A trip to Dajabón is not on the itinerary of many tourists. This Dominican–Haitian border town is a trading post, just as it has been for centuries. Back in the 17th century, most of the northwest, including Dajabón, was evacuated when the Spanish crown regarded its colonists’ trading practices with foreigners to be treasonous behavior.
After over 100 years, those foreigners began settling the evacuated land, so the Spanish, in fear of losing the areas they had found so hard to conquer, resettled their land. To this day, Dajabón remains a center for trade between Haiti and the Dominican Republic .
Dajabón is best saved for a day visit since there are no services and the only activity there is to go to the Haitian Market. But since the highways around Dajabón are too dangerous to drive at night, should you get caught losing track of time, there is one hotel worth mentioning.
Hotel Juan Calvo (Calle Presidente Henríquez 48, tel. 809/579-8285, US$10 d with fan only), next to the Parque Central, offers comfortable clean rooms.
Every day Dajabón is a bustling center of trade as Haitians come over to the Dominican side of the border to sell an unbelievable variety of objects like pots and pans, shoes, perfumes, clothing, and tools. They spread their wares on blankets on the ground, on tables under the shade of a tarp. Dominicans come to the town to purchase these items at rock-bottom prices. The scene is one of a great amount of haggling, lively conversation, and frenzied negotiations.
You won’t find typical souvenirs, but the experience of rich cultural traditions between the two nations and the photos you’ll gather might be all the memento you’ll need.
Crossing over into Haiti can be a bit confusing. It’s hard to say just how much you will pay since it seems to be up to the discretion of whomever you ask at the time. For the most part, though, you’ll pay US$20 to the Dominican immigration office (8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) and US$10 to the Haitian immigration office on the other side. You shouldn’t have to pay a return fee, but sometimes that proves otherwise for tourists.
Caribe Tours (Calle Marcelo Carrasco, tel. 809/579-8554) is at Marcelo Carrasco and Presidente Henríquez. A trip to Santo Domingo  (US$7.50) stops in Monte Cristi  and Santiago  and leaves at 6:45 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:25 p.m., and 3:15 p.m. Buses leave Santo Domingo for Dajabón at 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3:45 p.m., stopping in Monte Cristi and Santiago.
Catch a guagua to Monte Cristi at the station by the entrance to town. Guaguas leave Monte Cristi for Dajabón every 20 minutes from the terminal on Calle Duarte.
Getting around within Dajabón is best on foot as it is so small. But taxis and motoconchos tend to hang out around the border crossing and on the main street in town.