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a body of water surrounded by trees

The Dominican Republic is famous for its pristine beaches and great resorts, which is why many people opt for a holiday on the east coast. Well today, we’re going to let you in on an open secret and shine a light on the beautiful province Barahona, in the southwest of the Dominican Republic. It’s called La Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South) for a reason: it’s a perfect spot to emerge yourself in ecotourism and culture, with its interesting historical artifacts, beautiful forests and flora and fauna. Check out these top 5 ecotourism attractions, and stay tuned for our Barahona pt 2: culture and city edition!

Las Caritas: History on another planet

Walking in this iconic cave is like going back in time. There are a large number of petroglyphs (rock carvings) created by Taino’s, the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean. The caves are located along the cliffs of Lago Enriquillo, which gives you a beautiful, panoramic view over the lagoon. There are also a number of interesting animals to spot: rhinoceros iguanas working on their on top of the rocks, crocodiles slowly making their way through the water and beautiful, local birds flapping their wings in freedom. Find more information here.

Lago Enriquillo: 350 square meters of water

Named after a Taino chief who heroically revolted against Spanish colonists, Lago Enriquillo is as grand as its name suggests. Along this large body of water there is plenty to see and do. Spot the pink flamingo’s at Boca de Cachon, or take a boat trip to Isla Cabritos and spot crocodiles and other interesting local fauna. Around the lake are various walking tours through both tropical and dry forests, water springs and farmland. You can pick and choose and spend the whole day in this area. If you want to join a tour, check out these excursions.

Los Patos: A refreshing splash into a natural pool

We’re taking you from the largest lake in the Caribbean to the shortest river in the Dominican Republic! Los Patos is a popular spot to take a refreshing dive after a long and hot day. Families splash around, eat local food they get at the stalls along the river, and generally enjoy a recreational day in this beautiful, clear natural pool. It’s not just humans who enjoy the cold water: there are a huge amount of ducks wading through the river as well. Hence the name: Los Patos means ‘the ducks’. Interested in having a relaxed day at this pretty spot? Check this out for more information.

Café Toral: wake up and smell the coffee

We all need that first cup of coffee in the morning to even function, but do you ever stop and think how this brown gold is made? At Café Toral you learn all about your favorite drink through a comprehensive tour on the ruta del café, the ‘coffee trail’. Going through the mountains of Polo, you will see the factory, outdoor plantation and learn all about the production of coffee from beginning through end. Find them on Facebook and send them a message to arrange your visit!

Cachote: a dreamwalk through a cloud forest

Located in Sierra de Bahoruco national park, the small community of Cachote lives in a stunning area 1097 meters above sea level. A cloud forest is a subtropical forest with a cover of clouds, usually situated on saddles of mountains. In Cachote, you can find several hiking trails that lead you through paths with beautiful and luscious plants and trees. Take your binoculars, because you can do some serious bird-watching with 31 species in the area. If you can’t get enough of Cachote, the Canto del Jilguero guesthouse offers cabins for overnight stays. Click here for more info

We realize you might be staying in Punta Cana. In that case it is a 5-hour drive to Barahona. But to make the trip more interesting spend a night in Juan dolio or in Santo Domingo.

This was only part 1, keep checking our website and social media for things to do in the city!

Are you planning on visiting Barahona on your Dominican trip? Show us some pics! @bestofpuntacanaoffical

Photo: Mountain top view from Barahona from the beautiful Tropical Lodge Casa Bonita