Bahia de las Aguilas is a remote beach in the Jaragua National Park. It can be found in the far South-West of the Dominican Republic, just a stone’s throw from the Haitian border.
While I can’t say it is an untouched beach, I can say that by being remote and difficult to access, it is much quieter and cleaner than any other beach I have seen in the Dominican Republic. It really is the quintessential Caribbean beach: crisp white sand, crystal clear vivid blue water and the golden sun bathing you in warmth.
It is a great place to spend a few hours alternating between lounging in the sun and cooling off in the water. You need to bring food and drink with you, as there are no facilities/services at the beach. Also make sure to pack your sunscreen as shady spots are very hard to find!
We enjoyed a few afternoon hours of lounging on the beach, playing with the locals and enjoying our home made rum punch.
The locals are generally friendly, but if they offer you anything, be aware that it comes at a price.
Where to stay
Eco del Mar is the only accommodation option that is very close to Bahia de las Aguilas. It appears to be tents and appears to cost anywhere between $30 and $1500 per night.
The standard accommodation option is to stay in the reasonably nearby town of Pedernales. We found accommodation on arrival, and shared a twin room with four people for 700 pesos.
I’m not sure what the standard prices are, but be ready to bargain!
Looking on the internet (in English), I have found it challenging to find properties to book online.
Getting There and Back
Santo Domingo – Pedernales
Departing at 6am we got a bus from the Caribe Bus Station to Baharona. It took 3 hours and cost 260 pesos per person.
From Baharona we jumped in a mini-van on the main street and travelled to Pedernales, the gateway town for Bahia de las Aguilas. The ride took approximately 2.5hours and cost 250 pesos per person. Be prepared for extreme discomfort! The minivan is unmarked and I honestly have no idea how we knew it would take us where we wanted to go, at times like these you are grateful to travel with a local!
Returning to Santo Domingo was just one bus departing from the main street in Pedernales. A 22 seater bus filled with around 40 people. The bus was stopped numerous times for military checks on the way, they check for Haitian refugees. Even if you are clearly not Haitian, be sure to have some form of ID with you.
The travel was approximately 7 hours and cost 500 pesos per person.
NB: The last bus departs at 1:30pm.
Pedernales – Bahia de las Aguilas
When taking the public transport option, here is where the true negotiations begin and where anyone with white skin is at a distinct disadvantage.
For a ride to and from Bahia de las Aguilas we were offered a ‘deal’ for 4000 pesos. We managed to find a better option, riding in the back of a pickup truck for 2500 pesos. Granted we also had to work for it as the truck required a push start on several occasions. The truck took us to a restaurant just past Cabo Rojo and refused to take us further, despite having agreed on a price and destination (we ended up refusing to pay the full amount, and only gave 2000 pesos).
From the restaurant we organised a boat for 2200 pesos to Bahia de las Aguilas. They dropped us off at the beach at 10:30, with a pickup time of 12:30. Despite the agreed time, we were picked up at 12, as you really have to go with the driver whenever they appear.
NB: All prices mentioned here are for four people.
Strong recommendations for visiting Bahia de las Aguilas
I would strongly advise you not to take public trasnport to visit Bahia de las Aguilas. It genuinely detracts from the experience. The travel times were ridiculous, the comfort level was agony and any negotiations for transport deals left us feeling ripped off to the extreme.
The two recommendations for travelling to Bahia de las Aguilas are:
a) Rent a car and take yourself, but be aware that there are very few road signs and cell service for using maps is reasonably limited.
b) Take a tour, where everything it is a fixed price, everything is included and organised for you. Ata Excursions provide a very reasonable deal, but no one in the company speaks English.