The province of Barahona is known for offering travelers the most impressive views in the Dominican Republic. It is located a few kilometers from the border with Haiti, and after discovering everything you can do in Barahona, you will understand why it is a pearl of ecological tourism.
In addition to its impressive views, Barahona also has imposing cliffs, and natural spas with turquoise waters and soft white sand, far from mass tourism and the hustle and bustle of the capital.
So, if you are planning your vacation on the island, Barahona is one of the most exciting tourist destinations to visit, and one that you definitely cannot miss.
Why visit Barahona in the Dominican Republic?
Barahona is only a 3-hour drive from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. In addition, the coast is located in the southwestern part of the island, very close to the border with Haiti. Thanks to its beautiful natural and tourist attractions, it is called the “Pearl of the South”.
Like a large part of this Caribbean country, Barahona was occupied by the Taíno Indians before the arrival of the Spanish. At that time, it was governed by Bohechío , the cacique of Jaragua, an area that covered a large part of the southwest of the island of Hispaniola .
In fact, this region played an important role in the claim of rights of the Taino Indians, because in 1496, the Spanish settler Juan Barahona established an alliance with the Taino Indians, siding with Francisco Rolda, who had rebelled against Bartolomé Colomb .
Bohechío ‘s nephew , cacique Enriquillo started a new rebellion against Spanish rule. This guerrilla war in the Sierra de Bahoruco lasted until 1533 and the Spanish were forced to grant all rights to the Taino Indians.
However, this was not all. It was in 1802 that the city was finally founded under the leadership of Toussaint -Louverture, the Haitian general who had managed to drive the French out of the region.
Although at first it was an area with little economic activity, little by little it became active thanks to the cultivation of sugar cane. In fact, in 1917 the North American company West India Sugar Finance Corporation decided to settle there to exploit the sugar cane that would become the main production of the Dominican Republic.
Currently, it is not only one of the main producers of sugar, but also of coffee and tropical fruits such as bananas. In addition, the province is famous for its rock salt, onyx, gypsum and bauxite deposits.
Likewise , tourism is one of the most developed economic activities, and one that is becoming increasingly important, thanks to its beautiful beaches, biodiversity and mountainous landscapes for the more adventurous, surrounded by a coastal area of more than 55 km.
To give you an idea, in Barahona you can take a dip on the beach and remove the salt from your skin in one of the rivers that flow down to the ocean, whose fresh, clear waters spring from the depths of the forest.
So, whether you are passionate about hiking and mountaineering, or prefer to rest next to a blue and calm beach, in Barahona you will find endless exciting places and experiences to take home with a smile.
When is the best time to travel to Barahona?
The temperatures in the southwest of Barahona oscillate between 27 °C and 29 °C. On the other hand, if you want to visit the city in the sunniest season and without precipitation, we recommend traveling to Santa Cruz de Barahona between the months of December and April. The rainiest months are September, May and June.
Likewise, if you decide to get to know Barahona, we recommend you plan your trip for at least a few days, since its great diversity of landscapes and things to do in the region are so many that it would be difficult to cover it in one or two days.
In this case, be sure to read the following golden information so that you can organize your trip according to the time you have available, because you will be able to know the places that most appeal to your adventurous heart, or also, your desire to relax in one of its wonderful Beaches.
Top 8: Discover the best things to do in Barahona
As we will see now, the “Pearl of the South” has tourist places that have nothing to envy to other provinces most visited by international travelers. You will have fun and you will be excited to know each of the places that we will talk about below. Do not miss it!
- Be dazzled by the beauty of the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park
Walking in the shade of abundant and exotic vegetation is something you can do in few places in the world. One of them is the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, which is located in the southwest of the country.
This beautiful park has a very diverse vegetation, in the middle of both humid and dry forests in other areas. In addition, here we find more than 32 endemic species of the island.
As for the fauna, we find up to 49 species of birds, of which only 19 can be seen in this unique place in the world, such as black-tailed pigeons, buzzards, rolitas, small reptiles and mammals such as the solenodon.
- Stroll through the city of Santa Cruz de Barahona and discover its buildings with decades of history
It is the capital of the province, and in it we can find numerous interesting historical buildings, such as the Triumphal Arch located at the intersection of Luperón and Casandra Damirón avenues.
Also noteworthy is the welcoming Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary built in 1948 as a replacement for the old church of Santa Cruz built in 1927. In 1976 it finally obtained the title of Cathedral, being restored in 1998. This church is the central religious center to celebrate to “Our Lady of the Rosary”, patron saint of Barahona.
During the walk, you cannot miss the Municipal Palace with its Clock Tower built in 1935 in front of the Central Park. As a curious fact, this famous tower is the original fire siren. It is part of the City Hall, and can be seen perfectly from the Central Park.
What makes this Tower more interesting is that it rings only 3 times a day: at 7 am, at 12 pm, and at 6 pm. If their bells ring out at a different time, the townspeople will know that there is a fire somewhere in the city, and that the fire brigade will be there immediately.
Another of the most emblematic places in the city is the Hotel Guarocuya whose construction dates from 1959 when the city obtained most of its income from sugar cane plantations.
Walking through this city is also a way to immerse yourself in the local culture in a more authentic way by interacting with the inhabitants. In addition, the magnificent landscapes that surround the province of Barahona will simply surprise you with its beauty and nature so full of life while you take a quiet walk at any time of the day, especially at sunset.
