At the junction where the Río Higuamo empties into the Caribbean Sea sits San Pedro de Macorís, a town that came to life as a major player in the production of sugar in the latter part of the 19th century. Many people from the Leeward and Windward Islands migrated or were “imported” to work here in the sugarcane fields. These people and their descendants are known today as cocolos. When they arrived they brought their distinctively African-influenced culture and traditions, with which they have added color and festivity to the town of San Pedro. This is most evident while enjoying the dances, music, and costumes of the Cocolos Festival .
By the time World War II came around, causing a worldwide sugar shortage and driving up the cost, San Pedro de Macorís began to bulge with rich plantation owners and the town seemed to be on the right track to permanent prosperity. It was the “star” of the Caribbean, rife with money and cultural standing. But as the sugar prices dropped and people lost their jobs, San Pedro’s economy slumped and the city began to deteriorate. People began leaving their homes in the desperate hope of finding jobs elsewhere. Since then it has never truly regained its former glory.
San Pedro de Macorís is also known for another resource that they seem determined to never stop producing—baseball players. Almost every Major League team has at least one Dominican on its roster. Some of the most famous players (Sammy Sosa, Pedro Guerrero, Pedro Gonzalez, and George Bell) have come from this town. It has become the main attraction here, especially since there is not much more to see or do within the city limits.
Fans of the game who visit the area during the baseball season (Oct.–Jan.) should be sure to catch a game at Tetelo Vargas Stadium . In the off-season of American baseball, you can often find some of today’s brightest big league baseball stars coming home to play for their former teams.
While at the stadium, you can purchase a bottle of rum to enjoy during the game. This land of sugarcane and baseball is also home to the distilleries of Brugal and Barceló, rum companies that produce millions of liters a year of what is arguably some of the best rum in the world.
Aside from sugar, rum, and baseball, in 1972 San Pedro gained a free trade zone, where native and foreign companies set up camp to manufacture their goods (such as textiles, shoes, electronic parts, etc.), offering jobs (albeit low-paying ones lacking many workers’ rights) to the residents of San Pedro. In exchange, these companies are offered certain tax and customs incentives.
From Santo Domingo  and Las Américas international airport, San Pedro de Macorís is a little over an hour’s drive east along Highway 3, 70 kilometers east of Santo Domingo.
If you’re staying in the Juan Dolio  resort area, catching a guagua or taxi will cost around US$1 or US$10 each way, respectively. Flag one down that is traveling in the right direction. Ask the driver to let you off as near to your destination as possible.