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 Caribbean. It is near the southern end of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, a few kilometers southeast from the town of Pedernales, or 320 km from Santo Domingo.
Unlike most beaches in the Dominican Republic that have experienced an explosion of tourism, Bahia De Las Aguilas is completely isolated and has no construction near it. 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 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 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: there are no luxury hotels, and you'll have to get to the beach either by boat, or with an all-wheel-drive vehicle through the National Park (either way it's a 15-20 minute ride). There are signs stating that you can't camp, but nevertheless, you can rent the tents or bring your own.
Bahia de las Aguilas 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
On the way to the beach, if you're going through the park, iguanas and several species of cactuses are common sightings. There are many caves and water holes 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.
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.
Fees and permits
The fee to enter the park is around RD$100. If you're getting to the beach via a boat, it will cost around RD$500-2000 per boat, depending on the number of passengers in the boat, usually including the park's entrance fee.
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 services.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.
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) for less than US$10 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 US$3.
There are no facilities in the park 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 US$40 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 no longer allowed.
Watch out for cactuses in the park. Drinking water and sun protection is essential.