Following the Mango Route (a full-circle driving route) you will travel through the Peravia province in the southwestern region of the Dominican Republic . Even though it is the third smallest province in the country it offers a great deal of biodiversity to the landscape, including the largest set of dunes in the Caribbean.
The name of the route refers to the fruit that identifies Baní , as it is the largest producer of mangoes in the country. Don’t leave this province without trying some mango.
Peravia was an active hot spot in both the Restoration and Independence wars, and many presidents, historical figures, and authors have hailed from this area.
Your first stop (and potentially your last on the way back) is Las Marías  (Paya, Carretera 2, no phone), just five kilometers before Baní. This eatery is famous for regional sweets like flan de leche, candies, and dulce de leche. Paya is the center for the production of candy and sweets made from coconut and figs. Each July, there is a traditional horse race dedicated to St. James that dates back to colonial times.
After Paya, continue on the same road to Baní, where you will stop at the Casa de Máximo Gómez  (8 a.m.–5 p.m., free) and the Museo Municipal  (Calle Sánchez 1, 8 a.m.–noon Mon.–Fri., free), in honor of the son of Baní, General Máximo Gómez, who became a freedom fighter for Cuban independence. Here you will see some photos, copies of documents, a chronology of his life, and the last remains of his childhood home.
Not far away is La Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Regla (Calle Sánchez and Calle Mella), which was renovated in 2008; its 50-year-old facade was given a facelift. Inside, the painter Jaime Colson began work on several frescoes. His project was taken over as part of the refurbishment, and behind there is now a plaza with murals dedicated to the founders of Baní.
Still in Baní , make your way to the Villa Sombrero, filled with endangered 150-year-old guayacán trees. Villa Sombrero is also home to the Museo Histórico de la Familia Ortiz. General Fausto Ortiz was a hero during the wars of Restoration and Independence. The museum has odd hours and was closed when we passed through, but Villa Sombrero is lovely enough for a shady respite from your travels. The museum is on a small irrigation canal that runs through town across from the Immaculate Conception School on Calle Hnos. Peña.
Taking the main road again, head toward the famous national shrine to see the stone temple in honor of St. Martin de Porres in the community of Las Tablas. To access it you will need to take the road that begins next to the Zona Franca Banileja. This is a place of religious pilgrimage on the third of November. There is also a subtropical dry forest here.
Return to the main road and follow the Ruta del Mango signs. Pass through Matanzas on the southern coast. Matanzas is known for the furniture they make — their mecedoras (rocking chairs) are famous. Salome Ureña lived here for a while and wrote some of her most celebrated works. You will reach the Plaza de Maiz (Corn Plaza), a great opportunity for a snack made from the plant.
You will reach a fork in the road. The Cruce de Arroyo Hondo delineates two paths: one way to Las Salinas and the other toward Palmar de Ocoa. Go toward Las Salinas .
Las Dunas de Las Calderas  (16 km south of Baní on Carretera Las Calderas) awaits; you can explore the dunes, salt mines, and beaches. Make sure to take your camera as you explore. To reach the beaches of Las Salinas, take the trail next to the salt mines. This is one of the best locations in the nation for windsurfing.
If you are looking for a restaurant or a beach club, look no further than the Salinas Hotel & Restaurant  (Las Salinas, Puerto Hermoso 7, tel. 809/866-8141). After a long day, this hotel may tempt you into staying the night before you make the return to Las Marías  and end your trip with dessert.