Nearly 125 miles (3h 30m by car) south-west of the capital, Santo Domingo, the region of Barahona on the border with Haiti is the poorest but best preserved one in the Dominican Republic. It's also not easy to get to. It's useless to hope to find a Gran Bahia Principle, Riu, Barcelo or Iberostar when you get here, since all of these Spanish chains specialised in giant all-inclusive resorts which reign in Punta Cana have not yet invested in this region, meaning that you will find a complete change of scenery. Here, you either choose a homestay or one of the small hotels full of charm in the middle of nature. There are some lodges located in the middle of the tropical forest, like the Ranchon Plato. You have to use a 4x4 and cross some rivers to reach them. The surroundings have barely changed since the conquistadors explored this land. Lost in the forest at the edge of a river dotted with cascades, here you can sleep in a cabin with hotel standards in the middle of nature. Luxury is also a possibility, though, such as at Casa Bonita, a small gem overhanging a bay, with its spa in the forest and its zip-line on which you can pretend to be Tarzan!
Be ready for a few hours of travelling time upright in the back of a 4x4 truck and bending down to avoid branches on the bumpy jungle roads and when crossing rivers: you're just going to love the 'Camel Trophy'! You'll have understood by now that Barahona is not yet accessible via a motorway, and it's all the better for it! After two hours on the road, the arrival at the 'La Mamie' coffee plantation, perching 900m above sea level, is worthy of scene in an adventure film! Once you get here you'll be able to enjoy some of the good local coffee while admiring the fabulous panorama of the jungle-covered mountains right out to the sea.
Since tourists rarely venture out here, you are more than likely to meet the locals. You might also come across cows in the streets of a village, attend a cockfight or a voodoo ritual, or watch children bathing in the river which flows into the Caribbean Sea. If you are staying at Pedernales, on the Haitian border, you can take advantage of the opportunity to visit this old French colony. The most beautiful beach in the country, Bahia de las Aguilas, is not at risk of meeting the same fate as Bavaro beach: to reach it requires several hours on a 4x4 followed by a ride on a small motorboat. The reward? A heavenly site that brings to mind some of the islands of Thailand, or even Halong Bay: clear water, cliffs, rocky islets... this is Eagle Bay, free of any man-made constructions as far as the eye can see.
A legendary seaside resort, Punta Cana is arguably a world heritage site with its almost 30 miles of heavenly beaches. Waters deliciously warm, calm and turquoise, fine white sand and coconut trees as far as the eye can see...all the ingredients of an exotic cocktail are brought together for a holiday ...
Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge© Easyvoyage
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Travel is my driving force in life, and although I have had the privilege of visiting 30 countries so far, my heart will always remain in India...