not forget about all those deserted beaches! One of these beaches is the 7 km. long paradisical Bahía de las Águilas (Eagles Bay), inside Jaragua National Park in Pedernales, a southern region close to the Haitian border. I’ve been wanting to go there ever since I first touched the Dominican soil back in 2003, and finally, in December I got to see it with my own eyes. (Here you can see my other posts from the Dominican Republic.) Warning! Lots of photos ahead!
How to get there?
This is the tricky part. There are companies that arrange day trips down there, but if you feel comfortable driving Dominican style (Ha!), the best way to get there is by car. The scenery along the coast is breathtaking! Try to stay awake! I couldn’t, but my friends were nice enough to wake me up each time we passed something picture-worthy.
It takes about 5 hours to drive from Santo Domingo; a few hours drive down to the town of Barahona, and then several more hours down a bumpy road until you get to the entrance of the National Park. Here you have to pay an entrance fee of $RD 100, and you can catch a boat to the bay. You can actually drive the whole way, but the last part the road is in really bad condition, and I’ve heard that even 4×4’s have gotten stuck. The easiest and most recommended way to get there is by boat. You rent a whole boat, so the more you are in your group, the cheaper per person (basic math). The great thing is that you’ll agree with the boat driver on when to be picked up again. We stayed until 6 PM so we could see the beautiful sunset.
The boat ride takes aprox. 15 minutes, and it’s almost an attraction by itself! You pass by several other deserted beaches, go scarily close cliffs, and will most likely be blown away by the nature. And then… you arrive! We were the only ones on the beach, except for a couple and a small group that left almost immediately after our arrival. Be prepared to have white sand and crystal clear turquoise water all to yourself!
- Food and snacks: After you leave the entrance of the National Park where there is an expensive restaurant, there will be no other place to purchase anything at all.
- Lots of water and other drinks: Buy your drinks before arriving the National Park. This will save you money. We left our water in the car, but luckily we had enough rum and beer to keep us hydrated. Ahem.
- Sunscreen: The sun is very strong here (like the rest of the island), and believe me, you will spend most of your time in the water. So apply frequently!
- Chairs: There will be no sunbeds here, so if you’re afraid of the sand, bring your own.
- Sunshades: There are not any shades here either, not even palms. A bit further up there are some trees where you can leave your stuff, but down on the beach you will get absolutely no shade.
- Camera: You’ll want to blast your memory card! Trust me!
- Accommodation: Remember that this is an area without any development at all, so you would have to spend the night in the town of Pedernales or Barahona.