La Romana & BayahibeWhy choose La Romana?
This tourist area comprised of La Romana, Casa de Campo, Dominicus and Bayahibe is an excellent choice for R & R vacations, honeymoons, family holidays, family reunions, teenagers, active travelers, scuba divers and golfers. If friends have raved to you about the Saona Island excursion, La Romana is the nearest point from which to embark on a trip to the islands of Saona and Catalina.
What else is nearby
La Romana is 1-1/2 hour west of Punta Cana and 1-1/2 hour east of Santo Domingo, the capital city. The nearest resort area to La Romana is Juan Dolio (about 40 minutes west) and Boca Chica (an hour and a half west). La Romana city is about 10 minutes from Casa de Campo. Casa de Campo is about a 25 minute drive from Dominicus and Bayahibe beaches.
Port of Entry/How to get there
You will be less than 25 minutes away from most area hotels if you fly into the brand new international airport at La Romana.
The airport is served by flights by/from: American Airlines (Miami); Air Canada (Toronto), American Eagle (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Air Pullmantur (Madrid, Lauda Italy and Air Europe (Milan, Italy), Condor (Munich and Frankfurt) and LTU (Düsseldorf). There are also charter flights from Toronto, Motnreal, Ottawa (Canada, Boston, Charlotte, NC (USA) Europe: London, Manchester (England); Lyon, Marseille, Paris, Toulouse, Nantes (France), Milan (Italy).
Santo Domingo's Las Americas International Airport is less than two hours away, as is the Punta Cana International Airport. See Santo Domingo and Punta Cana sections for flight schedules from these two alternate airports.
Altos de Chavon
Altos de Chavon Artists Village is a vibrant cultural community perched above the Chavon River. Cobblestone paths, coral stone fountains and terra cotta buildings create a magical effect in this village designed by Robert Coppa, an Italian architect who at the time was a Paramount movie set designer. He built it in the late 1970s to emulate a 15th century southern Italy-southern Spain village. Visitors today discover craft workshops, artists' studios, galleries and restaurants. Weddings are frequent at the St. Stanislaus Church, as few places can be more romantic than Altos de Chavon. The performing arts are showcased in the village's 5,000-seat amphitheater, inaugurated in 1982 by Frank Sinatra and is still attracting big name performers. Visit the Regional Museum of Archaeology, a small but wonderful display of the island's rich pre-Columbian heritage. The Art Gallery features contemporary art exhibitions.
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The better beaches in the area are on the Dominicus and Bayahibe beach strips. By law, the first 60 meters of any beach is public property. And Dominicus and Bayahibe hotels -- Coral Canoa by Hilton, Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach and Palace and Venta Club Gran Dominicus took this a step further securing the prestigious European Blue Flag International certification. The beach actually became the first in the Caribbean to receive the designation that honors high standards for water quality, environmental education, environmental management and safety and services. The public entrance for area non-hotel guests is between Viva Dominicus Palace and Iberostar Hacienda.
La Romana is a city of around 150,000 residents.
Saona Island. Palm-studded tropical island. Unbelievable turquoise, green and blue waters with endless visibility. Powder white sand. The Caribbean at its best. Mano Juan is the fishermen village where you can purchase handicraft. You can arrange for a stopover in "la piscina" in Palomilla, north of the island. There are many ways to get to the environs of Saona Island. These include by speed boat, by catamaran, or even by pirate boat.
Isla Catalina, a 15 square meter uninhabited off shore wildlife reserve located five miles south of La Romana. The island can be seen from La Romana. If you book a small boat with captain in Bayahibe or at Rancho Cumayasa, he can include this little island in your day tour. Catalina has coral reefs close to the island for snorkeling. Many dive excursions come to Catalina for the reefs and tropical fish.
Bayahibe town. People come to this beach and once fishing town to take excursions to Saona Island. Indeed, the fishermen now man the boats that take the tourists to Saona and environs. The beach is a Caribbean dream and the town itself is worth visiting for itself.
Fun Fun Cave in Hato Mayor. Adventure lovers may book an underground excursion to Rancho Capote and its Cueva Fun Fun, the largest cave in the Caribbean, running seven kilometers underground. Experience the darkness down under, the giant corridors, the cave art, and the magic whisper of the subterranean rivers. This thrilling excursion begins with a ride on horseback, then a walk through "the jungle" and the cave, then ends with lunch. A day of caving, repelling, horse riding and lots of adrenaline. 12 year age minimum for the Rancho Capote excursion.
