Bahia de las Aguilas on the southwestern coast of the Dominican Republic.
Bahia De Las Aguilas (Bay of the Eagles)) Is one of the most beautiful and most isolated beaches in the entire Caribbean near the southern end of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, a few kilometers southeast from the town of Pedernales, or some 320 kilometers from Santo Domingo.
Unlike most beaches in the Dominican Republic that have experienced an explosion of tourism in the last 10-20 years, Bahia De Las Aguilas is completely isolated and has absolutely no construction near it whatsoever. The bay is also considered part of the Jaragua National Park and its waters contain an abundance of wildlife, from a wide variety of fish to star fish and Caribbean lobsters. Fishing is technically illegal within the national park but is done on a small scale by the locals. (hence the abundance of sea life). The nearest town is Perdenales, and there are a couple of small little "motels" that are generally used by truckers. It is recommended that visitors making the 6-8 hour trip from the capital Santo Domingo, stay in the town of Barahona. From Barahona visiting Bahia De Las Aguilas can be done in a day.
It is not "tourism-oriented" as are other Dominican Republic sites, so keep in mind that there are no luxury hotels, and that you'll have to get to the beach either by boat, or with an all-wheel-drive vehicle through the National Park itself (either way it's a 15-20 minute ride).
Bahia de las Aguilas (Spanish for "Eagles Bay") is part of the Jaragua National Park (Parque Nacional Jaragua) in the Pedernales Province in the extreme southwest of the Dominican Republic. Established as a National Park in 1983, it is now a UNESCO-recognized natural reserve. The beach is recognized by many Dominicans as "The most majestic beach in the world".
It is a great representation of the Hispaniolan Dry Forest Ecoregion's coast. The entire area is an extremely arid landscape, much like many parts of Arizona or Baja California. There are no palm trees as in much of the rest of the country, hence there is no shade and extreme caution should be taken against exposure to the sun.
Flora and fauna[edit source]
On the way to the beach, if you're going through the park itself, iguanas and several species of cactuses are common sightings, as well as many caves and water holes that exist in the heavy coral rock formations.
Climate is semi-arid, as this part of the Dominican Republic is the driest. Skin protection is strongly recommended.
Get in[edit source]
You can either get to the beach through the National Park itself with an all-wheel-drive vehicle (a 4-door sedan won't make it, since you won't be going through a paved road; it is almost like going through the Australian Outback (this information is outdated)) (Note: Park rangers indicated (when?) that a 4WD SUV is now insufficient for driving up to the beach and they said the road is impassable.) Last update from 2015: the road from la Cueva to the beach has been improved and while still being unpaved and steep in parts, it is now easy to go to the beach by any vehicle with high ground clearance or by walking a couple of miles (think carefully before attempting that).
You can also get to the beach with a boat at Cabo Rojo (Spanish for Red Cape or Point ), which is near the entrance to the park. Once you get to Cabo Rojo, there's a restaurant called "La Cueva" (Spanish for "The Cave") that also has a few boats that will take you to the beach for a reasonable price. The ride takes about 10-15 minutes.
The fee to enter the park is around 100 Dominican Pesos (less than $3.00 US). If you're getting to the beach via a boat, it will cost around 500-2000 Dominican Pesos per boat, depending on the number of passengers in the boat, (from USD $20-70) usually including the park's entrance fee.
Get around[edit source]
Once on the beach, you'll enjoy some of the whitest and softest sands on any beach in the world. Snorkeling is also highly recommended in Bahia de las Aguilas, although if you don't bring your own gear you will not find any there, as there are no stores or any type of services whatsoever.There is nothing but the beach,the bay and the surrounding extremely arid landscape,so caution is advised and drinking water should be brought along for the time spent. If arriving by boat, an agreed upon pickup time will be made and if one walks in or attempts to drive in, then one is completely on their own.
The millions of sea shells on the shore of the beach as well as the abundant sea life just feet into the water.
Swim, snorkel, walk, explore. It is like going back in time and very likely that you will not encounter a single soul.
You can eat at a small restaurant near the entrance of the park (Cabo Rojo). Less than $10 USD per person for a meal. The locals will go out, catch a fresh red snapper and cook it on the grill for you. There are also a couple of restaurants in Perdenales. A delicious local specialty is langosta a la criolla (lobster local style) with plantains and rice.
A soda drink, a bottle of water, or a Dominican beer usually costs less than $3 USD.
There are no facilities in the park itself to spend the night.
The nearest hotels are in the town of Pedernales. They're not luxury hotels, but have enough to be comfortable. Most hotels in Pedernales have A/C, hot water, cable TV, pool, 3 meals, etc., for less than $40 USD per night per room. There are also a couple of small hotels in Barahona, and it is recommended that visitors from the capital Santo Domingo stay in Barahona, before venturing on to Bahia De Las Aguilas.
Camping on the beach is not allowed. (It used to be, until 2010.)
Stay safe[edit source]
Watch out for cactuses in the park. Drinking water and sun protection is essential.