- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
Just like San Pedro de Macorís, La Romana was a sugar town. The town began to prosper in the 1960s when an American company, Gulf + Western Industries, became the owner of a sugar mill and began to invest heavily in other industries like cattle and cement. The company cleaned La Romana up and in the mid-1970s built the now world-famous Casa de Campo resort about 1.6 kilometers east of the town.
Many wealthy and famous people, such as Bill Clinton, Julio Iglesias, and Michael Jackson, have come to spend their money at this luxurious resort while golfing on the world-class courses, buying or renting the lavish villas, or getting married in a whirlwind Dominican “quickie” wedding. In turn, the town was eventually able to afford a new state-of-the-art airport and bring in even more tourists than before.
La Romana is, to this day, a charming town with surprisingly little to offer tourists, but since it is geographically close to Casa de Campo it reaps the benefits of the foreign currency the resort brings to the region. If it weren’t for the development of Casa de Campo and its adjacent tourist attraction, Altos de Chavón, this little town would still be a sleepy seaside village.
Take an hour or two to hang out or wander around near La Romana’s Parque Central. It is a central gathering point for townsfolk and bordered by the Iglesia de Santa Rosa de Lima. It is a good place to feel the vibe of this town that thrives on visitors, making it a phenomenal people-watching perch during the day and into early evening. The Parque Central is within walking distance to many restaurants and services as well as the town’s outdoor market, where deals abound on veggies, handicrafts, housewares, and cheap trinkets.
La Romana has three beautiful beaches: El Caletón, La Minita, and La Caleta. La Caleta is closest to the city and is the most visited during the summer. La Minita is walled into the Casa de Campo protective watch. It is a small but nice beach inaccessible to outsiders. To hang with the locals at the beach, visit El Caletón.
From Las Américas international airport you will have an 80-minute drive along Highway 3. As you enter La Romana from the east, Highway 3 turns into Avenida Padre Abreu in La Romana’s city limits. Take a right onto Santa Rosa. This street will take you near the Parque Central, where you will find the bus stations and the Iglesia de Santa Rosa de Lima directly across from the park. You will also be in the general area for many of the communication centers, banks, cafés, and restaurants.
To make your way to Bayahibe and beyond, as you come into La Romana follow the signs to Casa de Campo—they will take you along Avenida La Liberta. This way, you can take a left on Avenida Santa Rosa and find yourself within a couple of blocks of the Parque Central if you want to stop off in La Romana for a quick bite to eat or to stretch your legs in the charming square. There are many one-way streets here, so be careful where you turn.
To take a bus from Santo Domingo, catch one on the southeast corner of Parque Enriquillo that says it is going to Higüey. This bus stops at the station across from Parque Central in La Romana. It costs about US$5.
Aeropuerto La Romana (LRM, tel. 809/813-9000) is a three terminal airport (international, international private, and domestic) about eight kilometers east of La Romana. It receives flights from Puerto Rico and Miami. American Airlines (tel. 809/813-9080) and charter flights arranged by Canadian and European companies come through here. The airport has both short- and long-term parking available, and taxis and hotel shuttles wait in front of the building. A taxi into town will cost very little and take only 10 minutes.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition