Accommodations and Food
- 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
Most people simply pass through Baní. But if you find yourself needing a place to rest for the night, there are a couple of choices. If you are simply looking to replenish your car trip munchie-snacks while driving through Baní or are on a day trip, you have stumbled into the town with the Dominican reputation for the best colmados. What does that mean? That means a lot for Dominicans. Colmados are not just corner stores, but they are places where Dominicans hang out and socialize. So for these to have a national reputation as being the most well-stocked and tidiest, well that just adds to Baní town pride!
Hotel Caribani (Calle Sánchez 12, tel. 809/522-3871, US$33 d fan only), one block from Parque Duarte, offers clean rooms with hot-water bathrooms, cable TV, and comfortable beds. It is a good location because there are many services close by. This is the best option in town. Also on-site is the restaurant El Gran Artesa, which serves Dominican and international food. It is probably the nicest dining option in town with buffet and à la carte service.
Restaurant y Pizzería Yari (Calle Sánchez, tel. 809/522-3717, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$4–10), right next to Hotel Caribani, is a favorite and always reliable pizzeria of Baní. There is great service in the open-air casual dining room. It has more than pizza; many meat and seafood dishes tend to fare better than the pizza.
Parador Cruz de Ocoa (no phone, 6 a.m.–10 p.m.) is outside of Baní on the way to Ázua. It is a good place to stop to use a semi-clean public bathroom (take your own toilet paper if you have some), one of the last you’ll find for a while if you’re traveling west—they’re better than some of the ones out there. There is a very large assortment of food in a cafeteria setup, ranging from comida criolla to pastry, beer to coffee. There is a clothing boutique adjacent to it. Buses often stop here to let their passengers get provisions and use the bathrooms.
Cafeteria Comedor Abuela is across the street from Parador Cruz de Ocoa and is well known with Dominicans that pass through here for its top-notch dulce de leche, a very sweet candy made of condensed milk with a fudge-like consistency. Comedor Abuela is another choice for a “just passing through” snack stop and has recently gotten a facelift, so now you can sit outside on some nice tables after you get your food from the front counter on the side of the highway where they serve up the yummy food and sweets.
But the best and most famous “sweet spot” in Baní is Las Marías (Paya, Carretera 2, no phone), just five km before Baní. Even if you’re not hungry, don’t pass up the opportunity to stop in and get some traditional desserts to save for later. Flan de leche, dulce de leche, and pastes made from many different fruits such as guava, pineapple, figs, or oranges are also popular. Cookies, cakes, and other delectable candies are on the menu. Cashews are plentiful in this region and the sweets made from them are particularly good. Don’t be shy; there is no such thing as an orderly queue in Las Marías. Just belly up to the counter and start ordering (or pointing to) what you want. They will tally it up and ring you up at another counter.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition