A concealed gem in the Domincan Republic

Deserted beaches of sand and fine gravel, steep cliffs plus a savannah: Barahona is a side from the Dominican Republic that few foreign people ever see.

Crocodiles sleep in the salty waters of Enriquillo Lake, while turtles, iguanas and flamingos feel at home in Jaragua National Park.

The people living in this remote region are especially friendly and open, and the hotels and restaurants are very affordable. What it doesn’t have are charter flights or all-inclusive travel packages complete with egg-throwing events and merengue dancing classes.

Charter flights? “I can’t recall any, ” states the woman wearing a smart blue dress uniform at the entry and traditions booth of Barahona international airport. “Maybe tomorrow there will be a private plane coming from Miami, ” she provides.

The building and runways, designed for long-range passenger jets from Europe, are empty.

Cows are grazing just away from airport entrance. The airport was opened in 1996 amid excellent pomp, but quickly turned into the flop.

By contrast, elements are lively along the Playa San Rafael beach, at least from Fri through to Sunday, when residents from the capital Santo Domingo come down within their cars, a drive of about four hours.

The drive from Barahona to the picturesque coastline road is about half-an-hour, the road resulting in Pedernales, on the border with Haiti. The stretch is one of bays with coral reefs alternating along with long beaches, coconut groves and villages of stone and wood houses.

In every hamlet there’s a small shop offering the visitor everything from an ice-cold beverage to a ham sandwich to girl’s brassieres.

Merengue and bajata music is blaring out of loudspeakers. Farmers and fishermen are playing dominoes, emphatically slapping the particular pieces down on the board. Everyone greets everyone else. This is pure Dominicana, as the Caribbean country is called in Spanish.

“Hi there. Take a picture, ” one father on Playa Rafael says to a foreign guest, while holding out a bottle of rum. The family poses for a group picture before a gurgling creek flowing to the sea.

There’s a lot of crowding at the bars, where guests are served water, beer and more powerful beverages. Chicken drumsticks, freshly-caught seafood and cornmeal cakes are frying in pans in many booths along the way.

On the coastal street, bare-chested teenage boys from surrounding villages are performing death-defying tips on their motorbikes.

At night, the Parque Central and the harbour road in Barahona become a viewpoint for people taking a stroll. Park benches and cafes are occupied with individuals chatting with their neighbours. Even in the particular cinemas and discos, foreigners would be the exception.

Those who require a taxi at night just might have a problem. But instead, round the clock, there are the sputtering motoconchos or motorbikes on which the driver and his guests of mum, dad and child all squeeze together atop the two seats.

Dominicanos don’t get fazed at such overloading.

Some 20-years-ago the region had 200 hotel rooms. Today the particular figure is 2, 500, spread along a stretch of 100km.

But this is still far too few to make Barahona airport terminal of any interest to international travel operators and airlines. Tourists who want to experience a lot of nature, sunlight, and peace and quiet, think this is quite all right.


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Deserted beaches of sand and fine gravel, steep cliffs plus a savannah: Barahona is a side from the Dominican Republic that few foreign people ever see.

Crocodiles sleep in the salty waters of Enriquillo Lake, while turtles, iguanas and flamingos feel at home in Jaragua National Park.

The people living in this remote region are especially friendly and open, and the hotels and restaurants are very affordable. What it doesn’t have are charter flights or all-inclusive travel packages complete with egg-throwing events and merengue dancing classes.

Charter flights? “I can’t recall any, ” states the woman wearing a smart blue dress uniform at the entry and traditions booth of Barahona international airport. “Maybe tomorrow there will be a private plane coming from Miami, ” she provides.

The building and runways, designed for long-range passenger jets from Europe, are empty.

Cows are grazing just away from airport entrance. The airport was opened in 1996 amid excellent pomp, but quickly turned into the flop.

By contrast, elements are lively along the Playa San Rafael beach, at least from Fri through to Sunday, when residents from the capital Santo Domingo come down within their cars, a drive of about four hours.

The drive from Barahona to the picturesque coastline road is about half-an-hour, the road resulting in Pedernales, on the border with Haiti. The stretch is one of bays with coral reefs alternating along with long beaches, coconut groves and villages of stone and wood houses.

In every hamlet there’s a small shop offering the visitor everything from an ice-cold beverage to a ham sandwich to girl’s brassieres.

Merengue and bajata music is blaring out of loudspeakers. Farmers and fishermen are playing dominoes, emphatically slapping the particular pieces down on the board. Everyone greets everyone else. This is pure Dominicana, as the Caribbean country is called in Spanish.

“Hi there. Take a picture, ” one father on Playa Rafael says to a foreign guest, while holding out a bottle of rum. The family poses for a group picture before a gurgling creek flowing to the sea.

There’s a lot of crowding at the bars, where guests are served water, beer and more powerful beverages. Chicken drumsticks, freshly-caught seafood and cornmeal cakes are frying in pans in many booths along the way.

On the coastal street, bare-chested teenage boys from surrounding villages are performing death-defying tips on their motorbikes.

At night, the Parque Central and the harbour road in Barahona become a viewpoint for people taking a stroll. Park benches and cafes are occupied with individuals chatting with their neighbours. Even in the particular cinemas and discos, foreigners would be the exception.

Those who require a taxi at night just might have a problem. But instead, round the clock, there are the sputtering motoconchos or motorbikes on which the driver and his guests of mum, dad and child all squeeze together atop the two seats.

Dominicanos don’t get fazed at such overloading.

Some 20-years-ago the region had 200 hotel rooms. Today the particular figure is 2, 500, spread along a stretch of 100km.

But this is still far too few to make Barahona airport terminal of any interest to international travel operators and airlines. Tourists who want to experience a lot of nature, sunlight, and peace and quiet, think this is quite all right.

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