Quick Trip to the Southwest


Active member
Jul 4, 2013
This was a wonderful but way too short trip to the South West of the Island.

Hubby had business in Azua so we left Puerto Plata very early Sunday morning, took the main autoroute down from Santiago and turned off at Piedra Blanca to cut through the mountains in order to get to Azua by 10:30am. The road through the mountain is a bit rough but the scenery is certainly worth it. The town itself looks interesting but unfortunately could not take the time to visit.

We left Azua around 2pm and made a bee line for Barahona. Got there in day light and decided to take a hotel right on the water: Guarocuya for a very adequate room with good AC and balcony on the water for 2,500DOP. Their "buffet" breakfast was very simple. I requested toasts and got something that looked like pan de agua pressed down. No jam. Only scrambled eggs, mangu and a cross between salami and ham. Sunday night in Barahona was very noisy where every bomba, casita and restaurant was blaring different music. Every body was on the streets but at around 11pm the town emptied out. Maybe everyone was working the next day? We stopped at a place on the Malecon advertising Empenadas... they had the best fish soup I ever had. They also had some kind of fish stew which was basically like the soup but with more fish. Same for the mariscos soup/stew. Highly recommend that soup/stew. We stocked up on ice, rhum and snacks. One of the bottles of rum was falsificated ... the plastic insert fell directly into the glass and the rum did not taste like XV. Bought in large supermarket.

Early the next morning... en route for Pedernales. Lots of colmado's on the way for ice, beer and rum. Fruit stands as well. Stpped at Cienaga for the Larimar factory (very beautiful pieces and super nice people). Also stopped there on the way back for the women's co-op making marmelade. They only had 2 different kinds... sour orange and guayaba...125 pesos a jar.

Stopped at Los Patos. Really cute area worth spending a few hours. This being Monday it was very quiet. We ordered plato del dia at one of the casitas...195pesos for chicken/rice/habichuelas. After sitting down a while the waiter - we had told him we did not have much time - came back with "fresh out" of chicken legs pieces but had breast. Was that ok. I agreed thinking that I did not really care what chicken pieces were in my plato del dia....The breast was more like a schnitzel with a price of 450DOP and it took forever! Stupid me! At least the street dogs ate well. The breast slices were battered heavily and fried.

Continued down to Laguna Oviedo. That was simply wonderful and worth every peso of the 3,500 pesos. It was exactly as Matilda had described. Iguanas, red flamingos, egrets, white pelicans and other birds. The guide had to be prompted to answer questions but I guess not many people are such nature lovers and want to know so much about habitat, habits, mating, salinity (hyper) and such.

Back on the roads, one had to keep eyes peeled for iguanas, burritos, goats, cows, horse you name it.
The wind farm was impressive... 72 large windmills apparently sufficient to produce electricity for the sector.

We made it to Pedernales and found Casa Oasis with excellent beds and AC for 1,400pesos, Just past Parque Central. The breakfast portions were small. We had dinner at a restaurant called Ibiza which was ok... steamed fish steak for 450pesos. No menu, no price. She tells you what she has, you pick, she cooks, you pay. Could not find other restaurants other than the pica-pollo or pizza. There was a Cultural Week celebration... marching bands by school children, something like a science fair in the Parque central. Lots of people. Nobody on the streets by 9pm. Speaking of streets... they are very wide, enough for 3-4 lanes. Weird!
Beautiful beach.

On the way back we detoured and took the road to the bahia de Los Aguilas. The road gets almost to the Bahia but the eco-tour glamping and tour vendors have set up so you are in the wild in safety at a big $. Sleeping in a tent on the beach for 4,000pesos for the cheapest option - no thanks! A boat tour to the bahia is 2,500. The bahia had deep sandy beach right up to the garbage tanks set where the vegetation starts. Watch where you step... I stepped on a branch with thorns covered with deep loose sand, and cut my foot deeply. The water itself was nice but not the gin-clear that I had expected like in the Bahamas. We circled back through "rock formations" which are limestone rocks eroded by the action of the sea. The road that gets to the Bahia is very steep and we did not chance it with our SUV. A jeep 4X4 could do it.

Back in Barahona we stayed at Rea Hotel for 2,000. It is across the Malecon with no breakfast. Excellent bed and AC.

All hotels were chosen for their security ie the car was within the hotel parking.
El Quemaito looked gorgeous but was way too isolated for hubby.

All in all I was impressed with the cleanliness ... roads, streets, from Azua down to Pedernales, and the smiling people.
I wish we had had more time to meander, visit and see lago Enriquillo. Next time for sure.
I also wanted to see caves but could not walk due to the cut in my foot. BTW take a good first aid kit with you. Decent and inexpensive pharmacy in Barahona. They had peroxyde and iodine... and wanted me to take 1 pill of antibiotic. I declined the antibiotic.
We saw the highlights taking 4 days from Puerto Plata. Next times at least 3 days more!

Not touristy which is nice.