The Cueva de las Maravillas (Cave of Wonders) is located midway on the highway from San Pedro de Macoris to La Romana. For its design, the Bienal Miami + Beach bestowed upon it the Landscape Architecture-Public Award. The cave's 240-meter footpath takes tourists to a majestic journey 25 feet underground, where stalagmites and stalactites appear like
the notes of an orchestra playing on the grand stage of an enormous theater hall. The cave boasts a collection of approximately 500 rupestrian paintings by the inhabitants that lived in the island at the arrival of Columbus. Many impressive drawings can be seen on the down under tour of Cueva de las Maravillas. Set aside three hours for this activity, as the tour will take an hour and it is a half hour drive from either La Romana or Juan Dolio hotels.
Plantacion Tropical. A lovely botanical garden, north of Hato Mayor on the way to Sabana de la Mar.
The National Park of the East. 420 sq. kilometer flora and fauna reserve that is also a major archaeological center. Botanists have counted 539 flora species. Also, there are 144 types of birds.
Jeep safaris are offered to La Romana area staying guests.
Most tourists will stay at the Casa de Campo resort or the hotels in the Bayahibe-Dominicus area. For more information on hotels in the area, see our Hotel Directory
The many La Romana town restaurants cater to the gastronomically-demanding residents in the area. Other restaurants are located in Altos de Chavon, La Marina de Casa de Campo, and Bayahibe (surely a bachata dance will be going on at night) and Dominicus towns.
Nightlife outside the hotel
Altos de Chavon's Genesis Discotheque. There are several discotheques in La Romana town. La Marina de Casa de Campo is a mecca for jetsetters, foreign and Dominican.
La Romana city will supply most needs and more, with the largest shop being the Jumbo. Altos de Chavon is for fine handicrafts and art. La Marina de Casa de Campo is for upscale Dominican and imported crafts and apparel.
There are also stores catering to visitors in Dominicus and Bayahibe towns.
There are three open to the general public golf courses in La Romana, all operated by Casa de Campo -- Teeth of the Dog, The Links, Dye Fore. Because of the central location of La Romana, visitors to this area should also consider the golf courses in Juan Dolio and the East Coast (Punta Cana-Bavaro area). For more information on these courses, see our Golf Page
Regardless of whether you are a serious scuba diver or just want to learn, La Romana is an excellent destination. All resorts have dive centers staffed with highly qualified personnel that offer PADI training or may even give you a free lesson in the swimming pool. There are also diving schools in Bayahibe, departing point for hundreds of sea outings. Catalina Island is best appreciated by experienced divers. There the "wall" attracts not only vacationers from the nearby La Romana resorts but also divers traveling from the North coast. The site is 20 minutes by boat from a dock in La Romana. This is probably one of the few places to see very large fish, such as grouper. Most of the big species around the island's popular coral reefs have been depleted by intensive spear fishing. Catalina's shallower dive of about 25-30 feet off the island is simply beautiful. An abundance of purple sea fans, orange, brown and grey gardens, and a variety of multi-coloured, fluorescent fish surround divers as they wander about. There is excellent visibility of 90-100 feet and good light refraction.
Near to La Romana is Bayahibe where large schools of fish are accustomed to bread feedings from local divers. Just waving a white glove will produce a flurry of activity. This practice is being discouraged by ecologically-minded people as it reduces the survival instincts of the fish, and disrupts the food chain.
The coastline of the National Park of the East,, especially the western stretch, has some diverse coral formations, A popular area for diving in the park is Saona Island, which can only be reached by boat from La Romana. The island is a protected sanctuary and there is abundant wildlife and marine life, such as turtles, whales, sharks and a good chance of seeing big fish. Divers can also enjoy visiting the sunken St. Georges barge near the Club Viva Dominicus. The ship has created a natural protected habitat for coral reef species that are in danger of extinction. The ship has several small protected cells in which species are reproduced, safe from human and sea predators. Scuba diving excursions and glass bottom boat trips to the site are available.
Fishing trips can be arranged at the major hotels if you want to reel in your own barracuda, tuna or dorado.
Casa de Campo’s Equestrian Center offers excellent riding.
Another good option is Rancho Cumayasa. Or the Guavaberry Equestrian Center in Juan Dolio.