When you picture a natural paradisiacal scene, what comes to mind? To many, it’s a white sand beach with crystal clear water like the ones used as desktop photos. Often, we travel far and wide looking for that transparent blue beach only to realize that it’s crowded with tourists, polluted, and/or nothing like the pictures. But here’s where your beach dreams come to life– Bahia de las Aguilas in the Dominican Republic is a pristine and relatively untouched beach that stretches for miles with fine white sand. Sometimes referred to as “Eagle’s Bay” in English, this utopian beach paradise is considered not just the best beach in the Dominican Republic but one of the best in the world.
Here is a travel guide of the top 7 things to know before visiting Bahia de las Aguilas.
1. It’s Located in Jaragua National Park
Bahia de las Aguilas beach is located in Jaragua National Park in the province of Pedernales. The largest protected natural area in the Caribbean. This park is named after one of the 5 principal indigenous Taino chiefdoms on the island. It spans across salty lakes, caves, virginal beaches, mangroves, wildlife/marine habitats, and subtropical dry forests.
“Jaragua National Park has an extraordinary value as a world heritage because it contains terrestrial, coastal, marine and wetland ecosystems unique to the island of Santo Domingo and of great relevance in the Caribbean, due to its physical and biological characteristics, its high level of endemism and its excellent state of preservation”– UNESCO World Heritage Convention
Jaragua National Park is the prize gem at the end of a beautiful ride through the Southwestern peninsula of the Dominican Republic. Travelers should consider allowing extra time to make stops along the way. See #4 below to know about the best day trips/other things to do in the region.
2. How to Visit Bahia de Las Aguilas Beach
You can reach the Bahia de las Aguilas a number of ways:
- Tour operator – You can join a big group for about $50 but beware that some of the “cheaper” group tour operators are notorious for the quality of their service. From experience, mishaps range from being stranded on a speed boat that won’t turn on, to the agency changing the itinerary halfway because they didn’t want to foot the costs.
- Private tour – Ranges from $300 and up depending on the length of time and number of travelers.
- Public Transportation – See here an entire dedicated post to reaching Bahia de las Aguilas via Public transportation.
- Car Rental – Drive towards Cabo Rojo until reaching La Cueva. The road gets sandy after reaching Cabo Rojo, but nothing too difficult. A huge cave that sits at the beach shore (“La Cueva”). You will have to pay a $3 USD entrance to then hire a boat starting at around $50 to take you to the beach. Read all about our family road trip through this Dominican region.
The beach is mainly reachable by boat from La Cueva, though there is a very rough back road that could take you if you have the right vehicle/driver/skill. Our advice? Take the boat, it’s easier and much more scenic.
3. There Are No Resorts in Bahia de las Aguilas!
There aren’t that many accommodation options in this region since it’s not as “developed,” as say, Punta Cana. But this is part of the reason why this area still retains a deeply profound magic. Here are the best accommodation sites to sleep at divided by the best towns in the area nearest to Bahia de las Aguilas beach.
Where to Stay Near Bahia de las Aguilas
Pedernales is the sleepy border town that most travelers station themselves at before going to Bahia de las Aguilas. The town offers small grocery stores (colmados), access to different hotels, and restaurants. It is safe, friendly, and walkable. Thus, making it the perfect launching pad for all the things to do in the area in addition to visiting Bahia de las Aguilas Beach.
Hostal Dona Chava ($) – Offers a beautiful hotel courtyard to relax in, which is surrounded by the hotel’s very simple and humble rooms. This is Dominican owned-and-run bed and breakfast, thus making your stay here a lovely way to support local small businesses in DR. Their room prices start at $20/night.
Hotel Pedernales Italia ($) – This bed and breakfast is owned by Italians ex-pats and situated closer to the town park where during certain night locals go out to dance and hang out. Rooms start at around $30.
Airbnb ($) – Consider staying with a local for a great price. This way you connect with a fellow Dominican, get a great (non-hotel) price, and personalized assistance.
La Cueva Beach
La Cueva is just a 15-minute boat ride to Bahia de las Aguilas Beach. Thus making this a new spot where travelers like to “glamp” (glamorous+ camping). Camping here makes for an epic night of bonfires, stargazing, and waking up to beautiful beach views. If the idea of sleeping in a tent scares you, don’t fret for some of these tents are nicer than the hotels in town! Also please note that it can feel hot camping here at night and that the mosquitoes can be relentless!
Eco del Mar by Mint ($$$$) – Italian-owned fancy camping on the beach which ranges from simple tents with beds to suites that look straight out of a magazine.
PLEASE NOTE: It’s come to our attention that Eco del Mar has been doing unethical work in the region. According to the Jaragua Group – the Italian owner of Eco del Mar, Augusto Aldo Meroni, closed down a public off-road (for over 60 years) that leads to the beach, to privatize it and enact a toll. It is speculated that the owner is trying to build commercial resorts on this virginal beach. Read more about the controversy here.
Glamping Ecolodge Cueva de las Aguilas ($$) – Camp inside a tent with a bed right on the beach at this Dominican-owned accommodation. Prices start at $50 per night.
If you’re looking to do just a day trip to the beach, you can also station yourself in the gorgeous town of Barahona– home to one of the world’s rarest precious gemstones: larimar. Coincidentally, Barahona’s bright blue coastlines, almost supernaturally match the color of these gemstones. If you decide to stay in Barahona, you also have several things to do in this beautiful province which is just a 3 hour trip to and from Bahia de las Aguilas.
