Touted to be the most beautiful beach in the entire Dominican Republic, Bahia de las Águilas has nearly eight meters (five miles) of ultra-fine, powder-soft white sand and heavenly Caribbean turquoise waters so clear you can see your toes. Sitting inside the protected Jaragua National Park, you can’t imagine anyone else has been here, where a magnificent rocky karst landscape hugs the beach and sea.

A strip of pristing white sand with calm turquoise water stretching into the distance.

The beautiful stretch of beach at Bahía de las Águilas. Photo © Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.

The road to get to the jumping-off point of La Cueva, where the boats depart, is long—at least two hours from Barahona province—and reveals a surprising landscape of cactus against bright skies with the sea in the distance. The road veers to Cabo Rojo, down a path that’s a dark rust color due to the controversial bauxite mine in the area.

After the port of Cabo Rojo and the small airstrip for private planes, another left turn takes you to La Cueva, where the departure beach—another pristine stunner—and a couple of restaurants await. The boat ride across the Bay of Eagles is one of the most beautiful you’ll experience in the DR. The towering cliffs, dozens of birds, and the sheer magnitude of this body of water lined with white sands are dreamy.

You can also reach Bahia de las Águilas beach by car. There’s a road that lets you drive up to La Cueva and continue down to the beach past Rancho La Cueva Restaurant. You’ll just have to pay the park entrance fees, and drive about 40 minutes down a dirt path. The only downside to this alternative is that you’ll only get as far as the main beach strip, which is where most people hang out (you’ll notice a sort of lookout tower by it).

By boat, leaving from either of the two restaurants on the beach, you can go farther into the bay and take in its real splendor, not to mention find more private swimming spots away from the crowd. Note that there is no shade here, but there are often constant breezes. Still, bring an umbrella and plenty of sunscreen.

Map of The Southwest, Dominican Republic

The Southwest

Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Dominican Republic.