Road Trip - South West and back North


Oct 29, 2010
After a visit to Santo Domingo, I had a couple of free days so I thought I would take a drive along the south coast to the Barahona Peninsular and then drive back to the north coast through the hills.

I would describe my impression of the peninsular as disappointing, although if I had seen the recent thread here on the area it might have helped. I?m not a fan of Dominican cities so I passed through Barahona itself and followed the coast road. It is pretty, with some good views but I?ve seen better. I stopped at a couple of the purpose made parking spots where you can take in the view, but as usual in this country the experience is spoiled by being surrounded by dumped rubbish. El Paraiso and Los Gatos were praised in my guide book but El Paraiso was no paradise and I would prefer to duck out of Los Patos. In El Paraiso particularly, you could see that some years ago money had been spent to make the place visitor-friendly, but there was now an air of crumbling decay. It might have been pleasant to stay in one of the several hotels overlooking the sea along the road, but I wanted somewhere where I could go out in the evening and not feel out of place. Maybe I?ve been spoiled by places like Bayahibe, Las Terrenas and Cabarete. So I carried on and followed the road all the way to Pedernales. This part of the road was swarming with thousands of butterflies, whose corpses soon covered the front of my car. It?s fun to drive and would probably be a joy for motorbikers, because of the straights and bends, with a good road surface. Padernales again didn?t have much appeal for me. I would have liked a bite to eat by the beach where the fishermen were busy, but all the food stalls were closed. I suppose they open at weekends.

The road from Barahona back east is home to many immigration checkpoints, I suppose because of its proximity to the Haitian border. I knew I wasn?t what they were looking for, so I ignored or waved back any raised official hands, keeping going determinedly. However, at one I was forced to stop by a uniformed man who stood directly in front of my car and asked me show my documents. As soon as it became clear that all would be in order he lost interest in the documents and asked directly for a propina. I managed to persuade him that I only had 150 pesos in cash and that unless he accepted a credit card that would be all he would get, and he grudgingly let me go.

So my journey around the Barahona peninsular took less than a day and after a night in a pleasant hotel in Azua I set off back to the north coast.

A few months ago on this forum I asked whether there were any decent roads linking the south coast road with the central Autopista Duarte, without going all the way to Santo Domingo again. I received some good advice along with some hilarious ?how about buying a map?? comments ? obviously from people who don?t know that in this country roads that appear on a map are sometimes only passable by mountain goat.

Anyway, I chose to cut across the hills on the road from Cruce de Ocoa via San Pedro de Ocoa to Piedra Blanca. The first part of the road is new and excellent ? all the way to San Pedro. When I reached that town the signs were scarce and after finding myself in some local back streets I asked a few times and found my way out of town. Soon afterwards the road divides between the road to Costanza and the Road to Piedra Blanca (again, I had to ask). The asphalt surface soon disappeared and I was driving on dirt roads, but no problem except for the occasional unmarked speed hump which threatened to remove my car?s wheels and my fillings.
However, things got worse as the road progressed, because of the construction of the new road. This means not only being on an unmade road but running the gauntlet of hundreds of earthmoving trucks and having to wait up to half an hour at places where they stop traffic to let the trucks going the other way past. I was relieved when I finally made it to Piedra Blanca and the Autopista. The road will, I?m sure, be great when it is finished, but I should think that will be a matter of years.

By the way, I noticed that the construction company is Oderbrecht. Funny how they seem to have a virtual monopoly of all major construction projects in the DR.

If I were to do the journey again I would try the road via Costanza. I know from an account of a trip along it by Frank12 that the road is also unmade, but it is supposed to be beautiful and it avoids all the unpleasant road works.

The rest of the journey was uneventful, but I am glad to have done it, now having visited every corner of the country. Hopefully this account may be helpful or even interesting to others.


On Vacation!
Nov 19, 2014
Interesting report and thanks for posting. We need many more trip reports from members who get out and travel imo. Not everybody sees it the same and wider opinions are good for the future traveler.

Yes it is quiet but scenic down in the South West, and you did perhaps err by not checking out some of the recent threads on the area especially the video posted by AE. Los Patos as video on Kiskeya Life puts a different angle on that village and Playa San Rafael is real DR fun on a local wild beach. True that other more established tourist areas probably can colour ones expectations and the area is definitely not for the 'Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts tourist' at this time.

As for hotels you should have tried Casa Bonita and that may have changed your opinion. Right by the larimar mines. Did you not check out the small larimar museum and the small workshops in the area?

Your report does not mention Bahia de Las passed so close and it appears you missed a gem and went to the border town instead and probably not on market day too.

Good to see you chose a more interesting route back north. It was in the news and posted a few weeks back that the Rancho Arriba to Piedra Blanca road was still under construction and a few months away from suggest more. It was a very rough road indeed before but will provide a scenic journey when open.


May 21, 2018
Hi, You are sharing very interesting trip stories with us.Thank you for sharing , It gives live trip for me..