So this weekend was our long awaited trip to Barahona. It was special for all sorts of reasons. We were going to accompany an American friend, Tracy, who had always wanted to visit that area, together with another couple, Grace an American and her Dominican husband, Nany. The original plan was to stay in cheap hotels, but unbeknown to us a plan was hatched to stay in the best hotel in the area, Casa Bonita, and to pay for a room for Danilo and I. A superb Christmas present especially as Barahona is where Danilo was born. Chivirico managed to get time off school so he came along as well.
The trip started with a longish (5 hour) drive to just west of San Cristobal in the South, where Grace and Nany live for part of the year, Tracy joined us there once her flight landed and we spent the night, ready for the trip further west in the morning.
Off we set in convoy through amazing scenery on the way.
At last, after around 3 hours driving we arrived in Barahona. The coast road is apparently one of the most scenic drives in the Caribbean.
We went to Los Patos for lunch, home to the shortest river in the world, some 400 yards, and it flows straight into the ocean.
We sat by the side of the river eating fresh fish and drinking cold Presidente beer – bliss.
Then on to the hotel and what a beautiful place. The bed was the best I have ever slept in.
The infinity pool overlooks the Caribbean sea.
The restaurant was superb and the seating area perfect for sitting drinking mojitos.
The staff were great with Chivirico and when he looked at the dinner menu and announced he never ate steak or fish for dinner, his Grandmother made spaghetti, he went into the kitchen to discuss this with the chef, and they made him a plate of spaghetti - with prawns! He was one happy camper.
The next morning we decided to go and visit some land we have on the top of a mountain overlooking Barahona. The road used to be pretty rough and you needed a four wheel drive, but we had been told it had been improved. They lied. Danilo was driving, and says he is a brilliant driver – a chauffeuraso – going forwards. He can’t drive backwards. So when we got stuck going forwards, he drove backwards, into the side of the mountain, with the back wheel high up on a rock, the other back wheel in a hole and one of the front wheels up in the air. The car would not budge. And it was in danger of rolling over onto its side.
Luckily help arrived in the shape of a thin man on a motorcycle. Then another little man on his motorbike. This road is in the middle of nowhere so we were lucky anyone came past.
Then more little men arrived and all told us that the front wheel was in the air, and all had their different plans for getting us out. None of which worked.
Then even more little men came and I started telling them what to do.
And after 2 hours they managed to move the car.
We decided not to try and make it up the hill and called it a day and headed off to the Malecon in Barahona. They have built a new Malecon - promenade in English, with a kids' playground, exercise equipment, skateboard ring, basket ball court, and an old sugar train.
The next day we set off back on the coast road for Bahia de las Aguilas – Eagle Bay, supposedly the most beautiful and unspoiled beach in the Caribbean. On the way we passed an amazing wind farm just outside Enriquillo.
We then turned off the main road to head the 5 kilometres to the Bahia de las Aguilas, which is part of a massive nature reserve. Obviously the reserve does not extend to the road there as you pass a enormous bauxite mining operation, with amazing red bauxite soil, trucks full of it rushing up and down throwing up clouds of red dust and boats lying off shore waiting to take the bauxite.
You have to take a boat to the beach and it is absolutely stunning.
I have never seen such a place here. Well worth it. Chivirico adored it too.
On the way back we stopped at Lago Oveido , a salt water lake which looks green due to the algae and is home to flamingos, iguanas and several different types of bird.
I was very impressed with the environmental attention and care both at the beach and the lake.
All in all a fantastic trip – I had forgotten how truly beautiful the south west of the Dominican Republic is. And thanks to Tracy for most of the fabulous photos here!