The 7 Features of the South of the Dominican Republic
Trips are made of pieces and instants of happiness. Feeling the heat of the south, a part of the island where there aren’t any big hotels or malls and the local and handmade pieces prevail, an amazing experience. Alternative plans for travellers that look to go to the most profound parts of the country and follow the dream of being in touch with the nature of the Caribbean, a type of nature that knows how to be overwhelming and leafy, and empty like a desert at the same time, but that is always smiling. It is not overcrowded but pure, that area is humble and is not planning to become famous. The features of its land speak by themselves. You have to see it, to believe it.
With its coast showered by the waters of the Caribbean Sea, Barahona and Pedernales have a very rich biodiversity. They are virgin and beautiful nature, with opportunities for sustainable tourism, they offer a different approach but just as interesting. Here there is a summary of a trip without waste, by the southeast, considered one of the most important ecological reserves in the country. An area with many rivers, a lake under the sea level, lagoons, and beaches that are just as majestic as the most famous destinations. A zone that the more you explore it, the more it reveals about itself.
The Enriquillo Lake captivates you with its immensity and its massive vegetation, it is a protected area, and the biggest water body in the insular Caribbean. Forty meters below the sea level and with a combination of semiarid vegetation from a dry forest and a lake of salt water, it is a very particular place. It makes part of the Reserve of the biosphere of Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo and it is the habitat of different species of iguanas and of the american crocodile. It allows you to know a part of the history of the country because there we find a set of indigenous petroglyphs in Las Caritas, a rock shelter, where you also get an excellent view. After covering the whole lake, the path takes its route to the coast. One of the best panoramic views from the route is the one where you see the Beach San Rafael in Barahona; from that height, you can appreciate the colour of the Caribbean Sea.
Moving forward, along the road Barahona-Enriquillo, there is another beach that has a truly unique coast view; Los Patos is a magnet for those who want to enjoy colourful and natural landscapes. It is a beautiful natural spa created in the mouth of the river Los Patos that is born in one of the mountains of Paraíso. It is known for its cold and crystalline waters that have a blue and green colour. A beach with strong waves, perfect for surfing and other sports. You can enjoy a wonderful bath in sweet or salt water and eat local food, big in fish and seafood.
The sun sets and the sky of Pedernales welcomes you with a show of colours, the blue sky turns orange and you get the Wind Farm Los Cocos as a background. An impressive picture that makes of the route an experience of its own. If you are looking stay in that town a good choice is the Hostel Doña Chava, a family treasure where the natural heritage of the area is deeply valued.
Going away from the coast, it is worth going until the Hoyo de Pelempito, breathe pure air and go into true touch with nature. It is a paradise that is kept untouched and gives you the feeling of being away from the world. You have to take deep breaths, immortalize the instant and enjoy the imposing landscape. Located in the National Park Sierra de Bahoruco, the Hoyo de Pelempito is the biggest geological depression of the country, from the height of its gazebo a totally extraordinary view rises. Its geological richness and touristic potential offer big opportunities to create trails and other ways of recreation, however it hasn’t been taken advantage of, due to how hard it is to get there and because of the scarce paths that there are to contemplate it.
Coming back to the coast, those who think the Dominican Republic is just all inclusive resorts and crowded beaches, will be surprised when they visit Cabo Rojo. One of the less touristic beaches of the country, located in Pedernales, deserted and with clear and warm waters. More than clear, it is literally transparent and offers a moment of pure life. One step away from the Bay of Las Águilas, Cabo Rojo is an underestimated beach, a real paradise. Just as the beach of Pedernales, sometimes minimized it is right next to a town and it is an exquisite bath.
The end of the trail, back to the east, offers a prize without a doubt. Reaching the Lagoon of Oviedo when the sun is setting is a true gift of nature. A natural aquatic reserve also in Pedernales and inside the national Park Jaragua, it is considered one of the most important protected areas of the Caribbean. Mangroves and an extensive variety of fauna are common in its salty waters.
Going to new places is one of the many marvels of traveling. But it is about more than travelling, it is about discovering. It was worth feeling the heat of the shining sun and a few days of rain in the South. A fringe of earth whimsically covered by the Caribbean Sea with interesting opportunities of pure nature; anyway, a fascinating destination.