Casa del Mar Lodge ($$$) – This super cute eco-retreat style lodge offers stunning ocean views and spacious rooms.
Casa Bonita ($$$$$) – This Dominican local’s summer-house-turned-hotel is the closest you’ll get to commercial luxury in this province. This gorgeous complex of cabins overlooking the magnificent hills and coastlines of Barahona is well worth at least a night’s stay.
4. Plan Your Day Trips From or Towards Bahia de las Aguilas Wisely
There are so many hidden treasures to explore in this region. I strongly suggested allocating at least three days to this part of the Dominican Republic if you can, since it’s simply magical. Don’t believe me? Here are just 8 of the many things you can do in the area!
Pozos de Romeo – On the very road that leads to Bahia de las Aguilas beach, consider this refreshing detour. Los Pozos de Romeo is a crystal clear natural pool enclosed within rocks and cacti fauna.
Laguna de Oviedo – A hypersaline lake home to several birds (including flamingos and blue heron), iguanas, unique fauna (including cactus fruits) and tiny islands made of a unique coral rock floor. I’ve traveled to 45+ countries around the world, and this is one of the most unique places I’ve visited. Oh, and the bonus to visiting Laguna de Oviedo – is that you can enjoy an all-natural mud bath!
Arroyo Salado – A beautiful freshwater emerald-green natural pool surrounded by mangroves. Just 5 minutes from Laguna de Oveido.
Hoyo de Pelempito – Considered the Dominican Grand Canyon.
La Plaza / La Cueva – A full day, two-part hike in the beautiful province of Barahona. This stunning hike takes you through several crystal-clear blue pools surrounded by limestone rocks within a jungle. Both parts of the hike (La Plaza and La Cueva) are well worth it with several gems along the way.
Los Patos – Stop by the gorgeous Los Patos Beach and River for a fresh seafood lunch. My favorite place to eat is Kathy’s restaurant right on the beach and in a more secluded corner. Her restaurant, a women-owned small business for many years, serves delicious plates from a pristinely kept kitchen. Give her a call (829)988-1038 so she can have everything ready for you upon arrival. And let her know Isabelle sent you!
5. Travel Sustainably to this Virginal Beach & Province
There are many ways to try to travel sustainably and ethically to this virginal region of the Dominican Republic. Here are just a few tips:
- Support local small businesses
- Don’t touch the starfish or disrupt wildlife
- Never litter anywhere. Take what you brought back with you. In fact, travelers are encouraged to pick up any litter or plastic they may see. Help us preserve our natural wonders!
- Avoid using sunscreen that hurts the environment.
- Curtail the use of plastics. Even if it’s baby steps such as asking declining straws or styrofoam cups.
6. Don’t Forget to Add These Essentials to Your Packing List
Since Bahia de las Aguilas is a remote beach that’s not near supermarkets or stores with essential amenities, it’s important to prepare adequately for a comfortable experience. Here are some essentials to buy and pack before you arrive at Bahia de las Aguilas.
- Snacks to munch on
- Cooler to store ice for your drinks
- A Beach Towel or a sarung like this one to lay/sit on. Otherwise, there are miles and miles of beautiful fine white sand to sit on!
- Swimsuit (of course!)
- ECO-FRIENDLY Sun Screen – Please do not pollute this beautiful beach! Here is my favorite eco-friendly sunscreen that’s also safe for the coral reef.
- Goggles/snorkeling mask – with these crystal clear shallow waters you’ll have a lot of swimming to do and explore. There are several beautiful fish in the area.
- Water to stay hydrated!
- Portable battery charger to keep your phone charged for taking pictures of this paradise. I LOVE this one and travel with it everywhere because it’s compact and lasts for many charges.
- Beach cover-up like this one to avoid burning on the boat ride over. And especially because there is little shade on the beach.
- Sun hat
- A good book like this one on Dominican culture and history.
- Frisbees or beach balls for fun! Consider leaving these behind for local parents to give to their kids.
- Waterproof camera for epic underwater photography – this is one of the BEST compact ones on the market.
7. Places to Eat Nearby
Jalicar – While the interior doesn’t look 5 stars, the food is a delectable explosion of flavors. The cook puts together the dishes as if she were cooking for her own family’s dinner table. We happily ate here every night enjoying all different seasonings and flavors. Because Pedernales is on the border of Haiti, you’ll enjoy some of the most epic fusion of tastes!
La Cueva Beach
Rancho Tipico – Cute restaurant on the beach with fresh seafood. A perfect place to grab lunch or dinner. Don’t miss out on the mofongo! It is ranked as the top restaurant in the province of Pedernales by Trip Advisor reviews.
Bahia de las Aguilas Beach
Satima – Although there are NO restaurants on this virginal and remote beach, there is a local lady who will send you some beach tables, chairs, and your freshly cooked lunch. This way you can enjoy your lunch right on the Bahia de las Aguilas beach! Satima is our go-to local chef for the meals on our tour. Plates start at around $7 each. Give her a call +1(809)693-4419 — but please note she only speaks Spanish.
Tours to Bahia de Las Aguilas
Interested in a private tour of Bahia de las Aguilas or Southwest DR? Email us: [email protected] to set up a private custom tour in collaboration with local small businesses. And check out some of our Dominican Republic tour packages here.