- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Driving through the Dominican Republic’s Southwest, your eyes are met with a spectacular panoply of change: cactus-dotted deserts, lush plantations, towering mountains and cliffs, thriving crops, white-pebbled beaches, and serene lakes. Not many tourists choose to come to this region because it doesn’t offer the conventional beach vacation idyll or must-see sights.
The majority of the Southwest’s beaches are carpeted with smooth white rocks along a rough-water, deep shoreline instead of white sand and calm waters. And the closer you get to Haiti, the hotter the climate gets and the more impoverished the towns are.
But what is attractive about the Southwest is its uniqueness. It is a perfect destination for visitors seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience where you’ll encounter gorgeous coastline vistas, a surreal desert terrain, remote and private beaches, flamingo colonies and crocodiles lazing on a river bank, and an extra-strong welcome from people who are glad to have tourism come knocking at their door.
The Southwest’s history, while venerated and celebrated, is not memorialized with museums and grandeur here, but rather, through silent remembrance of its people. It was once the home of the great Taíno cacique Guarokuiá (or Enriquillo, as he was renamed by the Spaniards and is historically referred to), who fought off the Spanish conquistadors through a series of battles for 14 years.
Freedom fighter Máximo Gómez, who went on to liberate the republic’s sister nation, Cuba, also hailed from here. The black shadow of self-indulgent opulence and egoism of brutal dictator General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, who killed thousands of people throughout his regime, has stained the otherwise lovely town where he was born, San Cristóbal.
There is a feeling of remoteness from the rest of the Dominican Republic here. It is unlike the rest of the country in geography and most definitely in number of tourism dollars. The southwestern region is a destination for the adventurous visitor, the ecoconscious tourist, and those who want to immerse themselves in the Dominican culture without being separated by the guarded walls of resort complexes.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition