This post is part of a series on Emina’s adventure in the Dominican Republic. She visited the country independently with our sis Nerma and her best friend Ajla (girls trip, wohoo!). Start here for our general impressions, entire trip overview and costs. Then check out this post on our first stop in the DR: Bayahibe, read here about the small hidden paradise in Las Galeras, and our biggest adventure in Barahona. Stay tuned for the next episode!
I can’t wait to share with you:
- My pictures that will make you go look up flight tickets this second
- The most beautiful beach in the world (under UNESCO protection)
- The most awesome accommodation in tents at the beach
- Why it pays of get off the beaten path
- Why I’m using so many superlatives
The ultimate Caribbean road trip
After all the hustle of leaving La Cianega, we started our journey to Pedernales with our small economy rented car. Not the best idea!
It started off alright. After leaving La Cienaga the street was still OK and we had some beautiful views of the sea.
But soon after the palm trees were replaced by huuuuge cactus. This is the hottest part of the country and they even have a desert (we didn’t get to see it).
The street first turned into huge pot holes…
and then – into a dirt road!
We did read that a 4×4 vehicle is recommended for this part of the country but renting one was just too expensive for us. If you have a bigger budget, go for the 4×4!
What about the military zone?
At one point we were driving 20 km/h on a dirt road with an outside temperature of almost 50 C/122 F (or that is how it felt). No one behind us and no one in front of us. Every turn was painful and we didn’t know if we could trust our GPS because we found ourselves in a desert without any road signs.
Well, there were some signs that we found suspicious. Like this one:
Or this one (“Dangerous Explosives”:))
This is where you want to stay!
After over an hour on the dirt road, we found paradise (I know, I’m overusing the word but as soon as you make your way to this part of the world, you’ll also reduce your vocabulary to superlatives and clichés:)).
We came here because we read that the most beautiful beach in the world, Bahia de las Aguilas, under UNESCO protection, is hiding here in a national park. I also found out online about Eco Del Mar, a very unique accommodation option just next to this beach: tents with beds. They call it glamping (glamorous camping). Oh, yeah!
We arrived late and after all the drama with leaving La Cienaga, all we needed was beach time. We spent the evening at the open air bar with our feet in the sand, dancing merenge and bachata. Since it was a working day, there was only one more French couple here. They told us that the weekend gets busy with Dominicans.
The night spent in the tent was magical. We fell asleep to the sound of waives. The sky was full of stars (no light pollution). The beds were super comfy.
We paid for a VIP tent 4100 pesos (around EUR / USD 73) in total. This includes breakfast in the open air restaurant. The tent fits 4 people and the “VIP” factor is the fact that it is right in front of the beach. You can get cheaper tents behind the VIP tents.
We booked a cheaper tent on booking.com but when we arrived they showed us this tent and we immediately agreed to take this one instead.
Yes, it is technically a camping place. But, just look at this cute open air shower, the beautifully decorated toilet, the open air bar and restaurant area. They thought of every little detail. We LOVED it (Yes, I’m shouting, there is no other way to express my excitement!:))
The best beach in the world: Bahia de Las Aguilas
The next morning we first had coffee and breakfast (included in the price).
Then we took a 20 minute boat ride to Bahia de las Aguilas. The boat ride is organized by Eco Del Mar and costs 2500 pesos per boat (around 50 USD / EUR) for up to max 6 people. There were no other people in our boat. They dropped us off at the beach and later picked us up at a time we told them.
This beach is another world! 8 km of white sand and the most special turquoise water you will ever see. There are no palm trees but rather cactus.
Now get this, we were the ONLY people here! This is the benefit of traveling off season.
Oh man, whenever I feel stressed, I just mentally transport myself to this heaven on earth.
Road tripping the DR: Part 2
After the entire day in Bahia de Las Aguilas, we got into our (at this point- very dirty) car and made our way up to Barahona city, where we spent the night. On the way to Barahona, which is an around a 3h drive, we stopped wherever we felt like.
One of the places we liked was a local restaurant at the beach in Paraiso. We had lunch here, together with Dominican families. Here you see the point where the river connects with the ocean. So beautiful!
We paid around 330 pesos (5 USD / EUR) per person for a full plate of fresh fish and fried banana. Yum!
A huge help for finding Bahia de las Aguilas and Eco del Mar was the travel guide from Nathalia, the girl behind the lifestyle blog The Key Item. I stumbled on it by chance and used it while we were on the road. You can download it here.
My final vote on Pedernales
This was by far one of the top highlights of our trip. The hustle of getting there makes it even more special (and makes for a fun story!). If you only have a week in the DR, just skip the rest and make your way to the Barahona province and Pedernales!
HAVE WE CONVINCED YOU TO PUT THIS MAGICAL PLACE ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?