San rafael, beautiful view, tropical, tropics, dominican republic, hilltop, roadtrip, turquoise

The South West of the Dominican Republic, Virgin and Remote

The Dominican Republic is known mostly for its all inclusive resorts in the easternmost point of the island in the Punta Cana/Bavaro area.

The South West of the Dominican Republic

We’re not all inclusive types. We prefer the wild wild south west of the Dominican Republic, where locals still welcome you with open arms and genuine smiles, and where the beaches go for miles and miles of turquoise beauty with very few tourists in sight.

Bahia de las aguilas, pristine, white sand, teal, tropics, tropical beach, perfection


Our first stop in the South West was the small town of Bahoruco, historically supporting itself from fishing and Larimar mining, the town’s amazing surf break has been attracting a trickle of surf trips and the occasional competition.

It remains very tranquil, and camping right on the beach near the surf break is totally cool.

bahoruco, south west, dominican republic, hills, tropics, coco, fishing village

This town for some reason has a large incidence of deafness and a small but significant portion of the folks here communicate by sign. So you’ll find yourself awkwardly trying to sign out a few conversations here, but if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll be used to doing that already anyway ;)

We spent a week in Bahoruco and loved every minute of it.

We made sure to get our surf in:

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We swear Gabriel’s wearing swimming trunks in this photo!!!

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Bahoruco is full of fauna, with birds flying overhead and fishes, turtles and other sea critters swimming around you.

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What’s more the pebble beach is littered with the blue stone called Larimar which is only found in this one spot on the island. The only place in the ENTIRE WORLD.

It’s truly a special and magical place.

San Rafael and Los Patos

Watering holes, known in spanish as ‘balnearios’ are everywhere in the south west.

The river flooding into the beach of San Rafael has been held back by ‘natural’ pools which are super crisp and chilly and perfect for cooling off on all the hot days.

This is the beach seen from a nearby hill:

San rafael, beautiful view, tropical, tropics, dominican republic, hilltop, roadtrip, turquoise

A little further down is another watering hole in Los Patos:

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This is the shortest river in the Dominican Republic, it’s spring just meters up from the pool picture above.

The “river” empties out on a long pebble beach so white you’ll have trouble adjusting the exposure on your camera.


The roads to Pedernales follows the coast closely, where the water is so white/blue it’s blinding.

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Unfortunately, we still haven’t figured out how to catch that on film.

After that the landscape changes a bit and suddenly looks like parts of Scotland or New Zealand.

Continuing along you’ll pass a brand new wind farm.

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(We’re happy the government is looking into alternative energy as most of the electricity in the country is currently created by burning gas)

Lago Oviedo and Hoyo de Pelempito.

Continuing along you’ll pass Lago Oviedo which is HEAVEN if you’re a bird watcher. Expect to pay for a boat ride, the more people go the cheaper, so bring a group. :)

A road to the north will take you up an extremely deceptively steep hill to the top of the neighboring peaks, and an hour drive through a forrest trail just large enough for a car will take you to a breathtaking overlook of a ginormous valley; a beautiful, untouched, vast valley.

We’ll post a timelapse of it soon, don’t you worry.  The Hoyo De Pelempito Time Lapse is live for your viewing pleasure.

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The earth in the area is full of iron and red, which is stunning, and the road leading up to Hoyo de Pelempito is full of white butterflies. Magic.

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Bahia de las Aguilas

But the pot of gold at the end of it all is Bahia de las Aguilas beach.

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We talked about it last week, so we won’t bore you again. It’s a feast for all eyes.

All in all, a trip to the South West is in order if you’re a nature lover, love the beach, love rivers, and like to try your hand at blending in with locals.

Camp, stay with local families, stay at small cheap motels, or stay in an eco lodge like Casa Bonita,  any which way you do it, go down to the deep south of the DR.

Add to your DR trip on RoadTrippers:

Bahia de las Aguilas, Translates to “Eagles Bay”


    1. The southwest isn’t the best set up ‘professionally’ for learning yet Ted. The community of La Cienega, just a town over from Bahoruco, however, is working on putting together a school. If you ask any local to give you a lesson though, they will. Also there are no real rentals available as of yet, but we surfed a week on borrowed boards. It’s all about how nice you are to the folks down there, it’s much more personal than just walking up to a school and getting your package deal for the week.

      For complete beginners serious about learning to surf fast I’d say spend time in Encuentro, on the North Coast, where the beach is lined with schools and experienced teachers. But if you’re looking more for a genuine experience while maybe getting better at surf, the South is your spot.

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