- The Larimar Museum
If there is an element of nature that characterizes the Dominican Republic, and especially the province of Barahona, it is its precious stones and prehistoric rocks. In the El Larimar Museum, pieces and jewelry created by the Dominican artisans of El Larimar are exhibited.
This is a rare and beautiful gem of the pectolite variety that can only be found in this region. Its color varies in green and blue tones. It is usually much more appreciated when it acquires a turquoise hue, such as the beautiful beaches and natural spas of the country, so we could say that it is its flagship color.
In addition to the museum, the building houses a school that trains artisans who extract, polish and carve this stone, which is so much in demand by visitors. Do not stop acquiring a piece to take as a souvenir and show off whenever you want!
And if you are fascinated by this endemic gem of the region and want to know more about it, keep reading, because later we will tell you everything you need to know about the famous Larimar mine.
- Take a dip in the best style of the tropics at Playa El Quemaito
Playa El Quemaito is the closest natural spa to the city, and is characterized by its warm waters. It is only 12 km away, so you will find many visitors. However, it is a very beautiful and quiet beach, as it is close to the fishing port.
If you decide to take a bath on this magnificent beach, be sure to wear the most suitable footwear, as the stones can cause burns to your feet, especially if you spend a lot of time under the sun.
Although its waters are warm, they are also very clean and crystalline, since they come from the Caribbean Sea. Be sure to visit this hot but pleasant beach in Barahona!
- Bathe in the crystal clear waters of Los Patos
As we mentioned at the beginning, in Barahona you can take a bath on a saltwater beach, and then remove the salt from your body by submerging yourself in the fresh waters of a refreshing river without having to go very far.
Los Patos is a town with a charming and exciting fluvial environment, which is attractive to tourists due to its circuit of natural pools located next to the beach of the same name, which is fed by the waters of the river, which is the most short of the Antilles
The river is born in one of the mountains of the Paraíso municipality, and its waters are very crystal clear and cold, which flow into the sea at Playa Los Patos, one of the favorites of the residents of the city, as well as international travelers. .
One of the things that you will love most about bathing in its waters is the large number of fish that swim in the river and that are used to the presence of visitors, who usually feed them. In addition, in the surroundings you will find a wide variety of places to eat rich traditional dishes, and refreshing drinks.
If you go by car, don’t worry, you can have a guarded parking service at your disposal. So if you want to enjoy both worlds: salty beach and sweet and refreshing river, then be sure to come to Los Patos and enjoy a pleasant and fun day with all your family, friends or your favorite person.
- Discover the rigorous Larimar extraction process in its only mine
If you want to know more about the extraction process of this semi-precious stone native to Barahona, then you cannot miss the Larimar Mine. This mine is known as “Los Chupaderos”, whose name is the same as the town that houses it.
This town is located just 10 km from the city of Barahona, in the Enriquillo region. Currently, it is the only mine where this popular blue pectolite in the world has been found. Upon arrival at the site, you will be able to get a guided tour of the entire site, which conveys a mystical and majestic feeling.
However, you should know that the extraction process of this stone is a bit dangerous. But do not worry, because optimal security measures are taken. Of course, this mineral can be of different shades, from white, light blue or greenish, to dark green and with reddish hues, due to the high level of iron they contain.
However, this type of mineral is photosensitive, so it loses its color over the years. As for its date of discovery, this was in the year 1916 by a priest from the city. However, at that time no one wanted to carry out the excavations.
It was in 1974 that Miguel Méndez, a member of the Peace Corps, discovered “blue stones” which he called “Larimar”, a word derived from the union of the words Larissa, which was his daughter’s first name, and sea.
- Explore the mountains of the Sierra de Bahoruco and its impressive views
The warm beaches are not the only attraction of Barahona, as surely you will also be enchanted by the mountainous landscapes of the Sierra de Bahoruco, covered by the tropical forest. This place is ideal for the most adventurous, who will be able to enjoy magnificent views of the forest and the Caribbean Sea as a true gift of nature.
To get to the Mirador Paraíso, you will have to cross typically tropical mountain landscapes and valleys full of abundant vegetation. Once at the Mirador, you will see the beautiful contrast that exists between the white sand beach with the blue of the sea and the green of the forest.
This region is also surrounded by numerous coffee plantations. If you have some extra time, you can be part of a guided tour in the cultivation areas, and witness the cultivation process of this valuable grain, until the final product sipping a steaming hot cup of coffee.
- Discover the Beata Island
Finally, you cannot miss seeing the Isla Beata, which was discovered and named by Christopher Columbus. This famous island is located 6km south of the coast. And although it was colonized by the Spanish, a few days later in the 17th century they were abandoned, to finally function as a prison in 1959.
Currently, it is possible to see the ruins of these abandoned buildings. In addition, the island is still occupied by the Dominican Republic Navy and is also home to many endemic animal species such as the rhinoceros iguana, considered the smallest reptile in the world, and which only inhabits the island of Beata.
On the other hand, the island is populated by numerous seabirds that come to nest there, such as the black terns, which are the most numerous. You will also discover an endemic species of lizard, the anolis altavelensis. As for its beaches, these are nesting places for sea turtles. Amazing!
Barahona is a miniature continent, and as we can see, we find diverse landscapes and activities for all interests. Without a doubt, it is a magical place where you can spend a relaxing vacation, but with a touch of fun and spectacular views to take with you as a memory of a unique place in the world.